More than half of American parents surveyed are worried their kids aren’t spending enough time playing outside (55%), according to new research.
A new survey of 5,000 American parents of children ages 5-13, split evenly by state, found 57% worry their kids aren’t as excited about playing outside as they were when they were young. In fact, parents have to tell their kids to play outside an average of four times a week – that’s more days than not.
Alaska, Arizona and Missouri parents are telling their kids to play outside most – at an average of six times a week.
The top reasons parents tell their children to go play outside included getting some fresh air (51%), taking a break from devices (47%) and exercising (42%).
Thirty-five percent of parents also said they encourage their children to play outside in order to positively impact their mental health – as well as have some quiet time for themselves.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Claritin®, the survey found parents reported their child typically spends just five hours a week playing outside – less than an hour a day.
The states where their kids get outside the most (playing outside an average of six hours a week) included Alaska, Arizona, Missouri, North Dakota and Wyoming.
More than three-quarters (76%) of parents polled agreed most of their time spent as a child was playing outside while 74% feel that kids these days don’t appreciate the outdoors as much as they did.
Nearly four in five (78%) went on to agree their favorite childhood memories were of playing outside, so it’s not surprising that 85% said it’s important to them that their child spends time outside.
Parents in South Carolina were the most likely to agree it’s important to them that their child plays outside at 98%, followed by Montana parents (97%), and 96% of parents in Kansas, Kentucky, Maine and Maryland.
Kids are excited to get outside and here are the top places they’re playing the most: their backyard (61%), front yard (54%) and local park (50%). However, parents admitted their family would spend even more time outside if their personal space (72%) or local park (64%) was more exciting.
Seventy-five percent of parents said creating memories of playing outdoors with their child is a top priority and believe that their physical health (72%), creativity and imagination (63%) and their mental health (60%) would be positively impacted with more outside play.
“Our survey showed us that 66% of parents believe it’s important for them to recreate their outdoor childhood memories with their kids,” said Catherine Vennat, a spokesperson for Claritin®. “Last year, we introduced families to The Outsideologist Project, a multi-year initiative that provides families with tools, resources and inspiration to spend more time outside. This year, we’re excited to continue that momentum and inspire parents to recreate their favorite memories outside with their kids.”
Hide and seek is the top activity parents fondly remember from their childhoods (60%) and is also their child’s current favorite playtime activity (43%).
Kids these days also enjoy water balloon fights (42%), playing tag (42%) and going to the playground (41%). Two in five parents reported their children also enjoy outdoor sports, riding around on their bike or scooter and swimming.
Thirty-seven percent of parents said their children also just enjoy running around the neighborhood with their friends as well as playing catch (36%) and jumping rope (28%).
“The survey revealed that 65% of parents surveyed are often trying to come up with creative new activities to keep their child excited about getting outside,” continued Vennat. “We’re excited to provide families with those fun and creative ways to get outside, whether in their own backyard, local park, or anywhere in between, so they can enjoy the many mental and physical health benefits that come with it.”
TOP POSITIVE IMPACTS OF PLAYING OUTSIDE
Physical health – 72%
Creativity/imagination – 63%
Mental health – 60%
Social skills – 59%
Self-reliance – 55%
Appreciation for the environment – 45%
AMERICAN CHILDRENS’ FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Hide and Seek – 43%
Water balloon fights – 42%
Tag – 42%
Going to the playground (slide, swings, etc.) – 41%
Sports (baseball, basketball, football, etc.) – 40%
Riding a bike/scooter – 40%
Swimming – 40%
Snowball fights – 38%
Running around the neighborhood with friends – 37%
Catch – 36%
Jump rope – 28%
Pretend play – 26%
Scavenger hunt – 25%
Simon Says – 24%
Duck, Duck, Goose – 23%
Hopscotch – 17%
Rollerblading – 15%