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New movement aims to get children playing outside
A new movement is trying to get children away from TVs, computers and smartphones and back outside to play and connect with nature.
With fewer Aussie kids playing outside (research suggests that only 1 in ten Australian youngsters play outdoors more than once a week), children are missing out on the significant physical, mental, emotional and social benefits that come from playing outside.
Aiming to reverse this trend, the Kids in Nature Network launched Nature Play Week last year, and will be running a the initiative again between Saturday 11th and Sunday 19th April.
Kids in Nature Network co-founder Cecile van der Burgh says that Nature Play Week gives children unique opportunities to really experience nature and the outdoors.
van der Burgh explains “research shows that playing outside can reduce anxiety, improve mood and concentration in children and can make them happier.
“Kids do better when they get a chance to play outside.
“This is why, together with over 40 organisations, we started Nature Play Week ... we want to encourage kids to get outside to play, and to show kids and their parents just how much fun it is when you do.
“Nature Play Week is a great chance for kids and their parents to spend time outside and get involved in all kinds of events and activities that focus on getting kids reconnected with nature.
“Parents will also discover that getting their kids outside to play doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, and the benefits kids get from playing outside are enormous.”
With so many communities and organisations getting involved in Nature Play Week, the movement also aims to foster local networks that can give kids and families ongoing opportunities to connect with each other and continue to benefit from the natural environment.
Popular children’s author Alison Lester is both a supporter of Nature Play Week and an advocate for getting children reconnected with nature.
Lester explains “kids love being outside.
“They love feeling the wind in their hair, the sun on their backs.
“They love seeing and hearing and all the wonderful sights and sounds that are going on every day.
“It’s very important for children to connect with the real world and to get away from their interior environment of artificial light, plastic and television.”
Nature Play Week will feature over 65 events at various locations, primarily in Victoria. It is part of the Victorian Premier’s Active April initiative.
For more information go to www.natureplayweek.org.au
Lower image courtesy of Tania Molony.
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5th May 2014 - NATURE PLAY PASSPORTS TO ENCOURAGE ACTIVITY FOR CHILDREN
19th April 2014 - HAPPY, HEALTHY CHILDREN DEVELOP ON THE PLAYING FIELD
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