Kids need nature – we may have heard it all before, but why is it important?
There is a growing amount of international research around the impacts of nature play on children. Outcomes include:
- improved gross and fine motor skills
- improved social skills
- increased environmental awareness and connection
- improved physical well-being
- improved mental well-being
- greater engagement of imagination and creative learning
- greater understanding of how to take measured risks and gaining the benefits
- greater use of critical thinking and problem solving skills
But we have a problem…
Australia has one of the lowest rates of children engaging in outdoor play despite the fact that is well known to significantly increase well-being, improve symptoms of many learning disabilities, and hasten the development of language, comprehension, and innumerable other life skills. Outdoor time is so lacking here that Australian children actually spend less time outdoors than the prison population – Nature Play WA.
A crowded school curriculum contributes to the lack of outside play at school. At home parents are often ‘time poor’, don’t have access to green space nearby, or themselves uncertain or afraid of nature.
If parents and teachers don’t introduce a love of nature to kids, who will?
We’re here to help – OOSH to the rescue!
Centennial Parklands has teamed up with the OOSH (Outside School Hours Care) sector to support and deliver nature play opportunities for kids.
Our trial program, dubbed OOSH in the Bush, saw kids climbing trees, catching bugs, building shelters, and interacting with Australian flora and fauna. Kids were encouraged to run, roam, and engage with nature in their own way and at their own pace.
Since our trial program, many OOSH Educators have taken steps to introduce nature play activities into their regular programming.
Free resources parents and educators…
We have launched a new nature play website to provide information and resources for parents and educators.
And we have a great video (you can watch that below!), but if you want to talk to us about organising a OOSH group trip, school excursion or want to find out what opportunities exist to get your kids outdoors in nature, give us a call on (02) 9339 6699 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.