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News Center Items by Jenette Restivo

Just 5 Minutes in Nature Will Increase Happiness, Study Finds

In a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers found that participants who spent just five minutes sitting in nature experienced an increase in positive emotions. However, study researchers also found that increasing the duration of the time spent in nature did not increase the amount of positive emotions experienced.

Excessive Screen Time Linked to Preschool Learning Delays

One in four Canadian children are starting their school years inadequately prepared for learning according to a newly published study led by the University of Calgary. The study shows that excessive screen time is a key contributor to this growing problem, demonstrating an association between excessive screen time and negative physical, behavioral and cognitive outcomes for the children tested.

8 80 Cities Announces Winning Wintermission Cities

The Toronto-based nonprofit 8 80 Cities has announced Buffalo (NY), Eau Claire (WI), and Leadville (CO) as the winning cities in the Wintermission program. Wintermission aims to combat social isolation and increase levels of physical activity in winter for all residents. All three cities have assembled multidisciplinary teams of city leaders committed to reducing social isolation and improving public life in winter. Each city will undertake a process of community engagement, pilot projects, and the development of a unique winter city strategy.

The Average Eight Year Old Has Spent a Year in Front of a Screen, API Report Shows

A new report by the Association of Play Industries (API) has identified a strong link between recreational screen time and children’s inactivity. The report shows that children are choosing to spend hours indoors and on screens instead of playing outside. The report adds to the growing body of both evidence and professional bodies expressing concern about the amount of time children spend consuming screen based media. API plans to launch a campaign to combat inactivity in children.

What the Global ‘play Gap’ Means for Our Children’s Futures

The Real Play Coalition, a group made up of IKEA, the LEGO Foundation, National Geographic and Unilever, say there is increasing evidence of a “play gap” around the world. The Coalition has released preliminary findings from the world’s first-ever Play Gap Report, a global study to help identify and qualify the play gaps. The findings suggest profound gaps in play by gender and socio-economic factors for children across 70 countries.

Duchess of Cambridge Enters Chelsea Flower Show with Nature-Based Theme Garden

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has entered the Chelsea Flower Show with a “Back to Nature”-themed garden. Middleton is using the show’s platform to advocate for “the outdoors and the proven benefits that nature has on physical and mental health.” One of the Duchess’ inspirations for the garden is Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods.”

Hong Kong Scientist Develops Tool to Measure Kids’ Connectedness to Nature

In an effort to measure how children in Hong Kong, one of the densest urban settings in the world, are faring in relation to nature, researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the University of Auckland surveyed 493 families with children between the ages of 2 and 5. Among the survey findings were that parents who saw their child had a closer connection with nature had less distress, less hyperactivity, fewer behavioral and emotional difficulties, and improved pro-social behavior. Also of note, children who took greater responsibility towards nature had fewer peer difficulties.

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