Nature Play WA and The ORIGINS Project pilot lifestyle building plan for families

by Freya Lucas

Nature Play WA and The ORIGINS Project will collaborate to pilot a program that aims to address unhealthy behaviours around eating, sleeping and physical activity levels in young children, which can contribute to long-term lifestyle habits.


The Nature Play & Grow project will help families to unlock the mental and physical health benefits of connecting with nature and community through outdoor play, easily, and locally, Nature Play WA CEO Dr Kelsie Prabawa-Sear explained.

During the eight-week program, families gather for outdoor group sessions, which have a specific focus each week, but which also contribute to some overarching themes and understandings, namely:

  • Develop a community (participate, engage, and communicate)
  • Develop a connectedness to nature (awareness of, responsibility toward, enjoyment of nature and specific places)
  • Develop healthy ways of living and sustainable practices (reduce, reuse, recycle)
  • Develop a playful mindset (be conscious of responses e.g., what to say instead of “be careful”).

During the eight-week program children participating in the program will:

  • Develop lifelong habits or dispositions (creativity, curiosity, confidence, enthusiasm, endurance, independence, persistence, resilience, imagination, problem-solving) to take care of themselves independently and be engaged, motivated and contributing community members
  • Develop an explorative mindset
  • Engage with their senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell)
  • Engage with nature
  • Develop social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills
  • Develop risk assessment skills and safety sense (what’s safe to explore).

As part of the program, participating families are asked to complete an online questionnaire and watch weekly podcasts, presented by child health and development experts.

To assess the efficacy of the program, the ORIGINS team are also collecting stool samples from participant families to assess the impact the increased time in nature is having on their microbiome – their gut health – as well as their wellbeing.

“This program is essentially a hybrid between a play date, a parenting course, and a community group,” Dr Prabawa-Sear said.

“It is grounded in fun, social, activity, but it is also informed by research and useful parenting information that can help set the scene for making local outdoor play a big part of families’ lives. It is about empowering families with information, with hands-on experience, with knowledge of their local area, and by building relationships with other families.”

Read the full article about the Nature Play & Grow pilot at The Sector.

Find out more about Nature Play & Grow.

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