Children will miss the outdoors when lockdown ends, research suggests

Children will miss getting outside when lockdown ends, new research has revealed. (Getty Images)

From homeschooling to having to forgo their usual activities, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the lives of children in many ways, but being able to enjoy the great outdoors is one of the positives families will take from lockdown.

Playing outside, hearing the birds sing, and breathing in cleaner air are just a few of the things children in the UK will miss the most when lockdown officially ends, new research shows.

The poll, carried out by a group of environmental and mental health organisations collectively known as Vitamin N, and reported by BBC, also revealed that 43% of children aren't looking forward to being “cooped up in their classrooms all day” when they head back to school.

Read more: Outdoor toys and games to keep children entertained

Carried out by 3GEM Research and Insights, the survey quizzed 500 children and 1,500 parents and found that being outside has had a positive impact on many families during lockdown.

Going on bike rides has been one of the highlights of lockdown for many families. (Getty Images)

Almost 60% of the parents surveyed said their children “have taken more interest in nature” since the lockdown began, with many claiming spending time outdoors connecting with the environment had been one of the highlights of the period.

Many parents believed there were health benefits to the extra time spent outside, with almost a third (29% of parents saying they’d noticed that having cleaner air during lockdown was helping their youngsters' health.

Read more: How coronavirus measures may be affecting children's mental health

Getting outside has also given many families a mental health boost, with approximately 80% of parents believing that being outside with their children had “lifted their spirits” while being at home.  

And children have been enjoying the increase in outdoor time too, with more than a quarter saying that one of the best things about lockdown was going for bike rides.

Nature has also provided kids with a happiness hit, with one in five saying they enjoyed “seeing more birds and insects in their garden”.

Read more: Easiest ways to get children into gardening

Parents say their children have enjoyed nature during lockdown. (Getty Images)

A further fifth also said they're happy seeing fewer cars on the roads right now.

The research also revealed that parents are supportive of children having more green time even when lockdown does come to an end, with 67% of parents wanting schools to try having at least one outdoor lesson every day.

Previous research indicates that just an hour or two of outdoor learning every week engages children and improves their wellbeing.