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Outdoor play essential to healthy childhood development

Outdoor play essential to healthy childhood development
October 14, 2016

Playing outdoors with natural found objects is essential for healthy development, according to Nature Play Queensland.

Aware of parental concerns over child security that often see children staying indoors, the non-profit organon is encouraging children to get back to nature.

Nature Play Queensland Program Manager Hyano Moser told the ABC this week “more children are hospitalised each year from flat screen TVs falling on them than falling out of trees.

"Your child is 1,600 times more likely to die in a car than be taken by a stranger - but we drive our kids around every day.

“Outdoor play is fundamental to a healthy childhood, with benefits across physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.

"It's an explosion of sensory experiences - it's amazing for kids' brains."

Moser fears that increasing urbanisation of communities, where people are less likely to know and engage with their neighbours, made parents reluctant to let their children play unsupervised.

He explained “if you ask an adult what was the best part of their childhood, research found three commonalities - all were outdoors, they were with their friends, and there were no parents.

"When they own it, and it's not controlled or structured by adults, there's a level of engagement and deep interest."

Moser said social and technological changes had fundamentally changed childhood in the last 30 years, adding “we've gone from an experience most adults remember of their own childhoods that was largely outdoors, active, social, community-oriented, and all senses engaged.

"Now it's largely indoors, sedentary, technologically immersed, risk averse, and that's having a really severe impact on our kids' overall health and wellbeing."

Advances in technology have changed all aspects of modern life, and Moser sees that outdoor play now faced stiff competition from digital screens.

Moser added “if you give a child a choice between broccoli and ice cream, they'll probably choose the ice cream.”

He fears that outdoor play has become broccoli, where it used to be ice cream, concluding “it's going to require parents to set some limits around screen use and indoor time, and prioritise outdoor playtime.

"If we don't have a group of kids who experience nature, the likelihood of them fighting for it and caring for it in the future is going to be low as well."

For more information go to www.natureplayqld.org.au

30th December 2015 - PASSPORT TO AN AMAZING CHILDHOOD PROGRAM ENCOURAGES OUTDOOR PLAY

28th December 2015 - PARENTS CONCERNED OVER CHILDREN’S EXCESSIVE SCREEN TIME

15th November 2015 - RISKY OUTDOOR PLAY POSITIVELY IMPACTS CHILDREN’S HEALTH

25th July 2015 - WITHOUT EXPOSURE TO NATURE, AUSTRALIA IS NURTURING UNHAPPY FUTURE GENERATIONS

9th April 2015 - NEW MOVEMENT AIMS TO GET CHILDREN PLAYING OUTSIDE


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