Nature passports come out to play

Balingup Primary School students Yali Harris, Rhylie Scarrott and Stephanie Aldridge check out their NaturePlay passports.

Balingup Primary School students Yali Harris, Rhylie Scarrott and Stephanie Aldridge check out their NaturePlay passports.

THE Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup is working with Nature Play WA and local primary schools to encourage kids to put their gadgets down and get outdoors during the upcoming October School Holidays.

All primary school aged children were given a Nature Play WA “Passport to an amazing childhood” to take home for the school holidays. This passport links to a series of ten easy ‘missions’ kids can do over the school holidays, or whenever they have a bit of free time. The missions are free, age-appropriate outdoor activities like ‘climb a tree’, ‘build a cubby’ or ‘ride your bike’ – the kind of stuff kids love to do.

While the passport missions are designed to be fun, they are also an important tool for boosting kids’ development. A bit like hiding the veggies, they are a sneaky way to help get them to increase their dose of free-range, imaginative play - the bedrock of a healthy childhood.

By helping to bring unstructured outdoor play back into children’s lives, we’ll be building their cognitive, emotional and physical development and boosting their resilience.

For those looking for more missions, an exciting online interface (which is optimised for smart phones and tablets), allows kids to earn virtual points for completing outdoor activities. These points can be used to build avatars and to win great prizes. The online interface includes more than 200 missions, great prizes and more.

So the next time the kids start the “Mum, I’m bored” routine, why not log on to the Nature Play WA website (www.natureplaywa.org.au/passport) and help them register their passport? Each time your child or grandchild completes a mission, you can place a sticker on the appropriate mission page. In fact, the idea is to collect as many stickers or stamps per page so use them at special events, as class projects or for any time they go outside to play.

If your child didn’t get a Nature Play WA Passport contact the Community Development Team at the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup 9780 4234 or email debv@donnybrook.wa.gov.au.

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