Queensland children will be switching from screen-time to green-time and reaping the health and fitness benefits under the new Nature Play initiative, delivering on the Government’s election promise to revitalise frontline services.
Minister for Recreation and Sport Steve Dickson said Nature Play provided children with personalised ‘passports’ full of nature-based ‘missions’, to help increase the amount of time spent in unstructured outdoor play.
“Unstructured play outdoors is fundamental to a full and healthy childhood, as well as important brain, self-confidence and social skill development,” Mr Dickson said.
“That’s why the Newman Government is proud to provide funding of $1.5 million over the next three years to help get this initiative off the ground.
“The program includes a passport, a website with more than 200 missions like nature scavenger hunts to complete, home diaries for school-aged children and special events
Australia Zoo’s Rob Irwin helped to launch the initiative and said he was excited to be involved.
“We’re so lucky to live in a country as beautiful as Australia where nature has so much to offer. You can climb a tree, swim in the ocean, ride a scooter through the park, have an adventure with your mates, go for a bush walk to explore all the amazing wildlife, and much more.
“And not only is getting active outdoors fun – it’s a great way to stay fit and healthy. It’s wonderful to get outside and have adventures,” he said.
Mr Dickson said the initiative delivered on the Newman Government’s promise to increase involvement in recreation and sport.
“Queensland is home to some of the most beautiful outdoor locations in Australia and this is a perfect program to encourage kids to get outside and enjoy activities like climbing, running and walking in our natural environment,” he said.
Nature Play Queensland’s program manager Hyahno Moser said the organisation would connect a state-wide network of parents, educators, health care providers and communities, all passionate about creating lasting change to ensure Queensland children had the best possible future.
“The reason our kids have become disconnected from playing in nature may be complex but the solution can be as simple as getting them involved in this program,” Mr Moser said.
Mr Dickson said the Queensland Government was pleased to support initiatives that encourage children to get off the couch and get outdoors.
“The Newman Government is committed to getting more young Queenslanders involved in recreation and sport and we are delivering with programs such as this, as well as our $47.8 million Get in the Game initiative,” he said.
For more information on Nature Play visit www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/