Muddy Boots & Sandy Hands
Connecting Geelong's children with nature and the outdoors
Muddy Boots and Sandy Hands exists to the connect children and families of the Geelong region with nature and the outdoors.
Our vision is to create a connected community of families who:
- discover and explore the parks and outdoors spaces of the Geelong region with other families via the informal MBSH activities,
- are educated about the benefits of playtime in nature and the outdoors through the research-led information and inspiration on our website, and
- share experiences, photos and trips on our Facebook page.
Did you know?
Children of today spend significantly less time at play outdoors than the previous generation; and when they do go outdoors it is less frequently, and for markedly shorter periods of time.
Several alarming and interrelated trends have emerged:
- Children have increasingly withdrawn from the fundamental and formative experiences of nature in their own neighborhoods, leading lives more sedentary, more structured, and more saturated by media than their parents, as children did;
- Rates of childhood obesity have risen dramatically, attention-deficit and emotional disorders have been diagnosed with alarming frequency, and the virtual world presented on screen has become more meaningful to young people than the natural world right outside their doors.
- By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970;
- Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and trees, in their own community;
- The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years;
- Recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind.
Heightened awareness of the benefits of connecting children and families with nature, and a returned focus to unstructured outdoor play in Geelong, will aid in improving mental and physical health of the current generation.
Muddy Boots and Sandy Hands seeks to create awareness of the benefits of connecting children and families to nature and facilitates family friendly nature-based activities.
Why do children need playtime in nature and the outdoors?
Nature and the outdoors is good for all of us. Research shows that it is important, healthy and fun for children to have frequent and varied opportunities for play outdoors – and especially outdoors with natural vegetation – as part of their every day lives.
When children do, they are happier, healthier and smarter. They are more self-disciplined and focussed. They are more self-confident, creative and cooperative. They are better problem-solvers, more optimistic, and more physically fit. Family ties are strengthened, a sense of community is nourished, and a sense of place is cultivated.
All in all, nature and the outdoors is good for children and their friends and family too.
How can Muddy Boots and Sandy Hands help?
Our simple goal is to inspire parents to get their kids outdoors and into nature more often. To do this we've started by:
- running informal get-togethers at local parks and destinations,
- curating information about kids and the outdoors produced by respected academics and organisations,
- establishing a Facebook page where you can connect with other local people, and
- offering a Nature Passport for kids.
Muddy Boots and Sandy Hands is a Leaders For Geelong initiative. For more information about Leaders For Geelong please visit the Committee For Geelong website.