Why connecting with nature is child’s play

Playday, the national day to celebrate play in the UK, is held on the first Wednesday in August – that’s the 5th this year – and the National Botanic Garden of Wales is playing its part.

Playday was started as a celebration of children’s right to play as well highlighting the importance of outdoor play in children’s lives. This is in line with the National Botanic Garden of Wales’ learning strategy that focuses on sustainability and connecting people with the natural environment.

A recent study by the group Eco Attractions, of which the Gardens is a member, found that there is a huge list of typical childhood pastimes that children today have never experienced, such as climbing trees, getting muddy, making a daisy chain and growing veg from seed.

Increased traffic, overscheduled lifestyles and health & safety concerns often mean youngsters don’t get to play outdoors as much as previous generations. The Eco Attractions Group-inspired survey revealed that today’s kids spend under five hours a week playing outside, which is not even half the 11 hours their parents did.

This year’s Playday campaign – entiled MORE PLAY! – is calling on everyone to help make sure that children and young people across the UK have the time, space and opportunity to play outdoors, not just on Playday but all year round.

The Botanic Garden’s Education Development Officer, Nancy Hardy said: “Getting outside and connecting with nature is so important for so many reasons; it increases physical and mental well-being, develops inter and intrapersonal skills, encourages active citizens and stewards of the environment, raises academic attainment and nurtures creativity.

“So, next Wednesday (August 5), we will be celebrating UK Playday at the Garden with our usual, fun-packed family activities plus a special back-to-nature activity trail exploring parts of the Garden that you might not have visited before. You will meet residents of the Garden, do some building, do some climbing, do some digging and get your hands nice and dirty!”

The Garden is open from 10am to 6pm with last entry at 5pm. Family activities run from 12noon until 4pm every day

Admission to the Garden is £9.75 (including Gift Aid) for adults and £4.95 for children over five. Entry is FREE for Garden members and parking is free for all.

For more information about this or other events, call 01558 667149 or email info@gardenofwales.org.uk

* The National Botanic Garden of Wales was recently awarded the nationally-recognised indicator of good quality education provision, the Learning Outside the Classroom badge

* For more information about Playday 2015, visit http://www.playday.org.uk/