A weekly newspaper in the West Midlands has launched a campaign to get more children to play outdoor games like their parents used to.
The Bromsgrove Standard’s ‘Let’s Get Bromsgrove Playing ‘ was launched on Friday following a study that showed old fashioned favourites, such as British Bulldog, were falling by the wayside.
The figures from Play England showed a quarter of children in the West Midlands had never built a den, a third had never climbed a tree and eight per cent had never ridden a bike.
Editor Tristan Harris said he decided to launch the campaign to get children across the paper’s circulation area off the games consoles and ‘playing out’ as their parents used to.
Said Tristan: “I couldn’t believe the statistics from Play England about how little children spend playing these days.
“Then, when we looked into it, and found the district had more than 30 play spaces, ranging from traditional ones with swings and slides to multi-use games areas and skate parks, I knew we as a newspaper had to try and do something.
“As spring and summer approaches, we want to see these play areas filling up and it would be great to see some of the traditional games like bulldog and dodge-ball becoming popular again and helping to keep kids fit.”
The newspaper sought the views of local play centres, councils, local country parks, NHS Worcestershire, the National Trust and a local play expert to get some tips for parents and children for simple, cost effective or free play.
The campaign was carried over a full page and featured six stories. These included highlighting play areas across the district, country parks and a National Trust play area, as well as views from play expert Dave Bouker from Play Worcestershire.
A ‘Let’s Get Bromsgrove Playing’ page has also been set up on Facebook where explanations of and rules to traditional games such as British Bulldog and Stuck in the Mud have been posted.
Added Tristan: “As well as a reference for game rules and explanations, we also want it to be a place where parents and carers can discuss different issues, play ideas and their favourite places to play across the district.”