News SPA

Hugging a tree can help us in these stressful times

July 2020

Dear old and new friends. Do you remember us hugging the trees during the Play&Grow programme? I think the HKU trees are most hugged ones in Hong Kong and probably in the world!

I would like to share the post below and remind you that it is even more important to be connected to nature during these stressful times, at least for 2 reasons:

1) It really affects the psychological state or your child and you! We are finishing a research paper showing that!

2) It is good for the gut bacteria! We have just submitted a scientific evidence to a research journal. I will keep you posted ☺

I know, these times require to wash hands and protect ourselves from the virus. But we may be over-sterilising us and our kids. We normally are covered by the myriads of bacteria (outside and inside). Not all of them are good but we live in symbiosis or balance with them. Our immune system gets some ‘exercise’ which is absolutely necessary. If we try to eliminate all the bacteria by sterilising us we disrupt this balance and there is a risk that more bad bacteria and virus land on (and in) us. Remember, we can never be sterile, so forget following that strange mission!

I therefore suggest, that apart from washing hands properly and changing the clothes when you come home, also, to ‘shower’ yourself with good bacteria. Do touch the trees and bushes when you are in the park or in a quiet corner of the street. Those are the good guys!

And hug the trees, of course, make it a habit, your kids will thank you later ☺

Much love to you all,

Dr Tanja, director of Play&Grow

Play&Grow is featured in a book

The Play&Grow program is featured in a chapter of  “Intergenerational Contact Zones: Place-based Tools for Promoting Social Inclusion and Belonging”. 

The chapter provides the example of the Play&Grow program as a model for creating Intergenerational Contact Zones on the rooftops of a highly urbanised environment – Hong Kong. It describes the contributions of grandparents to the program, and benefits of gardening together for both children and adults. Practical tips for carrying this project into a variety of contexts (schools, private and industrial buildings) are given, including advice for construction and use of rooftops as “nature spaces”. Challenges and issues faced are also addressed.

Big news!

Congratulations to Play&Grow! We have just received a huge funding from Hong Kong Government for the coming 2 years!

The support is to ROLL OUT our successful Early Environmental Education program.