Step away from the screen and get outside! Why getting outside is good for you and your pupils

Step away from the screen and get outside! Why getting outside is good for you and your pupils

step away from the screen and get outsideRecent reports have stated that the average child born in the UK will spend a quarter of their life watching screens by the time they reach 80. And by the age of 7, the average child will have spent one full year watching screens. Of course the use of screens has many benefits – a wealth of information can be found using computers and the use of screens is common in classrooms across the UK assisting and enhancing learning whether through laptop use, interactive white boards, projectors or TVs.

However the increasing prevalence of screens in school and home life has seen children become more inactive, leading to health issues, and a loss of interest in nature and the outdoors, leading to a detachment with the environment in which they live. Too much screen time has even been linked with low self-esteem, high stress, short attention spans and even poor sleep, showing that a balance really is needed to ensure that screens enhance our lives rather than cause problems.

step away from the screen and get outsideGetting the balance right
Schools can play a vital part in helping children achieve this balance by helping to encourage children to have a break from screens, creating lessons which limit use and promoting outdoor learning activities, outdoor play and sports.

For many, particularly inner-city students, there is a lack of safe outdoor areas to play at home, and fear of “stranger danger” and other risks can cause parents to limit when and where their children play, even if there are local outdoor spaces to play in. These factors can mean school is one of the only places where there is a pleasant and fun outdoor area to run around, enjoy the fresh air and explore a natural environment.

How to get outside more
Incorporating the outdoors into lessons is a great way to engage children in nature and their surroundings, and you may find some children who struggle to concentrate in the classroom thrive in the outdoor environment, learning through practical tasks and enjoying the more informal environment.

step away from the screen and get outsideEncouraging pupils to get outdoors at break-time and lunchtime can also help redress the balance and by providing equipment and fun activities for them to do you can help prevent children sitting in groups, staring at their mobile phones.

To ensure outdoor play and learning isn’t limited to fair weather, why not think about creating a shaded and sheltered area which will allow everyone to get outside all year round. A canopy can be the perfect solution, creating a light and airy space to shelter from downpours and cool off in hot weather. Find out more about our canopies here.

Enjoy the benefits
These are the benefits you should see from increasing outdoor behaviour and decreasing screen time… once you have implemented you “Get outside more” activities come back and see if you can recognise these benefits in your students- and you!

The Benefits of Outdoor Play and Learning:

  • Increases physical activity and improves health
  • Reduces anxiety and improves mood
  • Improves concentration and focus
  • Improves creative thought and imagination
  • Promotes problem solving and leadership skills
  • Improves communication and listening skills
  • Develops a stronger immune system

Download our FREE "How to... Get the Most out of Your Canopy" Guide Now

Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures
at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round
Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
For more information please contact us

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