Nature play is not just outdoor play. It’s child-directed play that happens in a natural space, such as a park or garden. Whilst going to a playground can be fun, it doesn’t put them into contact with nature and offers a different set of benefits. Nature play is children playing with nature and has a whole host of benefits to your child’s health.

We are celebrating these benefits with Nature Play Week. From 11 – 22 April 2018 we will be hosting a variety of events at the Centennial Parklands, which are all about reconnecting kids with the natural world.

But what are the benefits of nature play? Well here are 5 reasons why you should get your kids outside for Nature Play Week over the summer holidays.

#1 Increased immune system

Kids who play outside are sick less often. By playing regularly in an outdoor setting, children are exposed to mud, water, sand, which can help to stimulate their immune systems. Friendly soil bacteria (Mycobacterium vaccae) is shown to do this, as well as causing the brain to release serotonin: the happy hormone.

Nature play decreases a child’s chance of getting the common cold, increases healthy gut bacteria and reduces allergies & asthma symptoms. Greater exposure to vitamin D from the sun is also shown to increase immune systems. Happy, healthier children then develop into happy, healthier adults.

#2 Decreases obesity

This one’s simple. By running around and playing outside, kids have a lower chance of being overweight because they’re more physically active. Fitness at a young age is vitally important for health and fitness in later life!

#3 Makes kids smart

When children are engaged in varied and dynamic outdoor play they encounter the chance to solve problems, make decisions and think creatively! This is much harder in an indoor environment where children can be limited to one task at a time. It’s unsurprising then that nature play decreases the chance of ADHD in children and leads to them doing better in school!

#4 Makes them happy!

We already know that nature play releases serotonin in the brain, but it also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. As you can imagine, large, green spaces can be very therapeutic. This in turn will reduce aggression and sleep problems.

Time spent in nature can also strengthen social bonds between children. The social aspect of nature play events gives kids the opportunity to practice sharing, problem solving and working together. Such as in our WILD PLAY Super Shelter workshops – kids take up the challenge to work together and build the ultimate shelter.

#5 You can participate in lots of events! Join us for nature play week

All evidence suggests that kids do better outside; physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Nature Play week is the perfect time to start healthy habits and get your kids playing outside like the good old days. Come join our expert education team during the school holidays and get your children reacquainted with the outdoors.

Don’t believe us? Just read this mum’s testimonial!

My seven-year-old loves nature, but has always wanted a playmate to go outside with. Since attending Bush School, he spends hours outside digging, climbing, hunting for critters and playing imaginative games in our backyard. He’s passionate about so many things the Rangers have taught him, and has developed a confidence and resilience I trace directly back to the bush school. The Rangers take a deep interest in each child, encouraging them in their strengths and allowing plenty of freedom for individuality.

 

The mix of free play and structure in the workshops means kids are switched on as they learn about what they’re interested in. Now, my son loves to share all he has learnt with others and I hear the Rangers’ voices in his passion.

~ From Di, one very happy Bush School mum (2017)

Get involved!

Check out or variety of WILD PLAY events that we’re running over Nature Play Week and the summer holidays:

  • WILD PLAY Bush Rangers: Super Shelters – 18 April 2018, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
    • Ideal for 5 – 12 years
    • Perfect for parents who want to drop their kids off to enjoy and engage in nature for a whole day
  • WILD PLAY Taste of Bush School – 19 April 2018, 9.30 am – 11.30 am
    • Ideal for 2.5 – 5 years
    • Perfect for parents who want to engage their kids from a young age with the trills of being outside
  • WILD PLAY Kids vs Wild: Super Shelters – 19 April 2018, 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm
    • Ideal for 5 – 12 years
    • The ultimate challenge for ambitious kids who loved to play around in the mud. Build your own shelter, and see if it stands the water test!
  • Bush School – 30 April 2018, 9.30 am – 11.30 pm
    • Ideal for 2.5 – 5 years
    • Part of a wider program aimed at inspiring love for the natural world through games, bushcraft activities, stories and more.

 

We run a whole host of events, come rain or shine, that are aimed at getting your kids fit, active and reconnected with the world around them. Check out the What’s On page on our website to find out more.

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