• Kids playing in Centennial Park For the kids

    Kids and parks – why so important?


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.

The facts about childhood obesity in Australia point to a number of issues that we need to address, most notably about the importance of physical activity for kids.

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.


The learning power of nature is not just a cliche

The learning power of nature is not just a cliche


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

Winter is as important a time as ever to get outdoors. Here is some more reading and a few ideas of what you can do in Centennial Parklands.

Alternately, visit our What’s On online guide or subscribe to our great eNewsletters to get the latest news and info on events and activities in the Parklands.

Centennial Parklands – your place to play.


Wild Play Garden - Centennial Park


Similar Articles

  • Sydney’s best playgrounds for kids of all ages

    Playgrounds allow kids to have fun, relax and explore their mental and physical abilities in a safe place. Sydney is one of the most kid-friendly cities in Australia with so many great play areas to enjoy over summer on a family day out. Not all playgrounds are alike, some focus on water play, nature play […]

  • Summer school holiday programs for Sydney kids

    Summer is finally here and keeping the kids entertained for six whole weeks during school holidays can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are tons activities for all interests and age groups around Sydney. Here are a few of our favourite fun and educational ways kids can spend summer. #1 Summer science programs in Centennial […]

  • Sydney’s kids go wild for WILD PLAY!

    The Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden in Centennial Park is proving a hit with the kids of Sydney. Over the past week, children and their families from right across Sydney made their way to the Garden, which is designed to be an outdoor learning experience for kids of all abilities and backgrounds. It is made […]

  • Cubbies and nature quests – all the highlights from Outdoor Classroom Day

    A mass of grinning little faces descended upon Centennial Park last Thursday for international Outdoor Classroom Day. The special day had hundreds of school-aged children learning ways to reconnect with nature while playing outside and Centennial Parklands’ experienced ‘nature play’ educators were on the ground to lead the way! There were sensory games, trails to follow […]