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Interactive Nature Play Map
Detail: Play England, part of the leading children's charity NCB, has been awarded 500,000 for the Exploring Nature Play project to help children explore and become more aware of nature around them and the opportunities for play and enjoyment that it provides.

The grant is from Natural England's Access to Nature programme - funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Research by Natural England has revealed that less than 25% of children today play in their local 'patch of nature' compared to over 50% of their parents when they were a child. In a bid to reverse this trend, Play England and Savlon, in conjunction with Natural England, are calling upon families to share their safe local outdoor playing spaces, with the launch of an interactive online map to help children and families explore and enjoy nature where they live.

As well as finding great places to play outside, families can put their own natural places to play on the map. Once they've played there, they can go back and rate the areas, post comments and upload photos to show why they are good places to play - or why they need improving.

Play England is also encouraging play and environmental projects to use the map to promote their natural spaces to play, so that more children, families and communities can enjoy fun places to have everyday adventures outdoors.

Exploring Nature Play programme manager Mick Conway said 'It is a myth that children prefer indoor based play activities. Our recent Playday poll of 4,000 children and parents showed that playing at a beach or river (88%), playing in a park (79%) riding a bike (77%) and playing ball games (76%) are overwhelmingly more popular with children than playing computer games. Over 60 per cent of the parents said they would like their children to play outdoors more often than they currently do, but 1 in 7 said they didn't know where to find their nearest natural play space. We hope the interactive map becomes a social network around local natural play areas so that parents are happy for their children to play outdoors as an everyday experience once again."
Date: September 28 2011