Ditch the gadgets and get outside: Minister urges children to fly a kite, build a den, skim stones and sing a French song rather than play computer games
- Education Secretary is urging schools to embrace old-fashioned pursuits
- Damian Hinds also wants youngsters to look at stars, hike and explore caves
- While Mr Hinds believes technology can be useful learning tool, he says it should not replace real-world exploring
Primary school children will be challenged to ditch gadgets and go on nature trails under a drive launched by the Education Secretary.
Damian Hinds is urging schools to embrace old-fashioned pursuits in the great outdoors to help pupils develop ‘character and resilience’.
Recommended activities include looking at the stars, building dens, having teddy bears’ picnics, hiking, flying a kite, searching for butterflies, exploring caves and picking blackberries.
Children will also be encouraged to partake in traditional indoor pastimes such as board games, cooking, playing cards and writing poems and letters.
The move follows concerns that children’s development is being hampered by too much time playing games on tablet computers.
Primary school children will be challenged to ditch gadgets and go on nature trails under a drive launched by the Education Secretary. (File photo)
Damian Hinds is urging schools to embrace old-fashioned pursuits in the great outdoors to help pupils develop ‘character and resilience’
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Many parents use electronic devices as ‘babysitters’ but experts say they are preventing children from learning about the world and limiting vocabulary. While Mr Hinds believes technology can be a useful learning tool, he says it should not replace real-world exploring.
Mr Hinds said: ‘I regularly hear from teachers that it’s important children have the chance to try things out, to get a taste of the world, to see and do things they wouldn’t normally do, or go to places they wouldn’t normally go.
‘Experience is a great teacher and can equip children with skills that prepare for any challenges. What’s on the inside – someone’s character, drive, resilience, and the ability to stick to a goal – is just as important as their academic achievements.’
Mr Hinds is today sending a list of suggested activities to primary schools to encourage them to broaden children’s horizons.
The move to get children outside follows concerns that their development is being hampered by too much time playing games on tablet computers. (File photo)
He also hopes it will inspire families to spend more time together.
Other items on the list include making a pinhole camera, birdwatching, making a cake, learning to knit, singing a French song and climbing a tree.
The activities are geared towards building confidence and curiosity, and are endorsed by the Scouts, Girlguiding and National Trust.
The list was inspired by Mr Hinds’ visit to St Werburgh’s Primary School, in Bristol, where every child is encouraged to take part in a list of tasks and experiences, with key achievements for each school year to tick off.
He added: ‘Within this list, children may find something they want to come back to again, but I hope that, whatever they do, they will enjoy and learn from them.’
Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scouts, said: ‘We know how much young people get out of enrichment activities – broadening their experiences, having fun and developing skills for life. Not everything can be taught in a classroom.’
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