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New Report Says Young Children in Wales Aren’t Getting Enough Outdoor Play

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 12:59pm
A survey of parents in Wales revealed that nearly a third of children under five (29 per cent) aren’t getting the time outdoors that they need. The same survey found that almost all parents in Wales (97 per cent) think it is important for their child to play outdoors every day. Based on the findings, the group Public Health Wales recommends that children play outdoors for at least three hours of active play per day.

Smartphone Tracking Shows Fear Affects Where Youth Spend Time

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 12:58pm
A new study using GPS data from kids’ smartphones to track their movements found that youth spend less time in their neighborhoods if area residents have a high fear of crime. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that adolescents aged 11 to 17 spent over an hour less each day on average in their neighborhoods if residents there were very fearful, compared to kids from areas perceived as being safer. Higher fear of crime was linked to high-poverty neighborhoods.

Columbia Unveils Apparel Recycling Program

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 5:47am
To help address the problem of clothing and textile waste (85 percent of clothing and textiles in the United States ends up in landfills), Columbia Sportswear has relaunched the ReThreads program—a special initiative designed to simplify post-consumer recycling. From August 9th through September 10th, 2017, for every pound of clothing brought to a U.S. Columbia branded store and Outlet for recycling, Columbia will donate $1 to one of three charities. The Children & Nature Network is one of the three charities included in the program.

Tinkergarten Raises $5.4M to Get Kids to Go Outside, Play and Learn

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 4:30pm
The company, Tinkergarten, which operates a network of outdoor-based classes for young children, recently raised $5.4 million from outside investors. Tinkergarten offers a play-based, outdoor-learning curriculum designed for children as young as 18 months to 8 years old. Tinkergarten is just the latest in a string of early-childhood startups that have raised venture capital this year.

Working Toward Equity and Inclusion When Connecting Youth to the Outdoors

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 4:22pm
Youth Outside, an organization which supports outdoor and environmental programs and organizations in northern and central California, has just released a case study on cultural relevancy, equity, and inclusion. The case study summarizes lessons learned by both Youth Outside and the program participants, and explores the potential of the model to support others in the field, in addition to a broader application in other sectors.

Aussie Kids Spend Less Than Two Hours a Day Outdoors

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 4:14pm
Australia will celebrate Outdoor Classroom Day on September 7th, a global movement in which millions of educators, kids and parents are expected to participate. With Australian kids spending less than two hours a day outdoors, the effort is designed to demonstrate the benefits of outdoor play and learning.

A Study of Kids’ Screen Time Explains Why Parents Can’t Say No to Screens

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 4:03am
A new study conducted by the U.S. toy company Melissa and Doug and survey company Gallup found that, although parents prefer that their children engage in outdoor play, screen-based play actually dominates their children’s play activities. Researchers surveyed 1,200 families from all 50 U.S.states to learn about activity patterns for the survey results.

Children Happier When They Play Outdoors, Say Researchers

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 4:01am
A new report published by the U.K. organization, Playing Out, finds that children playing outside are healthier and more active than their counterparts who predominantly play inside. According to the report, allowing children to play safely outdoors leads to happier kids and happier, more cohesive communities.

Research Shows Planned Street Closures Help Children Get Active

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 4:00am
A report by the University of Bristol shows that playing outside, aided by planned street closures, helps to increase children's physical activity. The report confirms that temporary street closures help children meet a daily target of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. The insights are based on the highly successful "Street Play" project, in which a network of over 5,000 volunteers hold regular street closures to enable children to play outside.

Go Play Outside: New York Makes It Free for New Campers

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:10am
New York launched a first-time camper program this summer, offering all the gear necessary for a weekend adventure, including a brand-new six-person tent, sleeping bags and pads, camp chairs, lanterns and towels. The goal of the program is to nurture a new generation of campers and boost outdoor recreation.

Group Aims to Make Safe Places for Low-income Kids to Play in L.A.

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:06am
“Let’s Play Everywhere Los Angeles” is a pilot program launching this summer in L.A. with a goal of converting some of the urban spaces that children visit every day into places where they can play. The nonprofit, KaBOOM, will build 10 such projects in the city at sites such as vacant lots, bus stops or laundromats.

