I write this for you, the young children across our magnificent country. For the families growing up in our beautiful Australia.
Why is play important? Why am I an advocate for free play in nature?
It is the sparkle in your eye, that is upon your face when you are outside having fun in free play. The freedom of running across a grassy field or rolling down a hill or climbing up a tree to catch the view.
It is the exuberant whoop and holler of excitement when joining your friends in play, spotting them in the park, the street or neighbourhood.
It is the smile upon your face thankful for the time that is just yours, a time to just play, unstructured play that is unhurried and without expectations and limitations.
It is the giggles and deep belly laughter that I hear as you play with your friends in nature freely chosen by you, initiating your own ideas and extending ending upon them to learn more and more.
It is the chitter-chatter I hear and the deep long extended conversations that you have with your friends as you create and imagine in your play, take on pretend roles, make grand plans, tell stories or just talk about your day.
It is the squeals of delight of just pure joy from the thrills of adventurous play. The freedom and the independence to explore your own capabilities.
It is the curl of your toes as you feel the crunchy leaves under your barefoot toes. The scrunch of your face as the soft feather brushes your cheek and give you a tickle.
It is the wide open curious eyes as you express the wonder and awe in your world around you. It is the intrigue you express as you discover and investigate your natural environment and community around you.
It is the kindness in your touch as you learn to appreciate nature’s beauty and uniqueness and show care and respect.
It is your tranquil face, that sense of calmness that comes across you as you connect with nature, as you feel its serenity as it nurtures your body and soul.
It is you, the child, that motivates me to advocate for each child’s right to play freely in nature. It is you, the child, that leads me to support, teach, guide, lead, inspire and mentor our community to give children the opportunities to engage in outdoor nature play which is fundamental to a full and healthy childhood.
It is the child, each and every child that drives me to stand here as part of the Nature Play Team to make a difference in our world for the wellbeing of our people and our planet.
Education Co-ordinator – Nature Play QLD
Photo (c): Nature Explorers