LEARN | CONNECT | ACT
Updated: 30 min 17 sec ago
In Japan, "adventure parks” that encourage children to engage all five senses to experience the outdoors, are popping up all around the country. At one such park, Miyakubo Play Park, which opened in March of last year, children can play with rope, start fires, make old-fashioned toys, or play in a rice paddy-like mud pit.
The environmental organization Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) has started a new campaign called Generation Wild to get youngsters reconnected with nature. The campaign is intended to foster children's healthy development through nature. GOCO Generation Wild's newest project is a "bucket list" called "100 Things To Do Before You're 12", and includes ideas for enriching outdoor activities for kids, such as making mud pies and dancing in the rain.
As it celebrates its 150th anniversary, Canada is offering free admission to all 39 of the country’s national parks (along with national historic sites and national marine conservation areas). Some conservation experts warn it will take care to balance the expected upsurge in tourism with conservation efforts in the parks.
With few trees, plants and green spaces to help with air pollution and cooling, the city of Barcelona has created a Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure Plan. The plan includes creative approaches to increasing green spaces, creating a more functional ecosystem for the city. The green spaces will be networked so birds, bees, and humans can enjoy connected habitat.
In Toronto, risky, free play and safety concerns are at odds on city playgrounds. The city, school board and other agencies have recently installed playground equipment in many playgrounds with gear designed almost exclusively for very young children while more traditional elements such as sandboxes and some swings have been removed in the name of risk management. The proliferation of the “safer" playgrounds has resulted in a wave of effort to bring back unstructured outdoor play.
A study that surveyed over 1400 children in Singapore from ages eight to 12, found that children are getting excessive screen time. The study, conducted by DQ Institute and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), found that nine-year-olds are spending over 24 hours a week, or about three and a half hours daily, on electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Parents say that time is a key barrier to more outdoor play.
In Washington state, classes are taking virtual field trips to study nature. The high-tech distance learning virtually transports students from across the country to remote state parks in Washington. Washington State Parks Foundation has spearheaded the effort, facilitated by Inspired Classroom and the state-of-the-art satellite-based mobile classroom comes from GCI, Alaska's largest telecom. The organizers of the effort hope the mobile classrooms will offer thousands of students the opportunity to visit far-away places they would not experience otherwise.
A new study published in the journal Health Affairs finds that only about 40 percent of children get 25 minutes of high-calorie-burning physical activity three times a week, which could result in $1.1 trillion in direct medical costs over the course of their lifetimes. These children are often sedentary at school, with physical education and recess time shortening, or in some cases disappearing altogether.
Washington State Sen. Kevin Ranker’s bill to allow for outdoor preschools was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee today. The bill creates the opportunity to license full-time outdoor preschools. Based on a Scandinavian model, outdoor preschool educators lead children through exploration and hands-on learning for hours a day, entirely outside. The pilot puts these in-demand programs in Washington on track to offer full-day programs and expands access to families that might not be able to afford outdoor preschool.
To combat recent findings related to excessive screen time and increasing obesity among Irish children, more people in the country are taking steps to ensure children benefit from the great outdoors. Along with a growing outdoor school movement, the country will host several national conferences focused on the benefits of the outdoor for children in the upcoming months including the conference for the recently-formed Irish Forest School Association, where it will discuss ways of involving more young people in outdoor life and giving them an opportunity to take risks.
In Iran, half of the university graduates in environmental studies cannot find jobs, according to official figures from the Department of Environment (DoE). Our of a total of 10,577 graduates last year, 5,191 are looking for work. Experts in this field say opening more nature schools across the country is the best way to address the problem.
Children, families and schools in communities across America will celebrate their local, state and national parks and public lands on Saturday, May 20th in commemoration of the 7th Annual Kids to Parks Day. Kids to Parks Day organizer, National Park Trust, estimates that nearly one million people will attend 1,000 park events across the country in what is fast becoming America’s national day of outdoor play. The Children & Nature Network is a proud sponsor of Kids to Parks Day.
A tool to encourage and assist parents to allow their children more opportunities to enjoy ‘risky’ outdoor play has been developed by the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health together with its Department of Pediatrics. The tool, Outsideplay.ca, walks parents through their options and identify priorities for their children. It aims to help them address common concerns about playing outside and give them both the information and a process to develop an action plan for changing their approach to their children’s outdoor play.
A 50,000 square-foot adventure playground which is supplied with discarded materials and hand tools for play, is set to reopen on New York City’s Governors Island for a second year this summer. Local nonprofit, Play:groundNYC, opened the playground to offer free weekend play and a summer camp to local children. According to the charity, nearly 3,000 children used the playground in 2016,
A key new study offers new insights to help connect children, families, and communities to the natural world. The Nature of Americans study, a national initiative and collaboration led by the late Steve Kellert and DJ Case, provides eight major findings and 22 recommendations. Nearly 12,000 American adults, children, and parents took part in the study.
Cities across the U.S. are transforming parking lots into nature-filled public parks and green spaces. As more people move to cities, the new parks give them access to essential green space, offering a host of benefits including to health, real estate and climate.
A University of British Columbia study finds that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, such as outdoor school programs, may help to develop care for the environment in adults. The study found that 87 per cent of study respondents who played outside as children expressed a continued love of nature as young adults. Of that group, 84 per cent said taking care of the environment was a priority.
The U.K.’s Brandon Primary School received a gold award for its participation in the Opal primary play program, a program aimed at giving children the opportunity to play freely. Educators at Brandon Primary say the focus on outdoor play has made a huge change in the way the children at the school play.
Nevada fifth-graders could get a free pass to state parks, and the parks themselves would get more dollars for maintenance under two new bills up for approval in the Senate. Assembly Bill 385, called the “Kids and Parks” bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Yeager, hopes to give young people an opportunity to become accustomed to parks to enjoy the outdoors and get them outside and more active.The program would be administered by the Division of State Parks.
In Atlanta, the now defunct Georgia Dome will be razed later this year and transformed into a new urban park. Due to open in 2018, the 13-acre park will serve as year-round community green space for arts and culture events, entertainment and community activations. As part of ongoing revitalization efforts, the park aims to serve as a backyard for those living in the surrounding Westside Atlanta neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue.