Climbing a tree. Catching a tadpole. Making a mudpie. These childhood memories are fast fading in a world infiltrated by mind-goggling computer games and addictive television programs.
But Western Australia is leading a new charge to get kids barefoot, wet and dirty, all in the aim of making them smarter, wiser and more able to handle the challenges of the modern world.
More than 40,000 "passports" are being distributed to West Australian primary school students with a list of the 15 things they must do before they turn 12.
It includes activities such as playing in a creek and sleeping under the stars which may get their parents taking a happy trip down memory lane.
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But Griffin Longley, chief executive officer of Nature Play WA, which created the passports in conjunction with the Department of Sport and Recreation, said over-protective parents and the alluring world of technology meant the majority of WA kids were missing out on the essential benefits of getting close to nature.
That had contributed to 14 per cent of WA children developing a mental health disorder and 24 per cent being overweight or obese, he said.
"The average Australian primary school kid spends less than two hours outside, that includes weekends and school holidays," Mr Longley said.
"Our childhood used to be an outdoor, imaginative, free ranging experience. [Today…
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