How to switch screen time for green time
As we develop more technology for home and work, screens and devices feel like they are becoming inescapable. So, how can we encourage children to unplug from devices and reconnect with the real world? The answer might be just outside your window.
Rebalancing with green time
In life, balance is key. However, when it comes to screen time, we are out of balance in a big way. A recent study found that children in the US spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of screens. And, Aussie children are believed to clock up around the same. Enter: green time. This is time spent in nature to re-balance our daily dose of digital.
For children, green time works physical and mental muscles. It can help to relieve boredom, reduce stress, ignite creativity and imagination. It gives children time for their mind to wander and switch off.
Some suggested benefits of green time are:
- Good vibes
Time in nature also helps the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin. Bring on the smiles.
- Better mental health
Being in nature, or even looking at images of nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and is associated with better mental health outcomes. Discover the Brains On Nature podcast to find out more.
- Move your body
Running, jumping, walking and climbing trees is exercise masked as play. For kids, physical activity is usually a big part of time in nature.
Getting green time at home
It’s not easy to convince the kids to ditch the iPad and play outside instead. However, research suggests that facing a techno-tantrum might just be worth it. There’s plenty of ways to enjoy green time in your very own backyard. You could plant a native garden together, build a bee hotel, go cloud spotting, hunt for butterflies, or just take the art supplies outside for a creative session alfresco.
Green time can also be spent at your local park, making mud pies and climbing trees — just like you used to.
The best WA Parks for kids and families
Want to fire up your sense of adventure and take the kids further afield? There are many great parks that are perfect for kids. Start your green time stopwatch, now!
Learn about forests
The Baldivis Children’s Forest is a wonderland for little ones. There’s 20 hectares of woodland trails with interesting facts and hidden surprises to be discovered along the way. The mission of the forest is to teach conservation through education. You can join kid-friendly events or just enjoy a family walk in the trees.
Get nearer to nature
Just a short drive from Perth city, you’ll find Perth Hills Discovery Centre. This campground is nestled in the trees, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. With easy access to great facilities, it’s perfect for newbie campers or families. There are walking trails, a great camp kitchen, hot showers and even an outdoor cinema in the summer months.
A wild aquarium
Spot sea birds, fish and other strange creatures at the Marmion Marine Park. With clear shallow lagoons and reefs close to shore, it’s the perfect place to go rockpool jumping or snorkeling. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!
Revisit an old favourite
From the ferry ride, to roaming on car-free roads with your bike, to spotting happy quokkas — there’s nothing better than visiting Rottnest Island as a kid. This A-Class Reserve is a firm family favourite for good reason. There’s plenty of deserted beaches and wilderness for kids to explore.
Check out Spring into Parks
Discover the beauty and wonder of WA’s spectacular natural areas at our annual Spring into Parks events. There’s a myriad of opportunities to explore our parks and enjoy the health benefits that come from spending time in nature. Many of the Spring Into parks events are perfect for kids so check out the calendar to find an event near you.
We know that parents are time poor. That’s why we send the latest WA Parks inspiration, events and news straight to your inbox. Sign up to the WA parks newsletter and we’ll keep you in the loop with kid-friendly adventures.