Posts Tagged ‘nature and children’

Occupy Outside

This year, a team of teachers, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist worked together to add a new station at Powell River’s Ages and Stages. Ages and Stages is an annual event designed to educate and enlighten parents of preschoolers about ways to provide optimum all-round development for their preschool child. The team from my school decided we needed to get the word out to parents about the importance of getting their children outdoors and away from TV, Computers, video games etc. In other words: SCREEN to GREEN!

As an elementary school teacher and special education teacher for the past 30 years, I have seen a very worrisome trend in child development in the last ten or so years. Children, are finding it harder to attend in class, to socialize, to play creatively to print and to coordinate their large body movements. As time went on and I talked to more professionals in education, there seemed to be a consensus…children are not getting outside enough, and they are spending too much time watching TV, video games and playing on the computer. ( Just go for a walk on Saturday morning or afternoon in my neighbourhood and it is rare to see children playing outdoors.)

So, to make parents more aware of the importance of outdoor play, we set up a station where children and their parents could explore nature. We called our station “Occupy Outside” and we had fun showing children the large tadpoles in our little “pond”.

We had a planting table where children could plant colourful beans or sunflower seeds and we also gave out little strawberry and lettuce plants.

We even had Little Humbugs around so the children could make little homes for them with ferns and driftwood. All in all it was a very successful day. I know we adults had a good time as did our Grade 9 helpers and by the looks on the young children’s faces, I know that they especially enjoyed our Occupy Outdoors station.

Thanks to Marghanita Hughes for all the support.

Liz Brach
Special Education Teacher
Assumption School
Powell River B.C.

Canadian Living’s Let’s G.O. Canada program

Guest blog post from Canadian Living’s online health editor, Daniela Payne

Almost all of my fondest childhood memories take place outdoors. I remember walks in High Park with my family, canoe trips on Ontario’s breathtaking Lake Temagami, or backyard play for endless hours with my sister.

I have current fond ones too – like when I was biking through the Humber River trail with my dad just the other year and almost fell over my handlebars at the sight of two deer grazing along the river. Can you believe it? Nature is present anywhere you go – even in a big city. I carry this image of beauty with me everywhere I go.

I’m thankful my parents encouraged me to play out of the house, as it’s given me a value for nature and outdoor activity I wouldn’t trade for a million bucks. I can confidently identify poison ivy, paddle a canoe, cook up a mean s’more and maintain a hefty vegetable garden. Can you? I also understand the importance of nature and the environment, making most decisions only after I assess the impact it will have on Mother Nature.

Why I heart nature
Nature is so powerful that it can give anyone a sense of wonder, but we you won’t experience this inside. I read on Let’s Go Outside Revolution’s website that many children spend 90 per cent of their time indoors. It’s no wonder the childhood obesity epidemic is on the rise.

One way to ensure your child doesn’t suffer from this frightening condition is to get them to spend time outside. A local park, your backyard or a community garden can provide endless amounts of entertainment and education for both you and your kids.

We were so excited to hear about the Let’s Go Outside Revolution. It’s a great program to encourage folks to get back to nature and reap its many benefits and learn how to value it in return. We especially like it because it echoes exactly what we’re working on with Canadian Living’s Let’s G.O. Canada program.

What’s Let’s G.O. Canada?
The goal is to build a national movement in Canada to reconnect people with nature and battle nature deficit disorder. We hope to inspire you to spend more time outside and share photos and stories of your favourite outdoor places and activities.

In order to help you get outside we’ve compiled a bunch of articles with exciting ideas on how you and your family can enjoy the great outdoors. We’re also running a fabulous contest where you can share photos or videos of you or your family enjoying the nature Canada has to offer – its parks, lakes, trails, gardens, yards, or whatever! One lucky winner will win a fabulous camping getaway prize pack.

What’s your favourite thing about the outdoors? Show us at http://letsgetoutside.canadianliving.com/