There have recently been many reports, media articles and research papers promoted on the importance of parks and nature to children. But why is it important?
A while back we received this message on Facebook:
The problem we have
Here’s a statement that we recently heard that made us sit up and think:
The Average Australian child spends less time outside than a maximum security prisoner.
Griffin Longley, the CEO of Nature Play WA, went on to state that our children spend less than 2 hours a day outside and 87 percent of children spend more time playing indoors than outdoors.
While this is of utmost important, we’ll look at another perspective on the importance of parks and nature to kids that you may never think about. One that is less about the physical, and more about the mental and intellectual.
Parks as teachers
Nature is a great teacher. This is not just a cliche. At Centennial Parklands we are focused on the role of nature and the outdoors in educating children. Every year thousands of children enjoy and experience our formal education programs, our school holiday programs, and our Australian-first Bush School initiative.
Through these programs and activities, children:
- develop the ability to better understand the world around them
- develop a keen sense of curiosity and discovery
- learn to explore, to experience and to (hopefully) develop a sense of engaged interest and wonder about our environment – even in the middle of a built urban area!
Reconnecting children with nature is not only an admirable goal, but a healthy and positive life experience.
OK, but it’s not quite that easy
With all of the gadgets, screens and distractions competing for your child’s attention, it can often be a hard message to communicate. Why kick a ball around in a park, rather than play football on a computer console at home?
Here is a different perspective.
One that might show you how to approach this with kids. This is a video from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a compelling video about how we – as adults – need to talk to kids about the natural world and its challenges in a way which will interest and engage them.
It’s absolutely worth the watch (watch for the twist!).
Don’t leave it there – get outdoors
Centennial Parklands – your place to play.