Hayes Garden World has launched an online knowledge hub and series of educational events after survey findings revealed that 1 in 4 parents think their children are more interested in technology than nature.
The Ambleside-based business conducted a survey with 1,072 respondents, which showed that the average child spends 4 hours playing on technology per week (a tablet, mobile phone or computer), whereas they spend just under 3 hours per week playing outside in the autumn/winter period. However, children play outside in spring/summer almost four times this amount, averaging at almost 12 hours per week.
Suggesting a reason for the lack of time spent outside in the colder months, 56% of parents said that wet weather is a preventing factor, and 33% said the same about the cold.
Despite spending less time outside, three quarters (75%) of respondents stated that their child is interested in nature. However, 1 in 4 parents agreed that their child is more interested in technology than nature.
To help parents encourage their children to spend more interacting with nature, Hayes Garden World have launched a Knowledge Centre with tips and tutorials to ensure that children engage with nature on a regular basis. The hub includes videos on exciting plants for kids to grow, tips on outdoor nature activities that can be enjoyed whatever the weather and advice from Hayes Garden World Horticulture Experts on easy gardening activities for parents and children to enjoy together.
A series of events are also planned for the Ambleside store to help children grow in confidence in the garden, including children’s seed-sowing sessions, vegetable planting and competitions with local schools.
The new in-store event calendar follows the success of the Fairy & Dragon World, which won Best Garden Centre Attraction at the 2017 national Garden Retail Awards. This year, the Ambleside store will welcome guests to the Ever-changing Forest , an attraction that educates about the changing seasons in a magical setting. nd annual pumpkin carving at halloween.
Lyndan Orvis, Head of Online Development at Hayes Garden World , commented: “Technology is an important part of modern life, but it’s important that we don’t neglect the inspiration, creativity and adventure that can be found in nature. There are plenty of apps that encourage children to bridge the gap of the digital world with the natural world. Gardening, both indoor and outside, is a great way to encourage children to learn about plants and animals in their own back garden.”
Despite the lack of time outdoors in winter, 96% of parents agreed that engaging their children with nature has a positive effect on the child. 89% of respondents believe that engaging their child with nature improves their creativity and 78% said it has a positive impact on mental health. Over three quarters of parents (86%) said they would like their child to spend more time interacting with nature.
Planting plants with children is a great way to get them to interact with nature: 87% of parents have attempted this before, but 40% of respondents said they are not confident in enough in their gardening abilities to plant plants with their children. Only 9% of respondents said their children aren’t interested in plants.
“It is worrying that 40% of parents said that they are not confident planting plants,” Lyndan Orvis continued.
“We have aimed much of our teaching and gardening clubs directly at children over the years, to try and ensure a grassroots interest in planting and gardening. However, the research shows that perhaps we should be offering more adult-focused classes to parents. It is unlikely that parents who have little confidence in planting or gardening are likely to encourage their children to have a go.
“Gardening is a wonderful way of encouraging children to connect with the world around them. Caring for plants and wildlife can create appreciation for nature as well as an understanding of time and how the ecosystem works.”