South Australia leads the world in a targeted resource –  Family, nature and COVID-19

In an Australian first, South Australian, not for profit organisation, Nature Play SA has today launched a free, online guide to support families across the country and the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nature, Family and COVID-19, is a guide for families everywhere.

This beautifully presented 85-page, e-book offers credible information, strategies, and practical ideas to help children, families and communities adapt to social distancing and self-isolation measures.

Executive Director, Community and Family Services at Department for Human Services, Ann-Marie Hayes said:  “Bottomline, there is no other guide like this and we encourage everyone one to check it out and whether you do two or 20 of the activities, rest assured you’ll love them and you’ll be doing something proactive for your family’s mind and body.”

There is a strong focus on nurturing the mental health and wellbeing of families, including providing accessible, nature-based methods that can be practiced at home or in the local neighbourhood.

Family, Nature and COVID-19 has been developed by Nature Play SA with funding support from the South Australian Government, through the Department of Human Services.

Nature Play CEO, Sarah Sutter said: “Whether you are social distancing or self-isolating there are over 200 practical ideas and tips throughout that can help fill the days with lots of fun.

“We believe a key objective for this guide and Nature Play SA is to raise awareness of how nature connection can support health and wellbeing during social distancing and self-isolation.”

Families and the community are increasingly looking at ways to develop strong mental health and nurture wellbeing.

The guide lists many nature-inspired methods that can form part of an integrated approach to strengthening your mental health and wellbeing.

Executive Director, Community and Family Services at Department for Human Services, Ann-Marie Hayes said:  “Autumn is a season of change.

Perhaps, we are undergoing no greater change than now, as our global community navigates Coronavirus.”

The guide is divided into two sections. The first is titled, Nurturing your mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 and the second is titled Practical ideas and inspiration to do as a family during COVID-19.

Ms Sutter said: “Section one is basically a one-stop-shop, it brings together all the information Nature Play SA has collected from both our own references but also from like-minded organisations across the State. 

“It is everything in one practical guide at your fingertips and if you need more information, then we have listed the various organisation’s details and websites.”

Some of the key themes include: ‘Turn to nature’, ‘Keep active’ and ‘Eat healthy’. All of which have five practical tips for engaging activities that focus on nature as a conduit to improving overall wellbeing and mental health.

The second section is a collation of four years of research and development by Nature Play SA. It brings a collection of nature-based activities into one comprehensive guide. 

This section includes expert tips and practical activities from our Nature Play SA gurus, including Nature Play SA ambassador and gardening and environment aficionado, Sophie Thomson.

Some family and community activities include:

  1. Provide a message of hope to your community: paint or draw a rainbow to display in your front window; place a teddy in your window for others to spot; or take to your footpath with chalk to draw rainbows and leave messages of hope
  2. Start a nature journal – each day after time spent in your yard or outside write, draw or paint something you noticed. See where nature journaling takes you (there is no right or wrong way)
  3. Tend to a garden and plant something you can nurture, harvest, eat and cook
  4. Go to the Bureau of Meteorology (bom.gov.au) website and learn how to read the weather, tides and about indigenous weather knowledge
  5. Set up for ball skills or your favourite sporting practice in your yard (get creative with how you could set up your space, like making cricket stumps from what you have at home)
  6. Run, walk scoot or bike ride around your neighbourhood or closest nature patch with trails (see social distancing and self isolation guidelines if venturing out.

The resource can be accessed and downloaded at natureplaysa.org.au