Reconnecting children with nature is something I feel very passionate about. It will be a very sad day when the only thing our children are connected to in their spare time, is technology. Sadly, for a lot of kids, that’s already the case and it’s going to make for a very discontented society.
I live most of the year in Cape Town, S.Africa. We’re fortunate to have good weather most of the year which means kids have much more of an outdoors lifestyle and it’s become very apparent to me just how that affects children, especially teenagers. I have three older step kids, twin boys of 22 and a stepdaughter of 24. When they were in their teens I noticed a marked difference between them and their friends, and the average teenager in the UK. Most of the teenagers I knew in Cape Town were fit, confident, out going, chatty and never went through that non-communicative sullen stage.
I am being stereotypical here, I’m certainly not suggesting all kids in the UK are like that. Anyway, I am convinced that it’s all to do with getting outdoors. Although teenagers in SA do of course spend time on their computers, they also get out, the boys in particular go surfing or play rugby with mates. They go hiking or running. They go swimming or tubing. Teenagers, especially boys, need that release of energy. Of course it’s easier when the sun’s shining and in the UK it’s so much more of an effort to get kids enthused if the skies are grey, but if we want our kids to be happy adults, getting your kids outdoors, really should be part of a parents curriculum.
Michaela Strachan is a well known TV presenter. She has been presenting since 1986 on a variety of programmes from The Wide Awake Club to The Hitman And Her, The Really Wild Show to Michaela’s Wild Challenge, Elephant Diaires to Countryfile and many many more. She started off presenting children’s programmes but these days is known as a wildlife presenter and has travelled all over the world filming animals and conservation projects.