by Kerry Cue
We are the generations, who roamed free. We rode our bikes unsupervised. Explored the neighbourhood. Played in the street. Our grandchildren live indoors. (See The Last Child in the Woods book review) This is cause for great concern. Sibyl Helen Elliott writes about the joys of taking grandchildren into nature. There is another side to this story. Childhood is diminished if children do not experience nature. Now the research confirms our fears.
Results from the Australian State of Play Report, 2012, comprising 8 – 12 year old children, their parents and grandparents published in Primary Focus, the SAPPA (South Australia Primary Principals) Magazine include:
*Indoors: 9 out of 10 kids spend more time playing inside than out.
*A lack of inspiration: 37% of kids run out of ideas for play.
*A lack of time: Afterschool activities limit the time children have to play outdoors.
*A lack of opportunity: 37% of kids report they don’t have anyone to play with outside as almost half the kids they might play with are indoors plugged into technology.
“A growing body of research shows us that outdoor play leads to better physical and mental health, has positive effects on cognitive function and learning, and reduces the incidence of behavioural problems.” Maria Zotti, Nature Play, SA.
Peter Dunstan, Principal Kilkenny PS, SA, writes in Primary Focus that outdoor play fosters “wonderment, independence and freedom” as well as “social skills, imagination, creativity and problem solving”.
So concerned are the South Australian Primary School Principals they have combined with Nature Play, SA (A NFP organisation) to promote outdoor play. Nature Play, SA has produced this poster: 51 Things to Do before you’re 12. Pass it on!!!!!!!