WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE WAY KIDS PLAY
Nature Play QLD recently held our inaugural 'Reviving Neighbourhood Nature Play Community Forums' with special guests, international play experts, David Bond and Tim Gill.
Thank you to those who joined in the discussion about how our community needs to change to protect our children's right to play.
Childhood is evolving, however the greatest shift has been away from an outdoor childhood. We need to have a serious conversation around what we can do to revive neighbourhood play for our children.
How children spend their time before and after school, on weekends and on holidays has had an enormous impact on their wellbeing. The majority of children don’t have an easily accessible community in their neighbourhood as an outdoor play resource. It’s rare to see a neighbourhood full of children outdoors and playing together anymore.
Yet most parents remember a childhood that starkly juxtaposes this modern day childhood experience. We, as a community, need to start talking about how to make these changes.
What can we do to revive neighbourhood play for our children?
Community forums were be held at the following locations:
Cairns Mon, 14 March. 1 free session at 6pm
Gold Coast Wed, 16 March. 2 free sessions at 12 noon and 6pm.
Ipswich Thurs, 17 March. 2 free sessions at 1pm and 6pm.
Brisbane Fri, 18 March. 1 session at 9.30am at $35.40 per (venue hire cost)
More info about each event with 'event info' ticket above.
Attendees must reserve or purchase a ticket. Tickets are strictly limited.
Children need us to build a strong community
Come and have your say. Help us to increase the amount of time children spend playing outdoors, the time they spend reconnecting with nature, building identity within their community and laying strong foundations for our kids to grow into healthy, happy community-minded adults.
“Across the industrialised world, children’s freedom to play and get around their neighbourhoods are in long-term decline. Children are in effect reared in captivity, thanks to traffic growth, academic pressures, the lure of screens and ever-growing adult anxieties. It should be no surprise that childhood obesity and adolescent mental health problems are major public health issues.
This is not just the fault of parents over-protecting their children. The problem is not so much helicopter parents as a helicopter society: a society that has become so anxious and confused that it has lost sight of what a good childhood looks and feels like.
The good news is that, despite these changes in the world around them, children’s appetite for exploration, stimulation and everyday adventure remains as strong as ever. The other good news is that around the world, people are realising just why it is so important for children to play out of doors and in nature.
I know from my previous visits to Australia that the movement to expand children’s horizons and help them reconnect with nature and the outdoors is growing ever more powerful. This is why I am so excited about coming to Queensland and working together with Nature Play QLD and its partners to give children the childhood they need, want and deserve.”
- Tim Gill, Author of ‘No Fear; Growing Up in a Risk Adverse Society’
“Children need to play outdoors as often as possible. That means they need to play in their neighbourhoods - close to home. Child development experts, brain scientists and psychologists all agree. But I don't really need to take their word for it: I know it from first-hand experience as a father.
My children are their happiest, most focussed, most relaxed, they sleep best and they fight each other least when they're spending lots of time playing outdoors. Outdoor play is a miraculous wonder-product. Compare it to any other activity or toy and it wins hands-down. The more kids get, the happier they are.
This does not happen with computers - studies show there is a rapidly decreasing satisfaction. Nature play is mainly free and it never runs out. Toys can cost a fortune and are designed to have a short life. Nature play makes you healthier, whereas we eat more, do less, and are starved of vitamin D when indoors. Basically neighbourhood nature play wipes the floor with the competition. So why are children doing less and less of it? I believe that, for various reasons, not least the increasingly shrill clamour of competing marketing, the benefits and joys of local nature play have been drowned out.
Nature play is mainly free and it never runs out.
So what's the solution? I think we're in a straight-forward battle for our children's hearts and minds with the competition. And if we don't step up pronto and start shouting about our 'product' as loudly as the opposition, we're facing two terrible consequences: future adults who don't care what is around them in the natural world, and who are physically and emotionally weak - and that means much less able to think for themselves. Australia, and particularly Queensland is seen in the UK as the cradle self-sufficient, tough, independent minded Australian kids. But it turns out you're facing just the same pressures are we are in pale, rain-sodden England. That's why Nature Play QLD is such an important organisation. This is a global problem, and the fight is on!”
- David Bond, Globally acclaimed Project Wild Thing film-maker and Director
Nature Play QLD would like to thank the following event partners:
Nature Play QLD's Reviving Neighbourhood Nature Play Community Forum, is proudly sponsored by Barefoot Nature Play
Brisbane's Reviving Neighbourhood Nature Play Community Forum is also sponsored by the Early Childhood Teachers' Association
For more information please contact Nature Play QLD:
Phone: 07 3367 1989