Promoting positive lifestyle behaviours in young families.
There is strong evidence that time in nature is associated with better child health including physical activity, eating behaviours, sleep quality and all aspects of physical and mental well-being.
The Nature Play & Grow study aims to address the concerning trend for unhealthy behaviours in young children, which can contribute to long-term lifestyle habits.
There has been a significant shift from active, outdoor nature-based activities to more passive screen-based indoor activities — with an associated rise in psychological disorders, chronic disease, and a disconnect from the natural environment.
What is Nature Play & Grow?
The Nature Play & Grow early intervention pilot program is now complete, though we hope to offer the full program in the future.
The pilot study aimed to promote connectedness to nature, healthy eating, physical activity, and emotional well-being in young children.
What does participation involve?
The eight-week program, completed in August 2022, consisted of two main components:
Parents were asked to complete one 20-minute online module per week, delivered via the Thinkific platform.
These modules were based around a weekly theme such as outdoor play, healthy eating, physical activity and child development, and will feature information presented by experts in child health and development. The short modules contained podcasts and videos providing resources and information to increase knowledge and motivation. See outline of the program below.
Parents were asked to attend a weekly one-hour group session, followed by morning tea, held in different local parks in the City of Wanneroo and the City of Joondalup. Each group session will be facilitated by a member of the project team and will include the same ten families in each session. The group will enjoy outdoor experiences based on the weekly theme. Families will be asked to bring a picnic rug and snacks for their child and will occasionally be asked to bring along items from home such as small craft items, a bike or scooter and dress ups.
Participants were also asked to complete an online questionnaire prior to the beginning of the program and at the end of the eight-week program. Additional follow-ups will be conducted at six and 12 months following the completion of the program.
There are no costs to the participant for involvement in the project.
What are the possible benefits of participating?
By participating in this project, we are expecting to see an increase in nature-connectedness for both parent and child which may result in positive changes in the key areas of nutrition, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, emotional wellbeing, and behavioural development.