‘School’s out and it’s time to go camping’ say outdoor enthusiasts

As half-term approaches, protagonists of ‘getting outdoors’ are encouraging youngsters to embrace camping and caravanning holidays, highlighting the educational, psychological and social benefits they bring.

A recent study reports four out of five parents believe camping has a positive effect on their children’s education, with 59% agreeing it should be added to the national curriculum*. Geography, History and Science were flagged as the subject areas most likely to be positively affected by nights under canvas, a result of children experiencing time closer to nature. The Woodland Trust is an avid campaigner on the benefits of children spending time and learning outdoors, commenting that time in nature helps students develop social skills as well as boosts their self-esteem and confidence.

Encouraging youngsters to experience camping first-hand, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE)  gives 14 to 24 year olds the chance to explore the great outdoors, learn valuable skills and enjoy life-enhancing experiences. 

The DofE, which was founded more than 60 years ago, confirms an increase in the number of people taking part, with over 271,000 young people beginning their DofE journey in 2016/17, a figure up 7% from the same period in 2015/16^. An increase was also noted in the number of young people starting from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a significant 19% rise last year.

Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award commented: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provides a way for youngsters to explore the great outdoors, be it through walking expeditions or other physical activities such as cycling and canoeing. Either way, they get fit, have fun and acquire key life skills including self-confidence and independence. With more and more people taking part, it’s wonderful to see so many young people embracing the outdoors, and we hope that the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show’s latest campaign can encourage even more to do so.”

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) revealed a resurgence in the number of both young people and adults using its 160 locations across the UK in 2017. 100,000 families are reported to have visited the centres last year and 148,720 visitors joined from school trips and youth programmes. Ordnance Survey Maps is promoting its Wild Night Out in June 2018, an initiative which encourages families, first timers and seasoned explorers to enjoy a day and night of adventure. The Caravan and Motorhome Club again runs its Big Tent Little Tent Festival, in full support of exposing kids to camping.

With one in three adult campers believing children are happier when camping, and 64% agreeing camping holidays can improve a child’s social skills and mental health, the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 launches its new initiative this half-term, encouraging everyone to spend ‘24 hours outdoors’ this year. Supporting the campaign is the world’s greatest living explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and female adventurer Anna McNuff, both of whom actively speak about the physical and mental health benefits of time spent outside.