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Would you rather your kids played indoors than out?

(89 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Aug-13 16:52:22


We've been asked if MNers would rather their children played indoors than outside - and, if so, why?

Is it because it's just less faff? Or because it's safer?

And, if you do prefer your children to play outside, can you tell us why? What do they gain from outdoor play that they can't get indoors? And do you feel you're unusual in preferring to get them outside?

motherinferior Mon 05-Aug-13 16:56:07

Doesn't that depend on (a) a lot of variables (b) what you feel they ought to be doing versus the practical realities? I think my children ought to be outside, because I am that sort of middle-class aware parent who knows all about Furedi et al, and writes about the value of Outdoor Play and suchlike. So in that sense I prefer it, and I would think that the majority of parents would feel similarly - it's a bit like getting people to tell you how much they drink, isn't it.

In practical terms I have a very small garden and my kids don't play out on the street all that much. If I lived somewhere that wasn't a rather revolting corner of Sarfeast Lunnon, I would turf them out a lot more.

As it is I swinge myself guiltily. In the same way I do about drink, really.

sillyoldfool Mon 05-Aug-13 16:58:58

I prefer them to be outside. The play more freely, imaginatively and physically outside.
We have a postage stamp London garden too though, so spend as much time as possible in the park.

ImNotBloody14 Mon 05-Aug-13 16:59:23

fuck no!

outside if at all possible, they can scream and shout and run and roughhouse and play football and go on bikes and dig and trampoline etc etc- inside they can do none of that without my head splitting in two.

out of interest- asked by who?

Purplehonesty Mon 05-Aug-13 16:59:25

Nope my ds is out all the time at 4 and my dd who is 1 wants to be out constantly but can't yet walk properly!
We live in deepest darkest rural Scotland tho so its v safe and grandad lives next door, he is the only neighbour!

summerglory Mon 05-Aug-13 17:01:37

Outside for sure!

My 5yr old dd goes stir crazy if she's not been out to stretch her legs & get some fresh air - I liken it to walking a dog they need to run around and get fresh air it's built into their DNA.

peteypiranha Mon 05-Aug-13 17:02:34

Mine are aged 5 and 1 and in the warm months are out a lot more than they are in. I dont think Im unusual, but would say it was unusual to not be outside a lot, especially in the holidays.

WowOoo Mon 05-Aug-13 17:03:57

They run around far more and tire themselves out.

They are more likely to play together with neighbours if they are out.

They also tend to be far more creative and will invent games etc. If inside my two boys tend to ask me for the iPad or to go on the Wii.

Pascha Mon 05-Aug-13 17:10:26

Good lord I'd kill them both if I had no outside space to shove them for at least some of the day. They're much better come 4pm when I start thinking about tea if they've been out and about.

Manchesterhistorygirl Mon 05-Aug-13 17:18:09

I'd far rather they played out.

Sirzy Mon 05-Aug-13 17:18:51

ds is 3.8 - I get him outside at every opportunity, nothing worse than a child who has been couped up all day! Bonus is on rainy days you get the park to yourself

TeWiSavesTheDay Mon 05-Aug-13 17:20:44

Outside, definitely!

They sleep far better with at least 3 hours of outdoor running about under their belt.

I think it's great socially as well: in the park, woods or street they get talking and playing with children they don't already know, learn new games, negotiate, share toys.

Easy for me too. Just hold the coats and keep a close eye on the smallest grin

MasterFlea Mon 05-Aug-13 17:25:03

Definitely rather them to be outdoors. They enjoy it more so are therefore less likely to throw a strop. Everybody wins.

I don't feel unusual for doing this. It just makes sense.

I feel they learn more outside. About weather, what to wear i.e. wellies for puddles, gloves for winter. Creepy crawlies, birds, don't eat the red mushrooms, which berries are nice, etc.

Then they love swings, paddling, sand and I can't have that in my house so out they go.

