the great outdoors --- how to help your children discover its magic

By Caro Webster

The outdoors is where imagination and discovery collide in the most spectacular fashion. Mother Nature’s secrets are just begging to be discovered and what’s more, she is a brilliant, patient teacher and your child a willing student. Everything about outdoors is pure magic.
Sadly today, however, a variety of factors conspire against children spending unstructured time outdoors, with the result that they are leading more sedentary lives than ever.

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Growing up Down Under

By Emily McBurnie
Growing up in Deniliquin, country Australia, certainly had it's perks; sunshine and warmth almost all year round, wild kangaroos jumping in our backyard and a river you could play in for 8 months of the year. We swung big ropes into the water, or just spent a lazy day lying on a raft, floating from one beach to the other.

We always walked or biked to school and got an extra two weeks off due to it being 40 + degrees in the summer break! No one watched TV (I think there was a PBS channel), all of our spare time was spent outdoors in the garden, we had a veggie patch, nectarine trees, apricot trees, passion fruit vines, and the smell of gum trees was constantly in the air (so little worry for colds!

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Outside Adventures on Two Wheels

By Leehe Lev
At four years old I had just progressed from a tricycle to a bicycle with training wheels. Any chance I’d get, all the kids and I would bike around our neighbourhood. The boys were first to ride without training wheels. Their father held their seat and started them off at the top of the hill, run beside them for a few metres and let go. I’d watch them ride down the hill until they wiped out at the bottom. I had to close my eyes for the wipe out part but opened them again to see a big smile on their face. I knew that smile was because until their wipe out, they had their first glimpse of freedom. My father suggested I learned the same way they had. (After five wipe outs at the bottom of the hill, they finally grasped riding).

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Fresh Air Living

By Kari Svenneby

Recent news has been buzzing with advice from healthcare professionals who advocate outdoor play for children. We call it fresh air living and see it as a lifestyle, not just something we add to our children’s list of activities and programs. Fresh air living incorporates unstructured play, outdoor sports, and outdoor learning. Though it has existed for a long time, the concept of outdoor learning is seen as a new teaching approach for all academic disciplines. It engages and motivates learners through first-hand experiences that demonstrate the relevance of the knowledge being taught.

Nearly all adults will tell you that their most positive childhood memories occurred outside. However, when it comes to our own kids, we declare that times have changed, taking the path of least resistance rather than coming up with ways to enrich their lives.

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