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Kiwi kids encouraged to pitch tents and earn medals this summer

Kiwi-kids-encouraged-to-pitch-tents-and-earn-medals-this-summer_HERO_940x450

With summer holidays underway, it’s the perfect time for kids to earn a Toyota Kiwi Guardians medal by enjoying a family camping trip in New Zealand.

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.

New Zealanders are increasingly living sedentary lives and spending more time on screens, meaning the connection to nature within our future generations is under threat. Andrew Davis, Toyota’s General Manager of Marketing, says spending time in nature allows children time away from screens, devices, and other digital distractions.

“Camping is the epitome of a digital detox and so many Kiwis take fond memories of camping and the outdoors into later life. This summer there is no excuse for kids to be complaining of boredom – they can be out learning about their surrounds and earning medals instead.”

Toyota Kiwi Guardians’ ‘Curious Camper’ medal leads children on adventures around the campsite area, encouraging them to complete activities like stargazing, supervised campfire building, watching the sunset/sunrise, and listening to the dawn chorus. ‘Sound Patrol’ is a highly advised activity – sitting still for five minutes to hear the different sounds in nature, figuring out where each sound is coming from, and deciding what its origin is.

To claim their medal, children complete the form on the Toyota Kiwi Guardians website recounting their fun experiences. Two weeks later, a medal will arrive in the post, rewarding children for their efforts. 

Toyota Kiwi Guardians is about inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to protect our land and wildlife. Studies have also shown there are strong positive links between direct experiences in nature and children’s mental, emotional and physical health and well-being.

Mr Davis is delighted with how the programme has progressively gained momentum and is delivering on its promise – to get kids outdoors and understand more about our environment.

“Like DOC, Toyota is passionate about making it easy for families to have great outdoor experiences and realise the environment is worth protecting.”

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.

“DOC has many amazing campsites right on the edge of some of Aotearoa’s most pristine beaches or scenic native reserves. Toyota Kiwi Guardians gives kids fun activities to do while on holiday and helps them appreciate the natural world around them at the same time.”

“If you can’t get away over the summer kids can still earn the Curious Camper medal by camping out in the backyard and experiencing how your garden changes when the sun goes down.”