Experts urge children to get outdoors as new research uncovers a massive decline in outdoor play across the generations
Most Aussie kids don’t climb trees anymore, according to new research from Planet Ark. Once a symbol of an idyllic childhood, this nature-loving pastime is so significantly on the decline that only 19% of Australian children enjoy a clamber in their local tree.
Our children’s love affair with the great outdoors is waning so rapidly that 10% of kids today play outside just once a week and only 35% of children play outside everyday compared to 72% of kids a generation ago. Experts are urging Australian parents to help get our kids back outdoors to ensure the social, emotional and physical development of current and future generations.
The findings and report released today are part of an independent study commissioned by Planet Ark and sponsored by Toyota, titled Climbing Trees – Getting Aussie Kids Back Outdoors, to raise awareness of National Tree Day on Sunday 31 July, Australia’s biggest tree planting and nature based event.
Professor Anita Bundy, an internationally renowned academic in the area of children’s occupational therapy and assessment from The University of Sydney is leading the charge to address the decrease in children’s play outdoors.
Professor Bundy’s current research in this area focuses on the benefits for children of providing opportunities for unstructured play in schools to increase children’s activity levels and playfulness. She hopes the work will revolutionise school playgrounds, leading to the introduction of more natural play spaces and unstructured equipment that stimulate more creative outdoor play.
For more information and to find your nearest Tree Day site, please visit treeday.planetark.org or call the National Tree Day Hotline on 1300 55 8000.
National Tree Day is organised by Planet Ark in partnership with Toyota and its dealer Network, which provide on-the-ground support at local and community tree-planting sites Australia wide.