Get the Future to Choose Nature Over Screens
E.O Wilson’s theory is probably receiving the side eye from parents today as children are expressing clearly that they’d rather sit in front of a screen. In fact, speak to a preschooler long enough and ask them where they’d like to play and you’ll hear them say “indoors because that’s where all the plug points are.” Parents today also have increasing fears about their children contracting diseases and the dangers that come along with playing outdoors – despite evidence that supports the contrary.
As our exurban and suburban developments continue to expand, more of nature is parcelled off and sold to pieces, and it would be safe to call it a rare sight if a child spends his time in a fenced-in yard, climb over to a neighbour’s porch or see them walking around the parks. Indoor activities are somehow considered easier, safer and more sociable for children who are growing up with social media accounts and multiplayer gaming.
Tearing your children away from their screens and into the backyard may be a task but there are a slew of benefits that the outdoors can provide for children. Aside from the obvious like getting their physical bodies moving, here are just three reasons that may make you want to give it a try:
Outdoor play are less structured than indoor activities. In an outdoor environment, whether it’s in your backyard, on a hiking trail or the park, there are many ways in which children can choose how he treats nature. With this, children will learn the power of controlling their own actions.
The less structured style of outdoor play helps promote creativity and imagination. It teaches children how to interact meaningfully with their surroundings. This helps them think more freely, design their own activities, and learn how to approach the world in innovative ways.
We all know that if we mistreat or neglect living things, they die. Entrusting a child to take care of the living parts of their environment means they will learn what happens when they forget to water a plant, or pull a flower out by its roots.
Activating the Senses
While it may seem less stimulating than interactive video games, in reality, the outdoors really activates all the senses. If you notice, children who spend more time in front of the screens become less aware of their surroundings – their senses narrow down with time and this reduces the richness of the human experience.
“When we first started the programme, we set a target to reach 1000 participants. But by the end of 2019, our database of children have gone up to 1500.”
The urgency of children’s lack of outdoor play isn’t lost in many organisations. With programmes like Gamuda Park Rangers by Gamuda Land, children ages 4 to 12 are invited to weekly and monthly interactive nature related activities that help enhance their skills and knowledge like upcycling plastic bottles, DIY creative plant pots and terrarium workshops. Apart from that, children are encouraged to partake in mini marathons where they venture into forest reserves like Taman Tugu where they’ll learn about insects, plants and all things nature.
Gamuda Parks Rangers activities are held at Gamuda Land developments where children ages 4 to 12 will get the opportunity to experience biodiversity in their backyard. The programme is open to public too. Looking to sign your child up for the programme? Sign up here.