Survey Shows Parental Fears and Busy Schedules Reduces Outdoor Nature Play for Kids

EnviroKidz by Natures Path launches “ecokeepers” – a free nature discovery program for schools to help get kids outside and benefit from lifelong health and social benefits of discovering the wonders of nature.

Richmond, BC Canada (August 23, 2016) – Parental fears and busy schedules are found to be leading contributors as to why parents say they struggle to get their kids outside to play and reduce the amount of time spent in front of a screen. This finding, announced today, is part of a nationwide survey on how kids play by EnviroKidz – North America’s largest organic kids’ breakfast and snack brand by Nature’s Path. To help kids capture the lifelong health and social benefits of outside play, EnviroKidz has launched a new outdoor nature discovery program called “ecokeepers™”. Free to schools and camps, it complements science and physical education curriculum by blending tactical hands-on discovery with geocaching – a modern-day treasure hunt that uses GPS on smartphones to find hidden caches.



“As a parent, I know firsthand the struggles to get kids away from devices and TV,” says Darren Mahaffey, VP Marketing for Nature’s Path. “There’s tons of research that clearly shows kids are healthier and perform better in school when they play outside in nature. We wanted to address the barriers parents face in getting their kids outside and create a program to help solve that problem and in turn, capture kids’ natural curiosity and sense of wonder to create tomorrow’s environmental leaders.”

Of the parents surveyed, 94% say they would like schools to help their kids get outside and discover nature. The free ecokeepers program delivers on this need and can be easily adapted into existing school and camp programs. Suitable for both urban and rural schools, ecokeepers can be used in nature trails, local parks, schoolyards and city neighborhoods. Adds Mahaffey, “When you look, kids can find nature anywhere.” Each ecokeepers program kit includes: 12-page, passport-sized explorer guides for kids to capture their observations, a geocache to customize and hide, parent resources plus EnviroKidz organic peanut-free bars to help support a healthy snack break while on their journey.

“Playing outside in nature is critically important for kids’ development. Research shows it improves everything from problem solving to cognitive ability to social relations,” says parenting expert Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. “Between screen time and the busy schedules of both parents and kids, today’s children are spending less time outside and missing out on this fun and beneficial part of childhood.”

Looking into how kids play, the Nature’s Path survey, which polled 525 U.S. millennial moms (ages 25-45) with children under the age of 13, revealed that:

  • Today, 81% of kids have adult supervision when they play compared to 37% moms when they were kids
  • 54% of moms say their kids spend more time playing in front of a screen than playing outside, while 22% say their kids are not interested in playing outside and would prefer to play on an electronic device
  • 35% of moms cite fear of letting kids play outside alone, 22% are too busy juggling other priorities and 15% say they do not have the time to supervise outdoor play
  • When they can, 58% of moms do try regularly get their kids outside to discover nature; however, 94% agree it’s important that schools also help kids to discover nature

“Ecokeepers not only gets kids outside, but also makes it easy for schools to make outdoor time educational as well as fun,” said McCready, “And, it provides the framework for exploration, adventure and creativity that kids don’t always get with the structured play that fills up much of their schedules these days.”

EnviroKidz recently launched the industry’s first peanut-free, organic and gluten-free granola and crispy rice bars for kids. Available in four flavors – Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Berry Blast and Strawberry – the bars are packed with gluten-free rolled oats or wholegrain brown rice to provide lasting energy for kids while they’re on the go and enjoying nature. EnviroKidz donates 1% of all product sales to help support animal conservation and education. To date, the company has donated over $2.6 million dollars to animal charities around the world.

“At Nature’s Path we live by our mission of leaving the earth better than we found it, and we hope ecokeepers will spark this same passion in kids so they become lifelong advocates for the planet,” says Arjan Stephens, Nature’s Path EVP of Sales and Marketing. “Kids have the Earth’s future in their hands and the power to make it a better place. Ecokeepers brings kids and nature together for a lifelong benefit for both.”

For more information about ecokeepers, including how teachers and kids’ club coordinators can receive a free kit and parents can download a free activity guide, visit:


About Nature’s Path

Nature’s Path Foods Inc., is a privately held, family-owned company, producing USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified breakfast and snack foods sold in grocery and natural food stores in over 50 countries around the world. Committed to the triple bottom line— socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and financially viable – Nature’s Path works diligently to support communities and champion the cause of people and planet. Brands include Nature’s Path®, Love Crunch®, Qi’a®, Que Pasa®, Flax Plus®, and EnviroKidz®.  Founded in 1985, Nature’s Path is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia and employs hundreds of valued team members at its four facilities in Canada and the United States. Visit or follow on Twitter @NaturesPath.


Survey Methodology

The survey was commissioned by Nature’s Path and conducted through SSI QuickTake™. Survey consisted of 525 completes of U.S. moms ages 25-45 with children under the age of 13. A sample of 500 is reliable within a ±4% points at a 95% confidence rate. SSI QuickTake quality control standards were applied including digital fingerprinting, de-duping and validating respondent data to ensure validity of survey.

Ecokeepers Kids