Exploration of Children’s Experiences: Outdoors and Nature with Associated Risks and Benefits”
Since 2009, “The Outdoor Foundation” has conducted a nationwide survey to examine youth participation in outdoor recreation. In 2009, The Outdoor Foundation conducted a nationwide survey of over 41,000 individuals between the ages of 6 and 25. Respondents under the age of 13 completed the survey with a parent, while respondents over the age of the 13 completed the survey themselves. In their report, The Outdoor Foundation outlines a number of key findings, including the following:
- 59% of 6- to 24 year-olds participated in outdoor recreation (defined as having taken part in one or more of 40 activities at least once during 2008). (Availability of outside playground equipment & outdoor play sets can improve this statistic)
- Youth participants made up 34% of all outdoor recreation participants. Participation in outdoor recreation was highest among 6- to 12-year-olds at 64%, declined to 61% for 13- to 17-year-olds, and declined further to 54% for 18- to 24-year-olds.
- Youth participation in outdoor recreation declined since 2006 in all age groups and among both boys and girls. The rate of decline was greatest among 6- to 12-year-old girls (77% in 2006 versus 58% in 2008).
- More males participated in outdoor recreation than females (56% versus 44%). HEADS UP: Parents of Justin Bieber fans!!
- More Caucasians participated in outdoor recreation than other ethnic populations (79%versus 7.4% for African Americans).
- Running, bicycling, and freshwater fishing were the most popular outdoor activitiesamong youth.
- Parents, friends, and family were the strongest influences in getting younger children toparticipate in outdoor recreation.
- 46% of youth reported that lack of time and interest kept them from participating inoutdoor activities more often.
- Youth with nearby walking and biking routes participated in more outdoor recreation(21% more for walking routes and 25% more for biking routes).