There is much interest in how children spend their free time. Many people worry that children today do not get enough exercise, what with video games and online resources taking up so much of their time. But are these fears justified?.
For our latest survey we wanted to find out what it is that children like to do if they are given the choice. Do they like physical activities, such as sports or walks, or do they prefer to stay indoors, or go somewhere to be entertained?
To find the answer to this question, we asked a total of 2,047 children the following question: “Which of these would you prefer to do?” We gave a choice of several options: Go for a walk in the countryside, Go to a cinema or theatre, Go to a party, Play a sport, Spend time on your favourite hobby, or Watch TV.
This is what we found:
As you can see, playing a sport (the only option which has to be physically active) did rather well. The only option which did better was spending time on a hobby. Now, hobbies come in many forms – model making, stamp collecting, or orienteering, so we cannot be sure how active this option is.
The least popular option, by a county mile (if you’ll pardon the pun) was walking in the countryside. This is not that surprising. Back in October 2019 we asked children How often do you go for a walk in the countryside and the results were not good. Fewer than half the respondents went for walks regularly.
Seeing as children’s favourite pastime is hobbies. Which ones should you encourage? Not all hobbies have to be trivial. Many can bring benefits, such as exercising our minds or our bodies. Here are a few suggestions of hobbies you may wish to get your child into.
Gardening. The environment is a major concern for most of us and one way we can help it is through gardening and growing our own food. Kids like to get their hands dirty and at the same time they will be learning about the cycles of nature and getting valuable exercise.
Astronomy. Not so easy to get into, as you will need a telescope. But once you have one then the sky’s the limit! This is a great hobby and it teaches children all about the universe and may generate an interest in physics.
Nature Walks. These are a great way to get active, and also to learn. You could collect some specimens to take home. Maybe set up a tank filled with the ingredients of a natural habitat and keep captured insects in there. This gives children an opportunity to see their life-cycles close up.
Music. Like astronomy, not so easy to get into as an instrument is required. But if you can afford it, this is a brilliant hobby. It teaches children self-discipline and also hones their brains for maths and logic problems.
Photography. Once upon a time, photography was a hobby that needed expensive equipment, but no more. Even armed with just the camera on their phone children can take some great pictures. This gets them out and about, trains their artistic eye, and is loads of fun too!
Art. All you need to get started with art are some pencils and paper. It’s a great hobby and one that you can take with you everywhere you go. If your child takes a liking to it then there are so many other possibilities – painting, sculpture, mosaics – the world really is your oyster.More Survey Results
Here are the results from 2,047 people who answered our question "Which of these activities would you prefer to do?". The survey was conducted in the week ending November 22nd, 2020.
|Activity||Percentage of Respondents|
|A walk in the countryside||8%|
|Trip to a cinema or theatre||14%|
|Go to a party||15%|
|Play a sport||22%|