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Kiwi kids take action at home for nature

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Kids and parents across Aotearoa are doing a great job of staying home, but it can be challenging finding activities to fill in the days.

New ‘at home’ action medals from Toyota Kiwi Guardians offer nature-based backyard activities for Kiwi kids to take part in during the COVID-19 Alert levels.

Launched in 2016, as a partnership between the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Toyota New Zealand, Toyota Kiwi Guardians aims to increase Kiwi kids’ connection with nature.

With access to many nature reserves and National Parks off-limits for the time being, DOC and Toyota have developed three new Toyota Kiwi Guardian Action medals that can be easily completed in backyards using basic household items.

The three new medals, Nature Recorder, Seed Sower and Map Maker are in addition to nine existing home-based Toyota Kiwi Guardian activities. Kids collect a unique Action medal for each activity they complete.

Andrew Davis, Toyota’s General Manager of Marketing says, “With the lockdown and possibly further travel limitations, the Toyota Kiwi Guardians programme provides helpful resources for families wanting to maintain their connection to the outdoors and provides a great break from online classes and digital devices.”

As the country moves from autumn to winter, kids can watch and record the changes in the garden in their Nature Journal. They can make drawings and stick fallen leaves and bark into the journal. Or they can photograph visiting birds then print and paste them into the book.

DOC’s Education Manager, Anita Anderson, says Toyota Kiwi Guardians introduces children to a type of play that is family-focussed and not dominated by technological devices.

“Being connected to the natural world at this time is extremely important. Studies have shown there are strong positive links between direct experiences in nature and children’s mental, emotional and physical health and well-being,” she says.

To claim their medal, children complete the form on the Toyota Kiwi Guardians website recounting their experiences. Medals will be posted out in line with government alert level guidelines.