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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?

Jaynebxl Fri 11-Oct-13 07:52:21

Iz anyone still looking for answers to this? Just in case, another vote for outside as there can be no arguments about wanting screen time and they are getting some exercise and using their imaginations.

usualsuspect Fri 11-Oct-13 07:45:44

Mine all played out, I don't live in a nice village.I live on a council estate.

It's the norm for all the kids to play out around here.

Snog Fri 11-Oct-13 07:41:44

outside! you can run off energy outside and stay healthier than if you are cooped up indoors all the time. plus less mess in the house!
i think outdoor play builds independence and confidence.

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 25-Aug-13 16:59:53

Once they're 8+ then out with friends, under 8 and it's out again but in the garden.

Witchesbrewandbiscuits Sun 25-Aug-13 16:56:42

I prefer my dc to play outside. they have more space and access to different environments to explore. they also get fresh air and vit d on their skin. some environments can be unsafe but it is important to weigh up what is and isnt appropriate for your child. they need to be exposed to a certain element of risk to learn risk assessment and develop gross motor skills and muscle memory. I also think outdoor environments allow for more energy ro be burned off. however, I dont agree with children being turfed out onto the street and left to their own devices.

TwasBrillig Mon 12-Aug-13 10:12:39

Depends what they mean. I wouldn't let my children play 'out' in our area. Unfortunately we're not in a naice village with a pleasant group of friends but a rougher area. I would love that to be the case.

Similarly our garden isn't big enough to actually run in - a friends is and they can just play out all day but I actually have to take mine in the car. Plenty of gorgeous places to go near hear but it means they're not 'out' by default, its an intentional trip.

Watching them in my friends garden was ace, they can run like loons and I could safely read a book in peace. Much less stressful than a park!

GwendolineMaryLacey Mon 12-Aug-13 09:56:09

Depends. DD1 (5) outdoors
DD2 (19m) indoors. She brings every stone from the garden in, then tries to eat them, plus she eats mud, would eat cat poo if she found it. Far too stressful.

katydid02 Mon 12-Aug-13 09:51:50

Outside; they build dens, climb trees, have water fights, play football and do all the things that children should be doing in my opinion.

belatedmaybe Wed 07-Aug-13 12:42:45

Did anyone hear the report on this? It really tickled me! Apparently parents don't like to let their children play out anymore because of all the kidnapping and paedophilia that go on now.

I did wonder about the leading manner of the question but it seems they missed their target with mners as I didn't see one person mention this up thread! I wonder if we are all just a bit more realistic about risk here or the people asking the question just ignored anyone giving the answer that didn't fit grin

crazykat Tue 06-Aug-13 09:37:24

They'd also play out more if there was a decent park (or two) on the estate. As it is there was a good one built a few years ago in the field behind our house but as things broke -fence, slide etc it was removed instead of fixed or replaced. Now there's only one or two things there so no point going, and the nearest decent park is a half hour walk which isn't great in the current changing weather.

I think that if the park behind our house was rebuilt - there's plenty or space for a huge park- and maybe a smaller one at the other end of the estate built, and maintained properly, then a lot more children would be able to play out instead of being stuck indoors or wandering the street as there's nowhere close for them to go.

crazykat Tue 06-Aug-13 09:31:33

It depends tbh. I used to prefer them inside as we have a corner plot so half the garden is in the front and on a busy-ish road and the garden was a mess when we moved in. It was safer for them to play inside.

Now we've had chance to sort the garden a bit and they're older (5,4 and 2) I like them to be outside when its nice so they can burn off some energy and not drive me insane. They're also got bikes/seesaw/paddling pool to amuse them.

If we had a bigger back garden like all the houses round here that aren't on a corner or a higher fence/hedge round the front, they'd be out more as we'd have a trampoline out front. As we have a low fence I don't like the idea of a trampoline/swings out front incase its stolen (its that kind of area).

GreatGooglyMoogly Tue 06-Aug-13 08:29:54

Both have benefits, but due to the weather in this country (and my aversion to dripping, muddy children) I tend to want them outside whenever the weather is dry as I know there will be a lot of time when the weather is wet and they'll be inside anyway! Luckily we have a good-sized garden so even if I need to do things in the house they can be playing safely outside. I wouldn't let them play outside on the street.

Parmarella Tue 06-Aug-13 08:02:41

Depends where you live!

Where we live now ( Hampshire village, quiet road) I love for them to play outside sith their "gang"

They get fresh air and exercise, they develop social skills, they learn how to work as a team, how to be with a child with SN in daily life, they sleep very well after a day outside, and they learn to assess risk ( climbing trees, jumping off walls).

