No outdoor play for kids these days?

I recently read a very interesting article in The Guardian about how children these days rarely spend time playing outdoors, in comparison to previous generations. Whilst this is undoubtably true for many children, I am happy to say that L spends more or less the same amount of time outside that I did as a child.

We live in London and I’d just like to dispel a few myths and share some facts:

  • We live in London yet we have a garden.
  • We live in London yet we have a tree in our garden, that L takes great pleasure in climbing.
  • We live in London yet in less than one minute’s walk from our front door we have 152 acres of green outdoor space (with playgrounds, massive grassy areas, woods, tennis courts and more). Additionally we have another common of 89 hectares just a 20 minutes’ walk away.
  • We live in London so we don’t need a car which means many journeys are outdoors and require walking, cycling or scooting.

With the recent good weather we have been able to spend most weekends on our local common, having picnics, playing games with other families we know or have just met there. We take the dog, L runs around playing football, badminton or other games and climbing trees, C discovers the grass beneath her while Hubs and I soak up the vitamin D and fresh air (it’s far fresher than the air we used to breathe on the beach in Nice).

I consider myself to be very lucky as L’s school allows and encourages parents/carers to stay with children at the end of the school day so the children can play in the playground, something we often take advantage of.

Along with other parents/carers from the school we often go to the local common/playground to picnic or play after school as long as it’s not raining.

L’s school frequently organises outdoor picnics and activities on our local common on a Friday after school, which is a great opportunity for kids to play together in a green, open space, and for the parents/carers to get to know each other and their children’s friends.

A recent after school picnic and play on the local common

A recent after school picnic and play on the local common

I consider us very lucky to have all of the above. We may live in London but L plays outside more here than when we lived on the French Riviera, both in a country village and in the centre of Nice. Long may it last.

I am linking this post up with The Gallery on The Sticky Fingers Blog, click on the linky below for more posts about “Play”.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery


20 Responses

  1. Great post. I love that London has so much green space for kids to explore as well as everything else such an amazing city has to offer. If it had the weather of the French Riviera as well…can you imagine?!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Hubs and I still can’t get over how many parks, gardens and commons there are here, and we’ve been here for nearly 3 years! Just as well London doesn’t have the French Riviera’s weather as otherwise the whole world would want to live here πŸ˜‰

  2. Interesting reading that you spend more time outdoors now. Parks have ‘stuff’ the open countryside can get samey sometimes. I can see where you are coming from I think.

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Sorry, I didn’t mean it to sound down on the countryside, it’s just I so often hear how London doesn’t have open spaces, and that Londoners are surrounded by soot and pollution, I just wanted to give my side πŸ˜‰

  3. Well said! Here in Canada people think all UK houses are like on Coronation Street and only have tiny yards instead of gardens, so silly! Lovely photo, it’s good to see them all enjoying the sunshine, maybe you should add that it’s not always grey and raining in London too!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thanks. In all fairness our road is quite like Coronation Street as it’s Victorian terraced houses, but we do have a garden πŸ™‚ It’s true that the blue sky is not very typical.

  4. Jaime Oliver says:

    wow how fantastic is that school for going to the trouble to give their children all these outside opportunities. I am very impressed x

  5. HelpfulMum says:

    It looks fantastic, you are very lucky. We moved from London to North Yorkshire to be able to afford a house near a park and with some outside space, we have yet to gain a garden though, we have a back yard at the moment. Maybe one day!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thanks. A back yard is not bad – you can still have BBQs that way πŸ™‚

  6. Emma T says:

    Wow, sounds like a good idea to let children continue to play outside at the school facilities.
    The number of green areas is London is amazing – I love seeing the squares and parks.

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      It is so good for them, I love it. We’re so lucky to have so many green areas.

  7. Fabulous post. Love it. We try to get Izzy out as much as possible as we both have such happy memories of playing outside as children x

  8. Kara says:

    Great post…..I really think people use where they live as an excuse not to get outdoors. I know I am very lucky where I am but you can always find a place to play!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      We’re lucky in the UK that there are so many parks around, I really missed that when I was in France, but I suppose in the south of France it would cost a fortune to keep the grass alive!

  9. Dawn Frazier says:

    We try and encourage our children to play outside as often as possible. We are very lucky where we live because we’ve got quite a good sized garden, a country park which is a 20 minute walk from the house, and we are spoilt for choice of beaches too that are not that far away.

    It’s easy to think that nowhere in London would have much green space but it’s surprising how many there are there. Sounds like you’ve got a lovely place to live πŸ™‚

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Ooh, it sounds like you’re very lucky – I do miss having the beach nearby. I was so surprised to find so many green areas when we moved to London, we have 3 big commons in walking distance, not to mention all the major parks in central London which are easily accessible too.

  10. Wow, I had no idea that London had so much green spaces, you are really lucky (as are the children!).
    We live in rural France so the garden extends into the fields which is nice; nice and big for playing but not much entertainment and barely any playgrounds. I noticed that in France the schools have little playgrounds and not much outdoor space even in rural communities where we are which is surprising as I would have thought with all the green space they would have more room?

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      It was such a pleasant surprise when we moved here – who would have thought I’d find the most green spaces, out of anywhere I’ve ever lived, in London?! That’s interesting what you say about rural France, it’s like that on the Riviera but I’d have thought it’d be better in other areas.

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