Too Busy To Teach Tree-Climbing?

6 July 2016
Too Busy To Teach Tree-Climbing?

Look, I am going to try to share this nugget of news with you WITHOUT sending you all on a guilt trip, but it's not going to be easy.

According to new research, outdoor skills are a dying art because we're all too busy to teach them to our kids.

Conducted to mark the release of classic children's adventure tale Swallows And Amazons ,the research found that:

  • 44% of parents are too stretched with work schedules and household chores to teach their kids essential life skills.
  • 78% feel guilty that they don't have the time to teach their children skills like how to put up a tent, boil an egg, or climb a tree.
  • 77% admit that their children are keen to take part in more outdoor activities.
  • 76% of parents feel that spending more time together as a family would improve familial relationships, with top wish-list activities including going for a walk, eating a meal together or cosying up to watch a film.

Aside from parents being strapped for time, it was also found that children's interests and safety were considered barriers to outdoor fun.

  • 1 in 10 parents said their children would prefer to play computer games than learn life skills.
  • 86% described their children as 'tech-savvy' and 41% attributed their kids lack of interest in traditional pastimes to this.
  • Two thirds of parents have never, or seldom allowed their children to play outside without supervision, despite 93% of parents surveyed having been allowed this freedom as children themselves.
  • Younger parents are the most unlikely to allow their children out alone, with almost half of 16-29 year old parents NEVER allowing it.

Visit England have teamed up with the film's distributor STUDIOCANAL to offer a solution, with a free online guide for parents offering help, advice and inspiration for parents on teaching their children outdoor skills and tips on where to do the activities seen in the film, including the best places to sail, camp and climb a tree.

You can visit at:

We'd love to hear what you make of this story. Do any of the above ring true for you, or do you find it strange to think that some families say they don't have enough time to eat a meal, take a walk or watch a film together?

Join the debate by leaving us a comment below or over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents


  • Jacqueline H.

    I am a Forest School teacher and a Guider. When I did my training I was confused as all the things taught my mother did with us and I did with my children and now my grandchildren. I thought it was common sense. Going outside was what you did. We have family forest sessions at school. Many live right next to a great open park and yet children have never been to visit it. Being busy does reduce time but a good walk and play is vital to good health and growth. It is fun too - just ask the children. The extended vocabulary and problem solving, creativity and exercise cannot be replicated in the classroom.

    • Gail B.

      And we are very proud of what you and your forest school buddy Sue Padington, do in our school. Our children are very lucky!!! Thank you x

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