LEARN | CONNECT | ACT
Updated: 55 min 41 sec ago
A study in Hong Kong finds that a number of existing playgrounds lack inclusive facilities that cater to the needs of disabled children. According to the researchers, many of the playgrounds had a ‘fast-food’ standardized characteristic with a priority of reducing the number of complaints as well as easy maintenance of the playgrounds. Researchers found no disabled children playing or present in nearly all of the play spaces in Hong Kong during their study.
Nature-based preschools are becoming increasingly common in the United States. According to a recent survey by Natural Start Alliance, there are over 250 nature-based preschools across the U.S., the number represents a growth of two-thirds over one year.
TimberNook, the US-founded early childhood movement that encourages free and “transformative” nature-based play for children, expands toAustralia. Early childcare educators have opened a TimberNook space on a “wild” six-acre block in Garden Suburb. TimberNook was founded in the US by pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom.
The 21st Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place around the world from February 16 to 19. Across backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies and beaches, citizen scientists will contribute important bird population data that help scientists see changes over the past twenty-one years. The global event is an excellent nature-based activity for children to participate in.
Post Hurricane Harvey, Houston city leaders are making green space one of the most important and quickest fixes to the city’s flooding issues. In the most recent project, a multimillion-dollar makeover transformed one area into a public green space with over 300 trees that should soak up hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year.
The City of Changsha in Central China is redesigning their city so it is a safe and sustainable environment for children, making it the first city in China to include child friendly initiatives in their city planning. Changsha’s Child Friendly City initiative includes projects such as safer walking spaces and enhanced public spaces around schools, aiming to establish a better environment for children’s studying, living and playing.
In a bid to keep workers happy and productive, more companies are turning to nature. Biophilia, or the idea that humans have an innate connection to nature is the latest trend in corporate office design with many supporters claiming that we feel more at ease in nature than in a sterile office.
A new study published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics says children in Britain spend just 16 minutes a day playing or exploring in parks and other open spaces. The study focused on the average amount of time spent outdoors in parks, the countryside, the coast or seaside, and included excursions on weekends as well as weekdays. The researchers also noted that outdoor time dropped to ten minutes per day among children in their mid-teens.
A British study finds that children considered unfit 20 years ago would be among the fittest children today. The report, which is featured on a BBC television program about childhood fitness initiative "Super Movers," states that the least fit child in a class of 30 in 1998 would be among the five fittest in 2018. Researchers say the shift from active play outdoors to indoor screen-based activities has meant that today’s children are the first generation since the Second World War to be less fit than their parents.
More than 100 pediatricians, child charities and parent groups signed an open letter in collaboration with Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), in which they warned that Facebook's Messenger app for kids could be detrimental to a child's development. Citing research that suggests a link between social media use and higher rates of depression among teens, the experts state that it would be irresponsible for Facebook to expose preschool-aged children to a similar service. They also express concerns that increased screen time would interfere with crucial developmental skills for young children such as reading human emotion, delaying gratification and engaging with the physical world.
Britain’s Prince William has praised Sweden’s embrace of the great outdoors, in particular the physical and mental benefits of outdoor exercise for children. Speaking Wednesday at the end of a two-day visit to Sweden, William said that “one lesson that we will take home with us, is that children are actively encouraged to spend time outdoors, whatever the weather.”
In Utah, Senate Bill 65 has passed a Utah Senate committee. Sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, the bill modifies child neglect law in Utah to allow for so-called "free range kids,” making it no longer a crime for parents to let their children walk home alone from school or play outside alone.
As part of the announcement about the Canada Service Corps by Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau last week, the Canadian Conservation Corps will support young Canadians as they learn from conservation and education specialists, implement their own environmental action projects and get involved in their community through service opportunities. The program will recruit 90 participants, half from areas where young adult conservation programming is currently available and half from underserved parts of the nation.
With obesity, heart disease and diabetes growing among children in Bangladesh, a group has come together to promote “active lifestyle” among children in the country. The Active Healthy Kids Bangladesh, an affiliate of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance, will try to influence government policies and strategies to promote physical activity among children involving all relevant stakeholders. Among the concerns of the group is a decline in outdoor play time for Bangladeshi children.
New research published in the journal Bioscience finds that people were more likely to report higher states of well-being when they were outdoors, seeing trees, hearing birds singing, seeing the sky, and feeling in contact with nature. The researchers used data collected by a smartphone app they created called Urban Mind.
A $30 million gift from T. Denny Sanford will help fund a $69 million project to reimagine the San Diego Zoo children's zoo. The project aims to offer visitors more opportunities to discover the natural world through play and better understand and empathize with wildlife. The zoo received in support of the project. Scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2021, the new 2.3-acre Sanford Children's Zoo will include a treehouse, a waterfall and shallow stream that children can play in, and an artificial "walk-in" beehive from which they can observe a beekeeper tending a real hive.
A new study published in the journal "Frontiers in Psychology" finds that third-graders who spend a class session in a natural outdoor setting are more engaged and less distracted in their regular classroom afterward than when they remain indoors. The study carefully matched lessons presented indoors and outdoors and controlled for teacher expectations, teaching style, time of day, week of semester and other factors that might have contributed to the differences observed.
What was once the world's largest landfill will soon be transformed into the largest park developed in the New York City in over 100 years. Hundreds of acres of Staten Island's Freshkills Park, a former dumping ground for New York City's garbage, will become an enormous, activity-filled public space. Freshkills Park won't be fully open until 2036, but plans include playgrounds, art installations, trails, fields and kayaking.
A new research study conducted by Danish researchers will investigate how technology and social media impact children’s and young people’s experiences of the natural world. The study is part of a five-year project “Natural Technology” which runs from 2018 to 2022.Through anthropological and cognitive studies, the researchers will document how children implement technology in their outdoor activities. The researchers will also examine how often and how long children are outside, their activities, experiences in nature, motivation, and preferences, as well as identify how technology can be used to encourage more children to get outside and enjoy nature.
A recent study published in the journal “The Lancelet” suggests that a walk in nature is more beneficial to human health than a walk on a busy city street. For the study, a team of researchers in England found that participants who walked in a city park showed increased beneficial effects regarding the function of their arteries from walking. Those who strolled down the busy street, though, had weakened effects. The study’s authors point to the harmful effects of air pollution — including high amounts of air particulates — caused mainly by constant vehicular activity.