Not that long ago, outdoor play was a normal part of childhood. It was a natural part of growing up. We pitched our tents under the stars. We splashed around in a river. We explored the mountains. Nature in all its magnificent glory was our playground.
Born and raised in the bush capital, I have very fond memories of exploring the great outdoors. Many an hour was spent searching the foothills of Mt Ainslie, beyond the grandeur of the War Memorial, seeking high adventure on my quest to discover lost fortunes and abandoned treasures. After all, we were kids with vivid imaginations.
Endless summer holidays were filled climbing trees and scrambling over rocks, inevitably experiencing the odd cut here and a broken bone there. We would ride our bikes around the neighbourhood, playing cricket in the street, entertaining ourselves as we swung from the clothesline. It was pure fun.
These influences shaped my childhood experiences, values which carried through the journey that is life. Upon reflection, these natural experiences planted the seed of an idea. Nurtured with time, matured with insights, these early experiences led to a rewarding career. Nature play can foster a sense of environmental stewardship.
These days, children are spending less time outdoors exploring, investigating and immersed in the wonders of nature. With the advent of screen-based technology, I've sensed a generational shift towards a more sedentary lifestyle.
Nature Play CBR is a brilliant initiative, fostering a sense of environmental connectedness. At its heart, the program is about less screen time and more green time. The philosophy embedded within Nature Play recognises our instincts: that we are not separate from nature, but part of it. This is not an innovative concept, but a rediscovering of what our forbearers understood. Our community, our children, our environment are all intrinsically linked.
Participation in nature play can enhance a child's mindfulness, flexibility, creativity, self-esteem, and resilience. Research clearly supports immersion in nature as being essential to the health and wellbeing of children. Nature can nurture the mind, body and soul.
Recently, a financial assistance program designed to take nature play to new levels was released. By offering programs, events and active spaces which simply promote energetic recreation, our local organisations, community groups, childcare providers and others can all make a tangible difference.
To play an active part in connecting our community to new outdoor opportunities, prompting the message that outdoor physical activity can occur anytime and anywhere, check out http://bit.ly/NaturePlayGrants
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.