Throughout the month of July, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) will celebrate Park and Recreation Month to highlight the vital and powerful role local parks and recreation play in conservation, health and wellness, and social equity efforts in communities all across the country. Since 1985, America has celebrated Park and Recreation Month to raise awareness of the vital impact that parks and recreation have on communities across the U.S.
After more than a decade of planning, Newark, NJ has opened its newest downtown park, Mulberry Commons. The $10-million project turns three acres of former parking lots into an outdoor public space. The park is intended to bring the community together with events, more greenery, and kids’ attractions such as a slide and a splash park.
In New Zealand, a petition has been presented to Parliament asking the Government to change the rules to allow full time bush-based early childhood education programs. The law currently states that early childhood education programs must have a dedicated indoor space for each child, which does not allow for fully outdoor programs.
A car free day is being planned for London in September in which over 12 miles of roads in central London will be closed to cars. More than half of London’s boroughs are organizing events for the day with many planning ‘Play Streets’ which see local roads closed off to through traffic to encourage children to play outside.
A new study that followed more than 200 kids over six years found that many kids gain weight during summer vacation. Factors that led to weight gain include more sedentary time indoors, such as playing videos games, and more access to junk food. The weight gain was especially true for lower-income families.
A new study carried out by researchers at Technological University Dublin recommends that children spend at least two hours every day outdoors in daylight to combat a global increase in short-sightedness. The Ireland Eye Study is the first of its kind to be carried out in Ireland and confirms that short-sightedness, once believed to be a genetic condition, is influenced by a person’s environment.
A new study from the UK finds that people who spent at least 120 minutes a week in nature saw a boost in their mental and physical health, compared to people who didn’t spend any time in nature. The researchers, who surveyed more than 19,000 people in the United Kingdom about the recreational time they spent in nature during the past week, along with their self-reported health and well-being, say the size of the health benefits was similar to what people would get by meeting the guidelines for physical activity.