BREATHE BELL TENTS & NATURE PLAY SA | Turn play inside, out
When our children grow up and look back on their most treasured childhood memories, what will they remember? Will they have memories of climbing a tree as high as they’ve ever been before, or riding a bike down a hill so fast they thought they would never be able to stop? Will they remember having tea parties in a secret hiding spot in the garden or carting all your kitchen pots and pans outside so they could make mud pies?
The team at Nature Play SA explains: “These are our childhood memories. We grew up playing outside. Adventures were limitless. We weren’t constrained by time or other activities, homework or our parents. It was free play outdoors. It was spontaneous, exhilarating, fun and exactly how we wanted to play. This was nature play and for most of us, the best time we ever had.
Two decades on, this type of play is no longer the norm. Unintentionally, our children’s lives have become characterized by technology, structure and inactivity. Having the time and opportunity to explore and create fun on their own is no longer a rite of passage for children.
Our children spend less than two hours a day outside, one in four have never climbed a tree, one in three have never planted a garden and the area in which they can explore, has shrunk by 90%.
This type of play is vital for children’s development, and for their health, happiness and wellbeing. It can combat obesity and the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Children will learn self-control over their actions and decisions. They will learn to take risks and to problem solve on their own. They will learn important life lessons and they will have the best fun they have ever had.”
Nature Play SA is a not for profit organisation established to help families, schools and our community make nature play an everyday part of children’s lives. We develop resources, provide events and work with other organisations to help prioritise nature play and help people see what nature play is and how they can provide it for the children in their care.
NATURE PLAY SA’s VISION
“We aim to make unstructured outdoor play in nature an everyday part of childhood.”
This is a big agenda and it can’t be achieved by one organisation. Working with families and other organisations, we can help this generation of children have every opportunity to grow into strong, healthy and resilient young people with the most amazing memories of childhood adventures outside.
Breathe Bell Tents Australia & Nature Play SA
My childhood was very much the idyllic childhood described above growing up in the countryside, attending a Steiner School with a large focus on play, physical movement and a great connection to nature.
My clearest memories of school involve walking to and from the river where we’d have picnics, swim and build dams. There was always lots of music, singing, long walks, gardening, climbing, rambling, collecting moss, wood or leaves and self directed play.
Time at home was spent in much the same way.
My childhood rings true of the childhoods of many of our and previous generations. But something has changed.
Nature Play SA’s vision resonates with our vision, beliefs and hopes here at Breathe Bell Tents Australia, encouraging families and friends to spend time in nature, to connect with each other, build strong family bonds, to explore and travel the world, as we believe this is essential for our mental and physical wellbeing as individuals but also to help this next generation to grow into strong, healthy and resilient individuals.
A not-for-profit organisation, Nature Play SA’s provide opportunities for the children of South Australia to spend more time in unstructured play outdoors. Their vision is for outdoor play in nature to become an everyday part of childhood again.
It’s a big challenge.
Nature Play SA has lots of initiatives to help. They work closely with educators, schools and childcare organisations to increase access to natural play spaces and provide opportunities for children to learn with nature. In addition, they support families with free lists, such as 51 things to do before you’re 12, and 49 things to do before you’re 5 which feature great ideas for outdoor activities. They also have our seasonal lists, 25 Fun Things to do in Summer and 25 Cool Things to do in Autumn.
They also regularly host or partner with others to provide events that families can attend together as an opportunity to get outside, explore, discover and enjoy their surroundings.
A bell tent featured at their Summer and Forest Festival events and has been a massive hit, offering a quiet place for natural loose parts play and story-time. We, at Breathe Bell Tents, are honoured to be able to make a small contribution to the amazing work of this beautiful organisation.
It’s critical that those of us with precious memories of happy times spent playing outdoors actively reconnect our children with the natural world. Encouraging our children to get outdoors and play is an investment in our children’s, and in our community’s, future health, happiness and prosperity. The best part is, it’s also a lot of fun.
Bell Tent via Breathe Bell Tents Australia
Nature Play Forest Festival South Australia