While watching television and DVDs tops the YouGov poll as the most common way for parents and children to spend time together in the UK, 26 per cent of children aged 8-11 years old and nearly half (49 per cent) of all parents surveyed said they would like to spend more time together just going for a walk.
Mumsnet co-founder and CEO Justine Roberts added: "It's all too easy to end up spending all family time in front of screens, watching TV or playing video games. Spending time with the children outdoors can be just as cheap as well as fun and educational and offers a bit of balance in a world dominated by X-Factor and Fifa 12."
To help families get out on an Autumn walk, users of the website Mumsnet have provided some top tips on making sure that parents have got everything ready for a fun day out such as climbing a huge hill, flying a kite or hunting for some treasure on a beach.
Over the half-term period there will be hundreds of family walking adventures at National Trust properties as part of the Great British Walk, which has been organised in partnership with PruHealth.
Children can benefit hugely from walking in the outdoors. High blood pressure, cholesterol and depression can be detected in children as young as 10, due to inactivity
These walks are the perfect way for kids to tick off their ‘50 things to do before they’re 11 ¾’ including collecting and play conkers and picking and eating apples straight from the tree.
Simon Pryor, Natural Environment Director at the National Trust, said: “Despite the fact that TV seems to be dominating family life its really encouraging that children and parents want to spend more time together and that walking is seen as a great way of doing just that.
“Walking is a brilliant way for families to spend time together, get fit and discover the joy of the British countryside. And with so many great activities taking place at National Trust properties around the country this half-term there’s no better time to get out and go on a walking adventure,” he said.
Other findings from the research show that 81 per cent of children aged 8 to 11 surveyed said they watched TV and DVDs with their parents in their free time, 69 per cent go on activity trips and days out, while 66 per cent go to the park together, 61 per cent said they went to the cinema together, 50 per cent played sport and 52 per cent spent time together on walks.
When asked the same question, parents of children 18 and under who spend their free time together, answered slightly differently but TV still came out top, with 72 per cent. According to parents, the second most common joint activity was going to the park (47 per cent), followed by going on activity/day trips (46 per cent) and going walking ranked fourth with 37 per cent.
When asked which activities they’d like to do more with their children, 18 and under, parents said day trips were the only activity that was more popular than walking, with 56 per cent of parents saying they would like to go on more joint outings with their kids, compared to 49 per cent that said they’d like to spend more time on walks with their children.
The 8 to 11 year olds surveyed said they’d like to spend more time with their parents doing outdoor activities such as going to the park (47 per cent) and playing sport (46 per cent).
Over half of the parents surveyed (54 per cent) said they spend more time with their children than their own parents did. And one in three (35 per cent) of parents said that they would like to spend more leisure time with their children.
Not surprisingly, the figures for teenagers (12-15 year olds) wanting to spend more time with their parents (13 per cent) drop off, though two per cent of 12-15 year olds want to spend less time with their parents.
Dr William Bird, a GP and an expert in environment and health, said: "Children can benefit hugely from walking in the outdoors. High blood pressure, cholesterol and depression can be detected in children as young as 10, due to inactivity. Spending time with family, in the outdoors, can invigorate even the most TV or X-box-obsessed children!"
Families can also download free family friendly trails from www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greatbritishwalk and they can also share their favourite walks online for the chance to win a stay in a National Trust holiday cottage.