Getting children back to nature to learn and play!
By Sandrine Gaymard, General Manager TreeTops, April, 2018
As a business owner and mum of four, I am encouraging parents and care givers to ‘step up’ to allow your children to experience physical and mental challenges in order to develop into strong and healthy people.
Recent statistics show that about 30 per cent of Australian children don’t participate in sport, with a quarter of Australian children and teenagers being classified as overweight or obese.
Not only that, but only one third of children play outside everyday compared to double that number a generation ago – while one in five Australian children clamber up trees now compared to two-thirds of youngsters a generation ago. Australia's Physical Activity Recommendations for Children suggest that children aged 5-18 years need a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
I am always astounded to see there are almost no kids playing, even in their own backyards. One or two kids might be jumping on a trampoline, but the rest are all inside playing computer games or watching TV.
It’s time for kids to get out and about to combat their sedentary lifestyles.
There are four really good reasons to get them out of the house and away from computers and games - they need the sunshine, they need to get their body moving, learn their physical and mental limits and by knowing our natural environment better, they will want to protect it for the future.
The school holidays are a great time to get kids active and into the bush – giving them the opportunity to push their boundaries and let them test their limits.
There are many places where children can enjoy the great outdoors, but parents struggle to find exciting activities to compete with the attraction of the digital world. At TreeTops we offer many thrilling activities that tick all the boxes for healthy exercise and a fun adventure.
Children and parents visiting a TreeTop Adventure Park can push their limits in a very safe environment, while learning a range of new skills. This new skill set includes physical skills such as balance, spatial awareness, strength, climbing, and dexterity. The mental skills developed include problem solving when faced with new challenges and overcoming uncertainty in a situation.
As parents we need to set aside our own fears and allow our children to test their boundaries and challenge themselves.
In today’s society, we typically raise children in cotton wool. As a mum I know that we want to give our kids the skills to be strong children but we’re scared that they’re going to get hurt along the way. The challenge is to find ways to get them these skills in a safe environment.
In my opinion, it’s good for kids to feel scared occasionally and to learn to deal with fear. It builds resilience and confidence.
As a mother, and having had over 470,000 kids complete courses at our parks, I’ve found that kids learn best when they’re out of their comfort zone. They find the skills within themselves to perform the challenges they are faced with and it allows them to use these skills in other areas of their life.
On this path to self discovery, parents are often amazed to see their children succeed in ways they didn’t think was possible. We’ve known parents who are adamant that their child won’t be able to do the climbs but once on the course they work it out really quickly.
At the end of the day, parents are proud of their children putting in the effort and children can walk away with confidence knowing that they have learned something new and had a great time in the process without a screen.