Life Looks Brighter Outside
The Life Looks Brighter Outside campaign was developed by OPAL in response to the dramatic decrease in children spending time outdoors. South Australian children now spend less time outdoors than at any other time in our history and with one in four children now either overweight or obese, this is something we need to address.
While the increased amount of children’s screen time is one reason for the decrease in outdoor activity, other factors play a role such as an increasingly scheduled non-active after school life, smaller back yards and concerns about child safety.
Life Looks Brighter Outside aims to support families to enjoy time together exploring local parks and playgrounds. The theme also encourages communities to use existing parks and places to attract more people to them, through increasing programs such as ‘Amazing Race’ playground challenges, geocaching challenges, promotion of local park and playground options through local events and education, community ownership and an improvement in infrastructure.
There are lots of things to keep the family busy indoors but getting outdoors is where the real adventure begins. Kids love playing outside and sometimes all they need is the opportunity to get out there.
Kids just want to play
Kids spend 90% of their time indoors but they say they want to spend more time playing outdoors. Being outdoors and connecting with family and friends helps build children’s confidence and independence. It also promotes social skills such as sharing, negotiation and team work.
Kids just see it as fun!
Give your kids an outdoor boost
Playing outdoors in nature is important for children, just like healthy food and sleep.
Kids that have the opportunity to play outdoors are:
- more coordinated.
It is also good for their brains, it helps improve:
- sleep patterns.
Kids need plenty of physical activity every day, at least 60 minutes a day. Running, jumping, riding, climbing and chasing are great ways for kids to be physically active.
Your local parks and playgrounds provide a great free space to be active. The kids will be having so much fun they won’t think of it as exercise.
Allow them to get messy, meet up with other kids, make choices, agree on their own rules and create an adventure to remember.
Playtime for parents too
Remember back to your own childhood when playing outside was part of everyday life. Times have changed and finding time to go to the park may be harder these days, so we are all missing out on the benefits of the great outdoors. That’s the challenge – get out and enjoy the outdoors when you get the chance! Relive the great outdoors with your kids today.
Jump on your bike, throw a Frisbee, or make a mud pie… There are all kinds of things to enjoy when you go outside.
What do you need to get started?
Time! Time is the biggest barrier to getting outside, so how do we get more time?
- Get together with friends or family at the park instead of at your house.
- Share the load; take it in turns with family or friends to take each other’s kids to the park.
- Hold a playgroup at the park instead of indoors and enjoy a healthy picnic while you are there.
- During summer make the most of daylight saving and plan for outings after dinner.
- In winter, pull on the raincoats and rubber boots and splash in puddles or jump through leaves.
- Keep a ball, bat or kite in the car and take every opportunity to explore new parks, playgrounds and walking trails when you are out and about.
Make Saturday and Sunday outdoor fundays!
When it comes to family outdoor playtime, weekdays can be a little tricky – but that’s why we have weekends! When we start to think about Saturday and Sunday as outdoor ‘fundays’ our planning for fun and outdoor activities gets a lot easier.
Need some outdoor inspiration?
Try these out with your kids today:
- roll down a really big hill at the park
- build a fort out of sticks and branches
- fly a kite at your local oval
- hunt for bugs
- take a bike ride along your local bike path
- play chasey or hide and seek in and out of trees in the park
- skim stones in a creek or at the beach
- soar on a swing or slide down a slippery dip at the local playground.
Look out for your local ‘Pocket Guide To Outside’ – a map to great local parks and playgrounds where you and your family can have some great adventures.