It’s nearly the end of the week and you’re feeling pretty scrambled. Happily, though, it’s Easter weekend and there’s plenty of eggs-ellent fun to be had near you!
Across the country over 240 National Trust places are hosting exciting Cadbury Easter Egg Trails and other activities like egg and spoon races that promise to be great fun for all the family. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you could join another kind of treasure hunt and try your hand at geocaching!
All these activities are great fun to do as a family; finding treasure, whether that’s a Cadbury Egghead or a prized ‘geocache’, is just as enjoyable for adults as it is for children. Easter is a time for family and – importantly – a time for families to get outdoors together. Playing outdoors together is healthy, fun and cheap. Some research suggests it’s also what makes children happiest. In 2011 a UNICEF report looking at child wellbeing in the UK, Spain and Sweden found that what made children happy wasn’t having the latest toy or wearing the coolest branded trainers, but spending time with their families – and, in particular, spending time with their families outdoors.
Getting into the outdoors and engaging with nature, whether that’s through an Easter egg hunt at a local park or a geocaching adventure at a national park, doesn’t just make kids happy – it has plenty of other benefits too. It has been shown to reduce recovery times for post-operative hospital patients, improve self-confidence and reduce depression, bring communities together, and improve physical health.
But too few children have free and easy access to this simple resource: the outdoors. Increasingly, we’re seeing children – and adults – becoming disconnected from nature and the outdoors. Last year’s Reconnecting Children with Nature report, which summarised the findings of the National Trust’s Natural Childhood inquiry, set out some of the barriers to children getting outdoors. They include a lack of quality, local green space, the rise of indoor entertainment, socio-economic and cultural factors and a risk averse society that places too little value on the health and educational benefits of nature.
Those benefits are considerable. Recent posts on our Outdoor Nation blog have described how playing outdoors can give children the experience and knowledge to face the world as adults. David Bond, whose documentary film Project Wild Thing will use marketing techniques to ‘sell’ the outdoors to children, has written about how his family are happier and fight less when they spend time together outside.
Having fun together in the outdoors makes for happy, healthy children. So this weekend take part in a Cadbury Easter Egg trail at one of our beautiful outdoor places or create your own at home. And if you’re looking for even more fun to have outdoors as a family take a quick look at the 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ website for some great activities that you can do anywhere!
So have yourselves an ‘eggstra special’ Easter! (Oh dear, with all this yolking around I’ve really cracked myself up…)