Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Encourage Your Kids to "Be Out There"

"American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades,
taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids."
~ The National Wildlife Federation

One of the best ways to keep kids healthy and active physically, mentally, and emotionally is to give them access to the outdoor world. Playing outside has a profound effect on a child's motor coordination, imagination, ability to concentrate, observation skills... the list goes on and on. Studies even show that time spent outdoors can improve academic performance.

That's why I am a strong believer in the National Wildlife Federation's campaign, Be Out There, whose goal is to connect children to the natural world. It provides encouragement and tools for parents and educators to get their kids/students outside on a regular basis. Their site is full of information on the many benefits that come with allowing children the opportunity to explore nature. Parents can even download their new Parent's Guide to learn how to overcome five of the top obstacles to outdoor play. 

At the end of this week, we'll be celebrating Earth Hour. But the National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their children a GREEN HOUR every day. Quite simply, a "Green Hour" is defined as 50 minutes of time of unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. You can find dozens of Green Hour outdoor activities on their website. And educators can also find tools for using the outdoors to supplement their lessons.

My kids spend a lot of time outside. If we're not gardening or playing around our home, we're at our local park, exploring the woods, or other activities. I have more rocks inside my home that my kids have collected, than I do outside of it. To them, the outdoors is an adventure waiting to happen, a treasure waiting to be found.

The National Wildlife Federation is also a major supporter of the No Child Left Inside Act, which will help states provide teacher training and expand high-quality environmental education programs, engaging kids in the great outdoors and fostering a lifelong appreciation of our natural world. You can show your support, too, by sending a message to your local elected officials.

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing some of the activities my own kids enjoy doing outside. I hope you'll share your own tips for keeping your kids active and busy outdoors.

Con mucho cariño....

Disclosure: I want to make it clear right here, that I am not affiliated with National Wildlife Federation in any way. I discovered the Be Out There website by chance and immediately loved it.


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