When was the last time you did any wildlife spotting? What about birdwatching or going on a walk to see seasonal trees, plants and flowers? While wildlife spotting is great fun and a superb family activity, a survey has revealed that few kids and adults are taking the time to get closer to nature.
Indeed, this latest survey, looking at the outdoors habits of 21st
century children, is unlikely to come as a shock. After all the recent research showing kids just don’t spend very much time in the great outdoors, a new study has found that wildlife activities aren’t high on the agendas of today’s children.
The Co-operative poll reports that most youngsters have not tired even the simplest of wildlife activities. Two-thirds of kids have never been pond dipping, more than four-fifths have not been birdwatching and more than half of children have never visited a farm.
Bewilderingly, the survey found that adults and children believe that it’s important for youngsters to learn about wildlife – but when it comes down to it, the kids just aren’t spending much time checking out natural habitats. Interestingly, three-quarters of kids believe they should be learning more about wildlife and their habitats at school,.
Spotting wildlife at home doesn’t appear to be a major past-time for children and families. Many of the children asked have not even spent time spotting even the most common garden wildlife. Only a third have seen a hedgehog in their garden, just 61 per cent have spotted garden birds and less than a quarter had spotted.
In a bid to make wildlife a bigger part of children’s lives, The Co-operative Group have launched a Green Schools revolution. This offers lots of ideas and tips for encouraging more children to find out about the UK’s natural habitats and wildlife.
A Co-operative spokesperson says: "We are lucky that our youngsters have an appetite to learn more about wildlife. And through our Green Schools Revolution programme, we're supporting the thousands of switched on teachers who want to ensure the next generation are better equipped for the challenge of building a more sustainable world."
Great ways to explore wildlife
Tick list of wildlife gems:
Prepare for a walk with the family by compiling a list of wildlife to spot. The child that spots or finds all the gems can be given a prize.
Wildlife treasure hunt:
Give kids a clue to finding something wild, such as a particular type of tree or a bird. Then set off for a family walk to solve these clues.
Visit a wildlife attraction:
Whether it’s a bird sanctuary, nature reserve or farm that you choose to visit, the kids will enjoy finding out more about animals and their habitats.
Spend time looking out of the window every day. See how many different wildlife species you can spot in your garden over just one week.
Head off to woodlands and enjoy making bark rubbings of different trees. Collect fallen leaves, too, for making collages when you return home. Immersing yourself in nature helps kids to learn more about the wonders of trees and leaves.
Many local parks and woodlands offer regular walks with nature. One of the best for kids is an evening bat walk.
Local nature reserves will offer pond dipping activities, especially in the school holidays. Keep an eye out for half-term pond dipping session.
Get outdoors more:
You don’t have to be a wildlife expert. Simply go outside more often with your family and take binoculars and wildlife books with you. You’ll soon find that the kids become hooked on finding all sorts of creatures, plants, trees and flowers.