A survey of 1,000 U.S. parents conducted on behalf of the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) found that eighty percent of parents said their kids enjoy playing outdoors significantly more than playing indoors. Research from the inaugural Voice of Play Parent Survey finds that kids, on average, are playing four days per week. The survey also uncovered generational differences among parents in play attitudes and behaviors, highlighting an opportunity for increased education on why play is critically important.
In the UK, a petition to the government was recently launched calling for the development of a General Certificate of Secondary Education in natural history. The petition hopes to make nature part of British society again. According to the petition, natural history should not be folded into biology but should stand on its own.
Denver, Colorado is making a shift to natural playgrounds. The city’s Parks and Recreation department is focusing on nature play options in its parks with multiple natural playground projects planned. Natural playgrounds, made of recycled trees and boulders, have become a popular option over traditional playgrounds with slides, monkey bars and swings.
Students in the UK will have more opportunities to learn outside, thanks to the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. The organization has launched a project to offer a range of outdoor learning opportunities to primary and secondary schools in the South Yorkshire area as well as outdoor learning training for teachers. Organizers say the effort will boost children’s education by giving them hands-on experience of the wild world.
Brief but intense doses of physical activity could be part of a ‘prescription’ for children to achieve or maintain cardiac and metabolic health. An international study led by a researcher at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that as little as 10 minutes a day of high-intensity physical activity could help some children reduce their risk of developing heart problems and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.
A study team of 11 researchers at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) found that nature is an under-recognized healer, offering multiple health benefits from allergy reductions to increases in self-esteem and mental wellbeing. The study found that people living close to trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or dependent on anti-depressants. The study team spent a year reviewing more than 200 academic studies for the report, which is the most wide-ranging probe yet into the dynamics of health, nature and wellbeing.
A new study from the University of British Columbia suggests that developing positive experiences in nature at a young age can influence attitudes and behaviors towards nature as adults. The study researchers interviewed 50 university students between the ages of 18 to 25. Of the group, 87 percent of study respondents who played outside as children expressed a continued love of nature as young adults. Of that group, 84 percent said taking care of the environment was a priority.
The New Jersey-based National Winter Activity Center (NWAC), a nonprofit geared toward raising the next generation of skiers and boarders, hopes to help urban youth learn the sport. Now in its third season, NWAC has grown from 800 kids in 2016 to 1,100 in 2017 and is now a laboratory for youth sports and wellness