Nigel Donnelly

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RESEARCH BY THE Camping and Caravanning Club reveals that camping doesn’t just benefit adults

The touring season is here and it's time for family togetherness, rest and relaxation, social interaction, feeling good and getting happy.

RESEARCH BY THE Camping and Caravanning Club reveals that camping doesn’t just benefit adults

 

The touring season is here and it's time for family togetherness, rest and relaxation, social interaction, feeling good and getting happy.

 

Sounds like a description of caravanning – but don't just take our word for it. Academics have reviewed a welter of studies covering the benefits of camping, including caravanning, and came up with a long list. In other words, touring is more than just fun. The researchers found that it promotes physical and mental wellbeing, family cohesion and satisfaction, good behaviour among children and more.

 

The review involved more than 60 studies and was conducted at Liverpool John Moores University, with extra input from the Camping and Caravanning Club.

 

The club also conducted an online survey of campers and non-campers – people who have never been under canvas or in a tourer. There were 1000 adults and 500 seven- to 11-year-olds in each group. The survey found that:


87% of children who camp say camping in the countryside makes them feel really happy

73% of all adults surveyed say camping is something every child should experience

59% of campers say it should be on the national curriculum

84% of campers say it’s good for a child’s health.

79% of kids who have never camped said they would like to!

 

Kids love caravans

The findings form part of the Club’s Real Richness – The List, which includes statistics and stories of those who camp and how camping has transformed their lives.

 

Director General Robert Louden said: “Our findings certainly show that camping makes families feel closer – and richer – and at the same time there is a lot of evidence to show that not only can camping improve a child’s behaviour, but it can also make them more attentive and interested in the world around them."

 

Field study

Asking kids what they think is one thing but showing them a caravan and seeing the reaction is equally fascinating. Our ‘Scrapbook’ writer  Andy Jenkinson wanted to see how kids would react when shown a caravan for the first time.

 

Andy borrowed a 2011 Sprite Major from Campbells Caravans at Kirkham and towed it to St Teresa’s Primary School and Teddy Nursery at Cleve Leys in Lancashire.

"I chose the Sprite for its big child appeal especially with the triple bunks and rear dinette. It’s like a caravan and climbing frame all-in-one. We knew none of these children went caravanning so I was interested to see what they made of a caravan."

 

Tomorrow's caravanners give their opinion

As you might expect, their reactions were pretty favourable. The first focus group was of two- to four-year-olds. To make the test a little more holiday-like, they took snacks and drinks into the Sprite while they formed their opinions.

The bunks were a big draw and so was the front lounge with the long front seats and the panoramic window. They fired questions in quick succession: "Can we take it to the beach?" "By a river?" "Can we sleep in it?" "It’s got a cooker!" Even a little rain couldn’t dampen the children’s excitement. 

A much tougher test came next. What did the primary schoolers aged nine or more think?

We needn’t have worried. Here are a few of their comments: "Cool – it’s got its own shower." "How do the lights work?" "I’m on the top bunk!" The Sprite went down well with its young audiences but Andy didn’t need a university study or survey to find out. 


"I asked, 'Would a caravan holiday be great fun?’ 'Yes!' was the resounding reply from everyone!"

 

Thanks to the staff of Teddy Nursery and St Teresa’s Primary School for their help, and Adam Hulme at Campbells Caravans in Kirkham for lending the Sprite

 

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