Happy It's All Out In The Open - Mother's push to make parks our playgrounds

Picture: Evan Morgan


Published in The Townsville Bulletin (print), 5 September 2018

A Townsville mother is encouraging other parents to choose the outdoors over screen time and technology.

Ngaire Trigg, mother of Rose, 5, and Annalise, 20 months, said a balanced approach to screen time and technology was adopted in her home.

“I’m like any parent who knows that there is a time and a place for screen time, but what my family strives to do is limit that as much as possible,” she said.

“Technology and television shouldn’t be used as a babysitter.

“There is so much more to learn and to do and more fun to be had when children aren’t glued to technology and the television. Imaginative play and nature play rule in our house for most of the time.”

Mrs Trigg said Townsville had some incredible parks that had plenty of shade and play areas for children even in summer.

“Some of my family’s favourite parks are the Palmetum and Anderson Park,” she said.

“Being outdoors is great for children and parents. But what is important is being mindful about how much screen time your children are consuming and make changes is you believe it is too much.”

Ms Trigg is sharing her family’s preference for outdoor and imaginative play as non-for-profit Nature Play QLD host a free workshop for parents today.

The workshop, at Thuringowa Library between 10am and 11.30am today, will pose the question: “How do you think technology and screen time are having an impact on your family.”

Nature Play QLD program manager Hyahno Moser said he looked forward to sharing with Townsville parents the reason playing outdoors in nature was important.

“Parents nowadays grew up in the greatest time to be a child,” he said. “Our parents’ policy was ‘children should be seen not heard’ - but now children ‘are seen and not heard’ for a whole different reason with the increased use of screens.

“I am looking forward to sharing some easy ways for parents to give their kids a complete and balanced childhood through outdoor play.”

Mr Moser said Nature Play QLD, funded by the State Government, was on a mission to increase the time children spent in unstructured play outdoors and in nature.

“It is founded on the understanding that unstructured play outdoors - nature play - is fundamental to a full and healthy childhood,” he said.

“Nature play promotes health benefits including cognitive, social and emotional development, and it builds independence, resilience and creativity. Experiences in nature as a child also lead to environmental awareness.”

Mr Moser said Nature Play QLD’s primary role was to advocate the nature play message and to increase access to nature play resources, events and programs for all children.


ACTIVITY TIPS

  • Have story time outside on a rug
  • Catch some bugs and then release them
  • Search for shells at the beach
  • Invent your own obstacle course using rocks and sticks
  • Sit quietly and watch ants, snails or birds
  • Have a picnic under a big shady tree
  • Play with mud
  • Explore your garden with a magnifying glass
  • Float a leaf in a pond or stream
  • Search for tadpoles in a creek
  • Play with a ball at an oval or on the beach
  • Paddle at the beach or a backyard wading pool

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