Australian children are spending less time outdoors today than at any other time in our history. In fact research by Planet Ark revealed that 1 in 10 Australian children play outside only once a week. Internationally it is not much better, in the UK on average children spend twice as much time watching tv than they do playing outside and three quarters of children spend less time outdoors than maximum security prison inmates.
This decrease in time spent outdoors and the increase of sedentary screen-based activities is having a very serious impact on children’s health and wellbeing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that 25% of children in Australia are now classified as overweight and that in recent years there has also been an increase in children experiencing mental health issues.
At the same time there is a growing body of evidence that explains how playing outdoors is hugely beneficial to children's health and wellbeing. And that the kind of wild adventurous play that takes place outdoors provides the perfect context for children to develop their physical skills, build resilience, learn to assess risks, develop their social skills and increase their creativity.
Our Year Outdoors started as a project to help our family switch off our screens and head out into the wild more often. However we hope that by sharing our story we can spark a conversation about why playing in nature is so worthwhile and how busy families like ours can fit more of the outdoors in. x
3. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/4156.0.55.001~June+2013~ Main+Features~Square+eyes+and+couch+potatoes:+Children's+participation+in+physical+activity+and+screen-based+activities?OpenDocument
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