LEARN | CONNECT | ACT
Updated: 18 min 46 sec ago
The National Recreation and Park Association, Trust for Public Land and mayors from 134 cities launched the 10-Minute Walk to a Park Campaign with the support of 134 mayors from cities across America and from both sides of the political aisle. These mayors signed on during the past year, endorsing the goal of providing every neighborhood with a quality park that improves life for city residents, serves as a safe place for people to gather and adds to the beauty of the city.
A research trial at seven schools in Glasgow, Scotland found that students who were encouraged to create their own games during outdoor free play time were more physically active when compared to time spent in a tradition PE class. The intervention, now a 10-week program, is being rolled out across 118 schools in Glasgow.
According to a report released by the Australian Sporting Commission (ASC), half of the kids in year six in Australian schools haven’t mastered fundamental movement skills, such as throwing, kicking or leaping. The report also demonstrates that four out of five children do not meet the recommendation of one hour of physical activity per day, and many are exceeding sedentary behavior recommendations due too much time on screens.
More than half of parents surveyed in India believe their child has fewer opportunities to play outdoors than they did as a child. The finding was part of a survey of 12,000 parents in 10 countries which found that over half of children globally play outside for one hour or less each day. In response to the decline in the time that children spend outdoors in India, a Delhi-based NGO is calling on teachers across India to take part in the global Outdoor Classroom Day campaign on October 12th.
The city of Abilene, Texas has plans for a new nature play and educational area for all age groups. The nature play area plans include a canopy walk that allows children to experience treetop ecosystems, sand pits where replica dinosaur bones may be discovered, bouldering hillsides, prairie and wildflower restoration, organic walls, and a bird blind for viewing wildlife habitats. A key component of the project will be the training of over 100 early childhood caregivers and educators using the nationally-recognized, Growing Up WILD early childhood education program that encourages connections to nature as well as hands-on learning to improve school readiness.
A clinical psychologist and tech wellness expert warns that kids today are exchanging outdoor time for gaming time, the result of which may cause structural changes in their brains as well as behavioral changes. Dr. Lisa Strohman says that science shows a direct correlation between the amount of time kids spend online with changes in their developing brains. She encourages families to adopt healthy guidelines for tech.
According to a recent survey, the vast majority of Canadians (95 per cent) agree that access to community green space will be important to their quality of life in the future, but three-quarters feel that their local green space could be better. These are two of the key findings of TD Bank Group's GreenSights Report, part of the TD Common Ground Project, an initiative focused on revitalizing over 150 community green spaces across Canada in recognition of the country's 150th year. To gather insights, TD commissioned a national poll, surveying 1500 Canadians, and hosted the TD Common Ground Think Tank, a roundtable bringing together a select group of green space experts to share their perspectives and discuss what is needed to create heathy, vibrant and inclusive spaces for future generations of Canadians.
Psychologists at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia found that users, particularly children, who plug themselves into social media showed an inability to read facial emotions and had poor friendships as a result. The study compared 200 people who grew up without Facebook to those who have had social media as a part of their lives while growing up.
A nature play program at the Denver Zoo has earned the Significant Achievement Award in Education from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The “Nurturing Scientists through Nature Play” program brings science learning to life for three target audiences — underserved preschool children, ages 3 to 5, their caregivers and their teachers. While at the Zoo’s 70-acre “classroom,” kids are able to use their exploration and discovery skills in largely unstructured play, using objects found in nature such as sticks, rocks and grass.
A new survey in the U.K. suggests the teenagers today are far more sedentary than their parents were at the same age. The study found that the number of young teenagers who play outside has dropped dramatically over the years. The research is part of a wider study into the “challenges and opportunities” faced by children in a world of rapidly evolving technology.
The National Park Service will offer free admission to parks across the country Saturday, Sept. 30, as part of National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day, held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Volunteers are encouraged to spend the day outdoors giving back to their communities by pulling invasive plants, maintaining trails or picking up trash.
The Colorado town of Westminster is building a $3.7 million-playground for its community with the hope of bringing children back to nature by bringing nature to them. The nature playground, which is expected to open next summer, will feature a sand area, a water area and a series of tree houses connected by bridges, covering nearly a third of the park. The play area will be constructed almost entirely with natural materials.
Research to be presented at the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition finds that green schoolyards bring families and communities together in a healthy environment. C&NN Board Member, Dr. Stephen Pont, will present the abstract. For this study, researchers summarized the peer-reviewed scientific literature documenting green schoolyard benefits to academic outcomes, beneficial play, physical activity, and mental health.
Take a Child Outside Week will kick off on September 24th. The annual event, founded by Liz Baird of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, is marked in all 50 states and four other countries. The week’s events are designed to help kids get out and explore the natural world. Many events are offered by state and local park systems.
Living near a park or other green space benefits city kids with severe asthma, especially older kids who are more likely to play outside on their own, according to a new study. The study included 196 children in the city of Baltimore, ages of 3 to 12 years, who had either visited emergency departments at least twice or had asthma-related hospitalizations during the past year.
Over 4,000 children in South Africa are registered to take part in the global Outdoor Classroom Day campaign on October 12th. With the help of teachers across the country, the campaigners hope to dramatically grow that number. The campaign is a response to the decline in the time that children spend outdoors.
Researchers at Seattle’s University of Washington (UW) led by former C&NN board member Howard Frumkin, will take on the question “how do you measure a ‘dose’ of nature?” with a focus on lifestyle and environmental planning. The team pinpointed possible links between contact with nature and obesity, heart disease, cancer and depression and/or anxiety.
September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in the U.S., a national event to raise awareness of the problem which affects one in six children in this country. Experts say a rise in idle activities, such as watching television and streaming services and playing video games, has the impact of increasing obesity. They advise that kids need at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside at least three times a week as well as vigorous physical activity.
A new declaration from the International School Grounds Alliance (ISGA) states that, while promoting risk-taking on school grounds may raise questions of liability for schools and concerns for parents, it is essential for the development of healthy young people. The declaration, which was made available in 13 different languages, cites research from around the world demonstrating the benefits of risk-taking and showing that an indiscriminate risk-minimization policy can be a source of harm.
While the academic benefits of school gardens for students have become more widely accepted in recent years, the social and emotional benefits are often overlooked. Numerous studies of school gardens show improvements in students’ feelings of well-being and therefore, ability to learn.