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The Indoor Generation

-A quarter of British kids spend less than six hours p/week playing outside at home-
-A third thought carrots grew on trees-

KIDS in Britain are spending so much time playing indoors that they are lacking basic knowledge about the outdoors – including common garden vegetables and flowers.

New research has found that a quarter of primary school-aged children* spend less than six hours per week playing outside while at home.

The study, conducted by UK-based garden furniture etailer Alfresia has found that many children are so unexposed to outdoor play that they are unable to identify common plants and flowers.

Just under a third of 5 to 8 year olds thought carrots grew on trees, almost half could not identify a parsnip and a fifth thought daffodils were edible.

What’s more, many had never taken part in simple garden activities – over a quarter had never planted a flower, a fifth had never made mud pies, and 10% had never made a daisy chain.

Playing in the garden was children’s seventh favourite past-time in and around the home, with playing computer games, watching television and playing with parent/carer’s mobile phones taking the top spots.

When asked about their attitudes to outdoor play, a quarter said they felt there were more fun things to do inside, while almost a fifth did not want to play in the garden in case they get dirty.

A third did not recognise that dandelions in flower and those with seed heads are the same plant, a fifth could not identify daffodils and, astonishingly, 1 in 10 could not identify daises.

Craig Corbett, Product Director at Alfresia, said: “Unpredictable weather, paranoia about allergies and the lure of technology and computer games is clearly impacting on the amount of time kids spend outside. Children today seem to becoming something of an indoor generation, which is really sad. The level of knowledge about everyday plants and wildlife among the younger ones is really surprising.

“With the summer holidays having just kicked off, we’d like to encourage families to spend more time outside, teaching kids to enjoy nature in their own back gardens. You don’t have to be knowledgeable to enjoy nature – but it can make it more interesting for kids.”

Alfresia sells a wide range of garden and conservatory furniture to enable families to enjoy their gardens via its website.

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