We live in a world where kids spend 8+ hours a day staring like zombies at screens; a world where ADHD cases have skyrocketed; a world where kids almost never get outside into nature; a world where our children comprise the very first generation ever with a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Depressing? It sure is. If you’re a parent and you’re not astoundingly alarmed by these statistics, I’d be surprised. Thankfully, David Bond, a dad and a documentary filmmaker from South East London, is on a major quest to change all of these fearsome facts. It all started when Bond asked his own 6 year-old daughter how much she loved TV and she replied, “A hundred billion percent. I love to sit in front of it all day long. It’s so relaxing.” Jolted by this statement and by the fact that as a child he did play happily outside all day, Bond decided to see if he could rebrand nature, thus making it more appealing to a whole new generation of youth. Hence, his documentary Project Wild Thing was born. Project Wild Thing is ironically, a film led movement, focused on getting more kids and their parents outside where they can reconnect with nature. The feature-length documentary takes a very revealing and funny look at the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature. Partnered with a growing movement of organizations and individuals who also want to promote nature connections, free-range parenting, roaming and outdoor playing kids in the 21st century, this is indeed a must-see movie for all parents.
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The trailer gives you a sense that the film isn’t set up to blame anyone for what’s happening to our kids. Yes, there’s an excess of media and screens. Yes, parents are hyper freaked out nowadays about sending their kids outside alone to play. And yes, we live in a world where beloved toy stores dis nature openly. The why is important, sure. However, what’s more important, and what this film seems to promote is how we can change the problem starting NOW. How we can take back nature, hand it to our kids and say, “Enjoy.” Your kids deserve a nature-filled, active childhood. I remember climbing trees, running wild in the woods, playing football in the street, and having some major outdoor adventures as a kid. This was the best part of my childhood and part of what made me want to conserve nature. It depresses me that today’s kids will look back on their childhood and think, “Hey, the best part of my childhood was being glazed over while staring at screens or that trip to the mall.” Kids today have zero connections to nature and thus they’re going to be zero-inclined to preserve it. This has to change and for the sake of our kids’ sanity and health, not to mention the continued preservation of the planet, it has to change now. Take action today by visiting Project Wild Thing or another outdoor, kid-positive organization, such as Be Out There or Free Range Kids.
What you should do as a green parent:
- Make your kids walk to school
- Send your kids outside – alone – to play
- Learn about the many benefits of nature
- Let your kids play in the streets (closing the streets down first is a great plan)
- Consider 50 things your child can do alone outside and still be a-ok
- Take your baby or toddler on a nature adventure
- Go on a hike – anytime of year
- Admit that childhood obesity is a real problem and make sure kids get active
- Send your kid to an outdoor summer camp
- Pledge to move childhood back outside
- Try some easy outside activities any family can manage