In homes throughout the country, children are relying on electronic gadgets to get them through the potential boredom of the long summer holidays.
Across the Irish Sea in the UK, the National Trust is urging kids to put down their gadgets and pick up a much more versatile tool – a stick.
Research commissioned for the conservation charity found that children today spend half the time playing outdoors that their parents did – just over four hours a week, compared to 8.2 hours a week for parents when they were younger. Yet 90% of parents want their children to develop a better relationship with nature and believe this to be a priority over using technology.
And 84% of mums and dads believe the stick is the perfect catalyst for inspiring their children’s creative urges.
Indeed, the humble stick is one of the key implements involved in the charity’s new 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 and three quarters initiative, which aims to encourage families to get outdoors enjoying nature over the summer and beyond.
“This summer, we want to inspire kids and families to get outdoors, grab their perfect stick and kick-start their story with nature,” says National Trust ranger Ed Anderson.
“With so many adventures to be had right on your doorstep, there’s no better way to start a meaningful relationship with the natural world.
“With the natural environment under pressure, we hope that instilling a love for nature in our children now will help us encourage them to continue to protect the beauty of the great outdoors for years and generations to come.”
Ideas in the list for making the most of sticks include building dams and dens with them, playing pooh sticks, laying a trail for others to follow, or even using them to help make mud pies.