ManicMinor Mon 05-Aug-13 17:26:10

I have no preference, I'd rather they played where they want to play. In reality, I think my boys are more imaginative in their inside play, and as I don't mind them 'taking over the house', I don't feel the need to send them outside. I don't think there is inherently anything 'better' about outside play, though I guess if they never wanted to go out I'd be more concerned.

They are more likely to start playing with the neighbours' children if they are outside, but then the play often drifts inside.

VelmaDaceDinkley Mon 05-Aug-13 17:27:50

DD is 6 and plays out on the street with neighbour's children, it's up to her whether she wants to play out or not. I don't tend to mind either way, unless she's bothering me to fill up her water pistol ever 2 minutes or such like. We don't have a garden so this is her only chance of independent outdoor play.

I like a bit of both, but probably prefer outside. We live in the countryside but it's not that easy - no pavements, 60mph country roads, crazy bitey horses etc.

I love them getting muddy, climbing trees, hunting for mini beasts, jumping in puddles, playing in the sea or streams. I think it's important to feel connected to your environment so you learn to appreciate and care for it.

A close friend of mine is the opposite though, she is very risk averse. A walk outside with her and her DC is quite stressful - it's all "don't touch that/don't get muddy/don't sit down you'll get wet/ooooh wasps/stinging nettles/thorns about 10 metres away "

ManicMinor Mon 05-Aug-13 17:31:20

My house doesn't stay tidy for long, mind, that's a definite advantage to outside play.

DTisMYdoctor Mon 05-Aug-13 17:33:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AdoraBell Mon 05-Aug-13 17:33:50

I prefer mine to play outside but where live for most of the year it is too hot with too much sun, about twice as much radiation as in the UK, so they end up doing indoor activities instead. They now want to move back to the UK and spend more time outside.

belatedmaybe Mon 05-Aug-13 17:34:49

Mine are always outside. They only really do screen time/inside at other people's houses. I feel we are all happier this way, especially the children's ponies who would get quite cross if they tried to ride them in a dining room rather than an arena wink

Tinkerisdead Mon 05-Aug-13 17:38:26


I never realised until we rented this house with two large ponds. Now I cant give the kids free rein outside or leave the doors open at will. I thought it'd be a simple case of taking them out into the fenced off area and letting them play but i cant unless im sat there watching rigidly.

We spend far too much time indoors now, i just want onf piece of flat green grass that they run round, roll on, hop along and breathe fresh air whilst i watch from a chair!

GwenCooper81 Mon 05-Aug-13 17:48:09

My DC's love being outdoors, the park, the garden just anywhere outside.
We're very lucky to have a big garden and they have a trampoline and a swing set etc.
I prefer them outside, nothing better than pitching the tent and seeing them play, eat outside and come in exhausted ready for a bath and bed!.
My house stays tidier as well wink

MimsyBorogroves Mon 05-Aug-13 17:48:16

I would love more outside play, but it's not always practical. We have a nice garden, but unfortunately it has 5 very steep steps with sharp edges leading from patio to garden area. I dislike DS1 (5) throwing himself out there because of them (and his inability to look where he's going) and DS1 (1) would need a permanent escort. I'm not a garden person. If we had a huge flat garden with room for slide/dens/garden toys, or even a garden without the damn steps I would be more encouraging.

Similarly with the park, it's brilliant if DS1's friends are around (we spent 3 hours there today) but when it's just us on our own we all end up a bit "meh" with it. It's nice enough, but the 8 play pieces lose their appeal for everyone if we go too often and alone.

I think the benefits of outside - fresh air, running around, a bit of dirt, are brilliant - but my reality is that it's a big effort for me to motivate myself. We are going to buy annual passes for a local attraction that has a huge outdoor park area, and this is going to help me a great deal with this.

tallulah Mon 05-Aug-13 17:51:26

Outside. She entertains herself on her swing instead of demanding food/drinks/put cbeebies back on the computer because I've pressed something and it's gone off.

magimedi Mon 05-Aug-13 17:56:24

I was always chucking them out.

I'd like to know who wants to know this & why?? Not in a cross way, just nosey.

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