It can feel a bit scary as I have less controll as a parent, but I also think it is great when the sort out their own problems with rules, cheating etc.

Learning life skills really.

KristinaM Tue 06-Aug-13 03:42:57

Outside. That's the whole point of living in the country. We have a large garden and are surrounded by fields and woods.

LadyLech Mon 05-Aug-13 23:53:50

Hell no, why would I want them under my feet, when I could kick them out to the park and not have to deal with their fighting until tea time? If I'm really lucky, they'll meet up with friends, ask if they can stay there for tea, and I won't have them home until bedtime grin.

However, this method does unfortunately come with the catch that every now and then I have to do my stint at feeding 6 children which randomly turn up for their tea.

Thankfully, I live in a village on the edge of the Cotswolds, which is nice and safe and where most people chuck their kids out to play from year 1 (so thankfully there is usually a friend they can find.)

DelayedActionMouseMaker Mon 05-Aug-13 22:55:13

Outside. It's why we are renting where we are rather than buying a house with a postage stamp garden. (Which would be all we could afford.) We are probably royally messing up our future, but I want my kids to grow up knowing and loving the outdoors and the natural world as much as DH and I did.
As it happens we have little choice in the matter, dd lives on her trampoline and DS is out the door as soon as he has inhaled his breakfast in the morning, in his pj's and whoevers shoes he finds first. smile

racingheart Mon 05-Aug-13 22:29:56

Outdoors, definitely. One of the reasons we left London was so they could spend their free time outdoors. We're surrounded by woods, hills, streams, wildlife, and have a garden full of swings and slides and trampoline.

But they still need to be booted off the sofa first most days. Once they're out there, though, they love it - water fights and cycle rides, bonfires and target practise. they come in all rosy cheeked and happy in a way they never are after a session on screens - or maybe it's just me that feels happier seeing them like that. They just seem healthier and happier afterwards.

Also, when they play inside it gets soooo untidy - out come warhammer, every musical instrument under the sun, a mortgageable quantity of Lego, plus all the cushions off the sofas to build dens and trenches. Much rather they just trailed a bit of mud across the kitchen floor.

Bicnod Mon 05-Aug-13 22:05:00


We moved out of London to buy a house with a decent garden and I am grateful for it every day.

I have two very energetic boys who need to burn off energy so spend time outside every day come rain or shine.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 05-Aug-13 21:53:21

Outside is our preference - the house gets less messy!

We have a smallish back garden though and no where close enough for them to play outdoors unsupervised which means that if they play anywhere other than the garden I have to go too. That's not always possible for instance at tea time when I need to be preparing the evening meal.

Our dc are like dogs - they need a good run around outdoors every day! They play together for far longer outside and seem to use their imaginations more. They get less bored of their toys outside in the garden too. We're pretty well equipped with waterproofs and warm clothes for in cold weather so it's unusual for bad weather to stop them playing outdoors completely - just for shorter periods.

mellicauli Mon 05-Aug-13 21:49:36

If your children play outside. you can actually hear what they are saying on Radio 4 and this leads to better all-round Mothering.

SupermansBigRedPants Mon 05-Aug-13 21:22:12

Df takes ds into the back garden every day the weathers good - they go on the swings, play with the random toys around, ds helps daddy in the shed, yesterday they took up the pond smile ds loves helping but poor mite just gets in my way so daddy is god to him!

Dd likes going out on the swings too or out front on her bike or to kick a ball about.

Gets them out my way which is fab pregnant lazy and cba listening to them whinge and the fresh air does them good.

MoreSnowPlease Mon 05-Aug-13 21:06:46

Outside all the way. DS is 13 months and pretty much spends all day outside. In fact the only time he tantrums is when he has to come in for whatever reason.

It is the summer though, I wonder if the answers would be different in the winter. I am 100% sure that he will still spend a lot of time outside but it will obviously be harder for me as I'll need to persuade him toput some clothes on first!

AllSWornOut Mon 05-Aug-13 21:00:44

Outside. DC is very physical and goes nuts if he's cooped up all day inside. Can't wait to move somewhere we'll have a garden.

TheOneWithTheHair Mon 05-Aug-13 20:56:14

Imagine the outrage. Hehe. grin

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Aug-13 20:52:23


Thanks Helen. Not much of a mystery! grin

Indeed! Maybe we should have strung you out for another couple of hours? <evil grin>

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