Why the Nature Passport app is important

Nature Play WA’s mission is to help get more kids playing outside more often, but we know that isn’t easy in the modern technology-infused world. 

Australian kids spend more than three hours per weekday on digital devices - grows to four hours, or 30% of waking time, on the weekend (source:Australian Institute of Family Studies). Children who spend excessive time watching TV, playing electronic games, using the computer or screens are more likely to have:

  • lower cardiovascular fitness
  • increased consumption of unhealthy foods
  • higher levels of depression
  • lower academic achievement
  • higher amounts of aggressive behavior
  • less time spent with parents and siblings

Australian kids performing worse in skills such as kicking, throwing catching and jumping than they were 30 years ago. In WA over the past 30 years 27,000 primary school-aged children have been assessed, both in terms of their skillfulness and fitness. Findings have demonstrated a marked decline in six to 12-year-old children’s general physical fitness and skillfulness (source: Active Healthy Kids Australia 2016 Report Card)

The Nature Passport app is designed as a tool to help families and schools replace kids’ sedentary screen-time with playing, exploring and learning outdoors. The app is part of a broader strategy to help families find a healthy mix of screen-time and nature play. Nature Play WA recommends a three-pronged approach to healthy technology use: Reduce, Replace, Balance!

The Nature Passport app:

  • leverages kids' love of technology to restore the balance between screen time and green time and help families play, explore and learn outdoors together
  • promotes physical and mental health by getting kids and families active outdoors
  • fosters children’s natural curiosity, creativity and critical thinking – skills shown to boost academic performance and learning
  • encourages family time outdoors, promoting social connection and building fun, family memories
  • connects kids and families with nature, inspiring lifelong stewardship behaviors and attitudes
  • when using Nature Passport, kids look up not down. The app is designed so that the primary engagement is with the natural world, with the app working as a secondary support
  • aims to help nature-starved kids connect to the natural world.   

Nature Passport is a free resource that supports parents, caregivers, and teachers in getting kids excited about outdoor play and learning.

Evidence on the importance of balancing green time with screen time can be found at http://www.natureplaywa.org.au/research

About Nature Passport

Nature Passport was created by two non-profits: IslandWood in Washington, United States and Nature Play WA. The app is based on a successful, paper-based program in Australia that has reached more than 600,000 families, and uses technology as a tool for connecting families and schools with the natural world across the globe.

Download the FREE Nature Passport App

You can download the Nature Passport app for free on both the App Store and Google Play Store.

Visit the website at www.naturepassport.org, where you’ll find lots of useful information for families and teachers on how best to use Nature Passport.

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