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In an age where children spend more time roaming their screens than the outside – over 50 per cent of parents say their children have no outdoor skills, according to new research from Vauxhall Motors

Outdoor skills are dying out, parents fear

  • Nearly 80% of parents think outdoor skills are dying out
  • Despite a thirst to teach their children, 48 per cent of parents lack confidence to teach kids basic outdoor skills including map reading
  • Vauxhall challenges James Cracknell and family to go back to basics and rediscover the UK’s top lost skills with the new Combo Life

In an age where children spend more time roaming their screens than the outside – over 50 per cent of parents say their children have no outdoor skills, according to new research from Vauxhall Motors.

When asked what skills parents feel the next generation had lost, lighting a fire and map reading were some of the highest-rated outdoor activities that their children didn’t know. While 83 per cent of parents claim they think it’s important to teach their kids these skills, almost half admit they wouldn’t feel confident teaching them the basics including reading a map or identifying a flower.

Showing a bigger reliance on technology in their everyday lives than ever – nearly 60 per cent admit they’d turn to the internet to show them the basics. 32 per cent would even rely on their grandparents to show them what to do.

To inspire families to rediscover these dying skills, the British car manufacturer has teamed up with adventurer and Olympian James Cracknell to encourage parents to get their kids roaming for real to reignite their passion for the outdoors – just in time for the half term.

The top ten outdoor skills parents feel are dying out:

  1. Map Reading
  2. Reading a compass
  3. Identifying flowers
  4. Lighting a campfire
  5. Bird watching
  6. Foraging
  7. Putting up a tent
  8. Tying a knot
  9. Fishing
  10. Toasting marshmallows

To celebrate alongside the launch of the new versatile and practical vehicle, Combo Life, perfect for getting out with the family, James and his two children, Kiki (9) and Trixie (7) put down their tablets and took to the Great British outdoors to try their hand at some of the nation’s top lost skills.

Speaking about their adventure, James said: “such busy lives, for us as a family it’s really important to get outside for some quality time together, whether its jumping in the car for a Sunday adventure in the country or a weekend away at our house in North Devon.

It’s been great to explore more of the outdoors with my girls, showing them a few skills has shown them how much fun you can have when you go back to basics.”

James Cracknell has also worked with Vauxhall driving the new Combo Life to share his how-to tips for some easy outdoor activities with the family. Here’s how you can light your own real campfire outside:

  1. Collect your firewood. For this you’ll need a mix of small sticks or leaves known as tinder for the base, and bigger, dry sticks (kindling) for the top
  2. Arrange your kindling over a base of the dry leaves/sticks
  3. Light your fire. This is one for the parents (with children’s supervision!). Grab your matches or a spark to light the tinder. Be careful – the flames get very hot
  4. Now you’ve got your fire burning, it’s time to toast your marshmallows. Enjoy with a hot chocolate for the perfect campfire experience.

Across the nation, families are eager to head to the great outdoors and set up camp. With 60 per cent of parents from the East Midlands and Wales saying putting up a tent is one the highest rated skills they would want to pass on to their children. That’s why Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and rolling Pennines of the Peak District, is the perfect place to pitch up – there is an abundance of scenic countryside to pitch up camp and enjoy the great outdoors the UK has to offer.

While the majority of families opting for the car for a family day out (64 per cent), Combo Life comes with an abundance of storage, ample boot space, high levels of safety equipment and enough room for the whole family, as well as the state of the art touchscreen infotainment system including Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ – making it the perfect partner for a family weekend away.

Brad Miller, Vauxhall’s Product Manager for the new Combo Life: “We know it can be challenging for families to carve out quality time, and so we’re always striving to create the most versatile and reliable vehicles for the road – giving you less time worrying about getting from A to B and more time for quality adventures together.

“Built with families in mind, the new Combo Life offers ample space and includes the highest spec touchscreen console for connectivity on the go and a panoramic glass roof, giving you more time to get rediscover the outdoors and explore what Britain has to offer.”

The new Combo Life is the latest versatile family leisure vehicle from Vauxhall Motors, featuring a huge 1,355 litres of boot space and available with keyless entry, head up display and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

For more tips, information about the new Combo Life and to watch the Cracknells get back to basics, visit

SOURCE: Vauxhall

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