One in five schoolchildren can’t tell the difference between a wasp and a bee, a study reveals today. Researchers found 21 per cent of kids aged between six and twelve didn’t know what a wasp looked like – with one in six mistaking it for a bee. Five per cent picked ‘fly’ when shown a picture of a bumble bee. Children were also baffled by the difference between rodents.
More than a quarter had no idea what a mouse looked like. And 12 per cent thought a heron was a flamingo. But adults didn’t fare much better in the study – with one in twenty believing trees which don’t lose their leaves during winter were called carnivores and less than half knew bananas grew on branches.
The study of 1,000 kids and 2,000 adults was carried out by Arla Foods (makers of Cravendale, Anchor and Lurpak), to encourage kids as part of their campaign to get kids closer to nature.
More than one in ten adults (12 per cent) admitted they have ‘no interest’ in the outdoors, while 22 per cent blame bad weather and a third said their youngsters have ‘other hobbies’ to keep them entertained. Yet 39 per cent are worried their children don’t know enough about wildlife and 52 per cent reckon they watch too much television.
While kids spend more than two hours a day stuck in front of the box or on computer games, a quarter enjoy less than half an hour of fresh air.
A spokesperson for Arla said, ”Children are becoming increasingly alienated from nature and the great outdoors yet engaging with nature has been proven to have a positive impact on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Our study revealed a quarter of children said they wished they spent more time outdoors, while one in five parents limit their kids to indoor activities because it’s more convenient and less time-consuming.
“Many adults have forgotten the joy of nature – two thirds say their children spend less time playing outside then they did as a child. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, just going for a walk in the park or growing cress on the window sill are great ways to get kids closer to nature.”
Four in ten adults in the survey didn’t know what tree conkers fell from, one in five couldn’t identify a magpie and six per cent thought raspberries and strawberries grew on frees instead of bushes.
It emerged the typical family has had just six trips into the countryside in the past 12 months, while one in twenty said it has been a year or longer since they last went to a park or trekked through a field. Four in ten parents blamed their hectic lifestyle and ‘feeling too tired’by the time it’s the weekend to venture outside.