A new Kelton Research survey reveals some utterly depressing (but not terribly surprising) news – kids today are stuck indoors most of the time and often it’s by choice.
The new The Clif Kid Outdoor Play Survey highlights how we REALLY need to act now in order to prevent a generation of screen-bound, inactive, unhealthy kids. about 1000 six to twelve year old kids were included in the survey and some key facts about this age group emerged, including…
- Of the 1000 kids just 307 spent any free time playing outside AND those 307 kids spent just 30% of their time doing so.
- In contrast to the above, the vast majority of parents noted that their kids spend 72% of their time watching television or playing on the computer.
- Parents said their kids spend 14 hours a week on average in front of screens.
- 80% of parents say they would have spent more unscheduled time outside than their kids when they were the same age (I’m in this boat).
- Many parents (72%) said that they place time restrictions on using a computer or watching TV, but the screen-time vs. outside play averages of their kids paint a different story.
- Most parents say 13 hours per week is the ideal amount of outdoor play, but most kids are averaging just 9 hours of outdoor play per week.
- 96% of parents report their kids have experience playing video games – in comparison, 74% of parents say their children have visited a national or state park and only 61% have gone hiking.
When you add it all up, kids today spend 56% more time in front of screens than they do playing outside, plus, on average, kids experience 8 hours less per week of outdoor playtime than their parents did. Keep in mind too, that the above survey provides much more positive stats than past research.
For example, past research shows that by the time most U.S. children enter kindergarten, they’ve spent more than 5,000 hours in front of a television – which is more than enough time to earn a college degree. Past research also shows that just 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own and that 8-18 year-old kids spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in ONE day. That’s 58 hours a week.
Depressing upon depressing
No matter how you stack the old vs. new research, it’s clear we’re headed in a Wall-E direction – remember the non-moving, overweight humans on the space ship who rode around in little chairs? Yeah, we’re moving towards that Wall-E – only our ending may not be as jolly.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to make sure we don’t turn out a generation of homebound, inactive, unhealthy kids, and CLIF Kid can help.
Backyard Game of the Year Contest
CLIF Kid, maker of certified organic snacks for active kids, in collaboration with Richard Louv, best selling author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, want to change some of these sobering statistics above with the launch of CLIF Kid’s 2nd Annual Backyard Game of the Year Contest.
Outdoor Play DOES Matter
The CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year contest is specifically designed to get kids outside and active while rewarding them with cool prizes for doing so. For the 2012 event, Richard Louv will serve as Chief Outdoor Officer for both the contest and playoffs. Louv has good reasons for being involved and notes, “Kids are healthier, happier and more creative when they spend more time outdoors. I’m excited to be a partner with CLIF Kid in its terrific effort to encourage kids and their families to reconnect with nature and invent their own games — beginning in their own backyards.”
As you saw in the research above, kids are lacking outdoor playtime almost to the point of no return, which is detrimental to the physical health and emotional well-being of children. The benefits of free outdoor play are incredibly far reaching and include lower obesity rates, less stress, reduced ADHD symptoms and many other perks. Also, consider how our generation was allowed to experience outdoor play (and fun). Shouldn’t our kids be allowed the same awesome experiences?
Details About the Backyard Game of the Year Contest
This great CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year contest is the perfect way to encourage kids ages 6-12 to use their imaginations and reconnect with outdoor playtime by inventing their very own backyard game idea. Kids must invent their very own creative outdoor game so long as the the game allows at least two kids to play together. Games can utilize common household items such as balls, hula hoops or beanbags.
The amazing prizes!
This year six finalists will be chosen and all of them will score an awesome Marin bicycle and Bell helmet plus a trip to San Francisco to compete in the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs in July 2012. Once the games end, the five runners-up will each win a $1,000 scholarship and the grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 educational scholarship. Plus, the winning game rules and equipment will be donated to Children & Nature Network, a non-profit organization, co-founded by Richard Louv to reconnect kids with nature. All entries must be received by June 17, 2012. See the official rules.
Last Year’s Winning Game – Sponge Ball Fill-Up
Last year’s winning game was invented by nine-year-old Sara of Plaistow, New Hampshire. Two or more kids may play.
- 2 sponge balls per child - cut two sponges, width wise, to create five strips per sponge for a total of ten strips. Then simply hold all eight strips in a bundle and tie them tightly with a two-inch piece of elastic twine. Then fan out the strips to create a ball shape.
- 1 large water bucket (about 5 gallons).
- 2 smaller buckets (about 1 gallon each).
How to play sponge ball fill-up:
- Create two Sponge Balls per kid.
- Fill your biggest household bucket with water and place it on the lawn.
- Set two smaller buckets on the opposite side of the lawn.
- Split kids into two teams and when you say “GO!”, have all the kids run to the water bucket and grab two soaked Sponge Balls.
- After grabbing two sponge balls, the kids have to use the water in the Sponge Balls to fill up their team’s bucket on the opposite side of the lawn, running back and forth from their team’s bucket to the water bucket as many times as needed.
Bonus play: Kids can capture Sponge Balls from the other team by throwing their Sponge Balls at them. If a kid hits a member of the opposite team with their Sponge Ball, the kid from the opposite team must hand over one of their Sponge Balls. The kid, who now has three Sponge Balls, can squeeze the water from all three into his team’s bucket. The kid left with one Sponge Ball can still run to their team bucket to empty the water in. Upon return to the water bucket, each kid can only leave with two Sponge Balls, leaving extras behind or grabbing replacement Sponge Balls as necessary.
How to win: The first team to fill their bucket wins!
Thanks to CLIF Kid for the awesome game instructions. If you want to encourage your child to get more active while spending time outside why not share the details of this contest with him or her?
Lead image by Flickr User whiteafrican