Nature Play SA is off and running!

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014





nautre-play

Part of Ecocreative’s mission is to encourage activity that connects the environment to our society and culture, so we are delighted to have been working closely with Nature Play SA, supporting their vision ‘for outdoor play in nature to become an everyday part of childhood again’. In celebrating this relationship, we are pleased to be able to share one of their blog posts.

 


As Australians we traditionally see ourselves – and are known around the world – as lovers of the great outdoors. Yet despite being blessed by a breathtaking natural world on our doorsteps, we are facing the prospect of an entire generation of children growing up indoors, and the unprecedented social, physical and health challenges that come with missing out on the benefits of outdoor play.

Most of us have fond childhood memories of climbing trees, swinging on the Hills Hoist, picking fruit straight from the tree, backyard games of cricket and soccer that spilled out onto the street, vanishing for the whole day with neighbourhood friends on the back of a bike and camping, bushwalking and picnics in our beautiful national parks

Children today are increasingly unable to relate to these experiences and are likely to have a very different set of memories.

“South Australian children are spending less time outside in nature than at any other time in our history, leading to increasing rates of childhood obesity, depression and behavioural disorders and growing disconnect from the natural world.”

In the space of just one generation there has been a dramatic shift in childhood activity from outdoor to indoors, driven by a number of factors including the advent of screen-based technologies and the emergence of a risk-averse culture.

This has far-reaching consequences for our community. In parallel with the shift indoors we are seeing increasing rates of childhood obesity, depression and behavioural disorders.  For example, 25% of Australia’s children are overweight or obese and 14% have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Research across the world supports the view that unstructured play outdoors is fundamental to childhood. Opportunities for outdoor play and immersion in nature are essential to the health and wellbeing of children and help them develop to their full potential.

In addition, there is a clear link between childhood experience of nature and a life-long valuing of the environment, and by extension, the value each individual places on their neighbourhoods, schools and communities.

Nature Play SA

Nature Play SA will work to raise awareness of nature play (unstructured outdoor play in nature, such as riding a bike, climbing a tree, caring for a garden and swimming at the beach), and provide information, resources and programs to help families and educators encourage children to get outdoors and play.

“Our vision is for outdoor play in nature to become an everyday part of childhood again.”

We want to get more children outdoors more often so that they can experience the benefits of playing, learning and being physically active whilst building a lifelong connection to nature”

Nature Play SA will link into, support and build on a range of programs already underway in South Australia and will partner with organisations across government, business and the community to make outdoor play in nature an everyday part of childhood again.

Time to take action

There is a real risk that this generation of children may be the last with a real connection to the environment. It is critical that those of us with precious memories of happy times spent playing outdoors actively re-connect our children with the natural world.

Encouraging our children to get outdoors and play is an investment in our children’s, and in our community’s, future health, well-being, happiness and prosperity.


 

Like to know more?

Ecocreative have been busy assisting this community organisation with strategy, their Facebook site and a load of other stuff you’ll be seeing soon, though if you’re keen to learn more, get across to their online home and join the movement!