International News Round Up

Can Green Spaces Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

A University of Wollongong (UOW) researcher will examine whether urban green spaces play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Astell-Burt will collaborate with city and green space planners, clinicians and other leading international researchers to look at the possible benefits of nature for Alzheimer’s disease. Astell-Burt says that, while knowledge of the general health benefits of green spaces is growing, there has been little epidemiological investigation into green spaces in relation to Alzheimer’s disease.

The Natural World as a Resource for Learning and Development: From Schoolyards to Wilderness

The NSF-funded Science of Nature-Based Learning Collaborative Research Network will publish a special issue of the open-access journal “Frontiers” on the field of learning and nature. The journal will be curated by Network members, titled “The Natural World as a Resource for Learning and Development: From Schoolyards to Wilderness.” Researchers are invited to submit papers to the journal.

Irish Children – and Now Parents – Are Afraid of the Unsanitized Outdoors

Ireland’s National Heritage Week in August will feature “Wild Child Day” on Wednesday, August 23rd, to celebrate the importance of experiencing freedom in nature for children. The event is an effort to change attitudes and make families feel more at ease in the outdoors. A 2015 study “Children Outdoors” confirmed that a disconnection from nature is seen in both children and young parents across the island.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

“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

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.


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