British Columbia

Kids' CBC show has starring roles for mindfulness and nature

A new CBC-TV aimed at kids and their parents has what might seem like an ironic message — turn the TV off.

Scout and the Gumboot Kids follows kids and a stop-motion mouse as they explore nature

Scout and the Gumboot Kids has a message to kids and parents alike: turn the TV off and go outside! (CBC)

A new program on CBC-TV, wants kids and their parents to embrace nature and mindfulness — and that means shutting off the TV.

Scout and the Gumboot Kids follows a group of kids and an eight-inch-tall stop-motion mouse as they explore nature in a "non-judgemental" way, according to co-creator Tara Hungerford.

"It's not about helicopter parenting, it's not about telling your children what to do. Children lead the way," she said.

"It's about getting kids outside and into nature, and that's important. The show itself acts as a bridge to do that," her fellow co-creator Eric Hogan told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff. "So it inspires parents and aims to give parents ideas for how to do interesting things while they're outside and it gets kids excited about nature."

Hogan says mindfulness, at the core, is about bringing your attention to the present moment. And while it sounds easy, he says it takes work.

But kids, he says, are more naturally mindful than their parents. And he says Scout and the Gumboot Kids is aimed at parents as much as their kids.

Inspired by parenting experiences

Eric Hogan and Tara Hungerford were inspired to create Scout and the Gumboot Kids after seeking a change from their plugged in life in Vancouver: “That meant turning off all technology, unplugging, and getting ourselves outside no matter what," Hungerford said. (CBC)
Hungerford and Hogan co-parent two children who appear in the show. Hungerford says it was living in a Vancouver condo with two young ones  that made them look deeper into mindfulness as an idea for the show.

"We had too much going on, so as parents we decided we needed less," Hungerford said. "So that meant turning off all technology, unplugging, and getting ourselves outside no matter what. Less toys, less things, and just more outside time no matter what."

Scout and the Gumboot Kids is only a four-and-a-half minute show that Hungerford says bridges the gap between the living room and nature.

She says the message of the show is that any time spent outside is time well spent, and it doesn't have to be a two-hour hike, either. A ten-minute walk is great too, she says.

"We hope at the end, people feel goosebumps of excitement, and want to go outside with their children and be with nature," Hungerford said.

Scout and the Gumboot Kids is on at 9:55 a.m. on weekdays on CBC-TV.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: New CBC-TV show encourages kids to turn TV off


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