In Quebec, a Competition to Design Low-tech, Outdoor Play Areas

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:05am
Six architects and designers won a competition to design low-tech, outdoor play areas at the 18th annual International Garden Festival in Grand-Métis, Quebec. Participants in the competition set off to create inventive “Playsages” to inspire kids and adults to spend more time outdoors.

Urban Biodiversity Affects Children’s Respiratory Health

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:03am
Living near green spaces can reduce the risk of childhood wheeze and bronchitis, according to a recent study published in the European Respiratory Journal. Study investigators at Barcelona Institute for Global Health asked parents of participating children in Spain whether their child had wheezing, asthma, or bronchitis when they were 1 year old and then again when they were 4 years old. Based on these responses, the researchers recorded the effect of living in green or grey urban spaces on incidence of childhood wheezing, asthma, and bronchitis.

Alana’s Children and Nature Program Launches the Family Nature Clubs in Brazil

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 10:13am
The Alana Institute launches Family Nature Clubs (FNC) in Brazil, joining the worldwide natural families movement. Alana's Family Nature Clubs are intended to engage parents and families from across Brazil in frequent and active time together in nature. A central goal of the FNCs is to learn what best applies to Brazil from family clubs in other countries while focusing on creating unique features that encompass Brazil's specific cultural and social characteristics. One hundred participants will take part in training sessions in 2017.

Nature-Based Play Areas Funded in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 10:10am
The American Water Charitable Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association have partnered to support local nature-based play areas in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California. The grants, totaling nearly 500 million dollars, are part of the Foundation’s Building Better Communities signature grant program, administered by the National Recreation and Park Association. Specifically, this initiative concentrates on building or enhancing nature-based playgrounds and play spaces for children, and will connect and educate people on environmental stewardship practices related to water and other natural resources.

Survey: We Should Speak to Children About a Future That Has Thriving, Healthy Nature

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 9:51am
A survey conducted by the non-profit ecoAmerica found that over nine in ten Americans agree, with well over half of them strongly agreeing, that we should talk to children about a future  with thriving, healthy nature . The June 2017 American Climate Perspectives Survey also found that two-thirds of Americans strongly agree that spending time in nature is important for children’s physical and mental health. In addition, a growing majority surveyed believe that we have a moral responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy climate for our children.

Every Kid Outdoors Act: Bipartisan Bill Wants to Get 4th Graders into National Parks for Free

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 11:44am
A bipartisan bill, the Every Kid Outdoors Act, was introduced by members of Congress this week, signaling a commitment to connect our children to the natural world outdoors. If passed, the legislation will provide 4th graders with free entry to all national parks. The bill aims to get kids outdoors and also encourages more public and private partnerships between federal lands, schools and private and nonprofit organizations.

How Cities Are Improving Low-Income Access to Parks

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 11:42am
U.S. cities are increasingly making an effort to distribute urban recreation resources more fairly. To determine if cities are adequately serving their low-income communities, the Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) ParkScore rating ranks cities based on spending, acreage, and household access—whether there is a park within a ten-minute walk for those who make less than 75 percent of a city’s median income. In TPL’s most recent rankings, San Francisco came in at the top-ranked city.

More Evidence That Outdoor Time May Help Prevent Nearsightedness

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 11:40am
Kids who spend more time outdoors and who play sports are less likely to be near-sighted, according to a recent study in a large, diverse group of urban 6-year-olds. The researchers looked at 5,711 children in Rotterdam who have been participating since birth, along with their mothers, in the long-term study.

Risk Deficit Disorder: Independent Play as Important as good Nutrition, Study Finds

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 11:39am
Researchers from the University of Technology in Sydney and Macquarie University have been studying the effects of Risk Deficit Disorder, which they describe as the growing and unhealthy trend of attempting to remove all risk from within our community and the problems that this risk removal indirectly creates. The researchers found that children who were not allowed to engage in risky play were likely to face problems with their weight, mental health, independence, learning, perception and judgment skills.