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Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment
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Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment

The national survey on people and the natural environment. Children and Young People report

The report presents the headline findings of the MENE survey in relation to children (aged under 16) and young people (aged 16-24) for the year from March 2017 to February 2018. Comparisons with adults over 25 years old are also included as appropriate. Trend analysis of survey data for the five year period from 2013/14 to 2017/18 has been highlighted in this report where change over time have been statistically significant.

It found that:

  • - Children and young people more regularly spend time outdoors than older age groups.
  • - Children living in lower income areas are less likely to spend time outdoors than those in more affluent areas.
  • - Children from black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds are less likely to spend time outdoors than children from white backgrounds.
  • - As children grow up they are more likely to explore the outdoors without adult supervision. But even the oldest children are more likely to spend time in nature with adults than without.
  • - Children’s time outside without adult supervision has declined since 2013.
  • - Play is the main motivation for children’s time outdoors. Other reasons become more important as children grow older.
  • - Urban greenspaces are important places for children of all ages. Fewer children spend time in more natural places such as woodland or the countryside.
  • - Children have positive attitudes towards nature with changes as children enter teenage years.

The report includes a Summary statistics for children and young people for 2017/18.

Conclusion summary:

  • - Children and young people more regularly spend time outdoors than any other age groups and report positive attitudes towards nature.
  • - Local greenspaces, including parks, recreation grounds and playgrounds are important spaces for children’s play and their experience of the outdoors.
  • - Adult supervision is an important factor influencing the amount of time children spend in nature.
  • - While overall levels of children’s time spent outside have remained constant over the last four years, levels of independent play outside, without adult supervision, have declined.
  • - There is a marked change around the early teenage years, in terms of motivations and places visited, with a decrease in those reporting the strongest pro-nature attitudes.

Download the full report

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