Consider swapping desk-based homework for the outdoors

While it’s known that homework is necessary for a child’s education, new research suggests that a most parents would ditch desk-based homework for learning in the great outdoors if the learning outcomes were the same*.

These findings support Claratyne’s new long-term initiative ‘The Outsideologist Project’ – a mission to get one million Australian children and their families to spend just one extra hour a week outside for better health and wellbeing.

‘The Outsideologist Project’ aims to counter kids’ preference towards indoor play** by offering fun outdoor learning inspiration that complements necessary indoor desk-based learning.

It provides parents and children with opportunities to get outside, enjoying nature while learning at the same time, by serving up inspiration to parents with playful step-by-step, easy-to-follow learning activities designed to be completed together, outside.

Sam Wood, fitness expert, father of three and The Outsideologist Project ambassador, says these curriculum-inspired learning activities help take the pressure off parents, by complementing traditional desk-based homework, while realising the benefits of outdoor time.

“I know all too well the challenges we as parents face engaging the kids with outside activity,” says Mr Wood.

“Balancing time pressures, work pressures and necessary desk-based learning requirements makes it tough to engage the kids in outside activity.

“It’s not surprising then to see that parents are so keen for their families to ditch the desk.

“The outside, fresh air and nature have such positive benefits on mental and physical wellbeing for our kids, and I’m an advocate for anyone to take part in physical activity outside.

“What I love about Claratyne’s Outsideologist Project is its focus on complementing necessary desk-based homework with fun outside learning activities to improve wellbeing and combat the poor health outcomes that being sedentary and inactive for too long can bring,” he says.

Penny Whitehouse, educator and long-time advocate of the benefits that being outside in nature offers, and understands the growing challenges that come with trying to get today’s kids outside.

“As a working mum, I know it’s easy to slip into an indoor routine,” says Ms Whitehouse.

“However, the published research – and my professional experience – confirm the major benefits to kids being outside during their development years.

“Nature play specifically promotes creativity, gross and fine motor skills and builds resilience.

“In a generation of devices and pandemics – it’s important that we remind ourselves that there are simple ways we can encourage our kids to play and explore outside.

“The Outsideologist Project is great for busy parents as it offers easy to follow, step-by-step ideas to get us all outside, thinking and exploring.

“It’s a bonus that the activities are inspired by the curriculum. It’s refreshing to have alternative ideas on how to learn outside – whether in a park or your backyard – in a playful way that takes the pressure off families and reaps the benefits of being outside,” she says.

Claratyne aims to help people fully appreciate the simple joys that being outside can bring and believes time outside is important for everyone to enjoy.

Over the next five years, The Outsideologist Project from Claratyne will aim to improve the everyday health of Australian children by helping them spend more time outside.

For more information on The Outsideologist Project or Claratyne, and to access the playful step-by- step, easy-to-follow learning activities visit: claratyne.com.au/the-outsideologist-project.

References:

*The 2021 Outsideologist Project survey by Claratyne is an exploration of parents’ opinions, roles and attitudes in relation to their children’s play and learning habits, specifically comparing inside activity and outside activity. The independent research by Researchify and commissioned by Claratyne surveyed 1,028 Australian parents of children aged 5 to 11 years old. The research was conducted via an online quantitative survey from 9-13 August 2021.

** Inspiring Youth to Get Out There Report – In depth interviews with 15 young people aged 16-24, with learnings quantified through an online survey of Australians aged 16 to 24. Commissioned by Claratyne; executed by VICE.

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