Getting Kids Outside

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From Your Health Journal…..”A interesting article today from the AZ Daily Sun via The Philadelphia Inquirer by Sandy Bauers about getting children outside. With childhood obesity on the rise, and children showing risk factors for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, weak joints, and lower self-esteem, it is very familyrunningimportant to get our children out and about. The article points to the fact that children now spend 1 percent of the day outdoors, and 27 percent with electronic media. Where ‘children and play’ were natural companions many years ago, the trend has switched to ‘children and technology’ as the better friends. As great as technology may be for advancements in medicine, entertainment, and communication, it is causing a young generation to be more sedentary. The lesson here is to encourage your children to get outside and enjoy nature. As a family, go for hikes, walks, camp out, or even just window shop along your street. Please visit the AZ Daily Sun web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. I enjoyed it a lot, and hope you do as well.”

From the article…..

Ken Finch delights in asking people to recall happy childhood moments spent outdoors.

Invariably, they involve nature: climbing a favorite tree, wading in a stream, catching fireflies in a jar.

But this works only when his audience is older than about 30. If they’re younger, they were born after a divide — the time childhood in America changed. For the worse.

No longer did they run outdoors on a Saturday, coming home only when the streetlights went on.

More and more, they stayed indoors. Research shows children now spend 1 percent of the day outdoors, and 27 percent with electronic media.

There are a lot of reasons — urbanization, parental fears, more structured activities, and so on.

But it’s bad because being outdoor confers many benefits. Studies have shown that kids gain coordination just in navigating the uneven terrain. They learn decision-making skills and gain confidence. Vigorous play counteracts obesity. It’s not just about the kids. It’s about the planet. Kids’ relationship to nature will influence everything from what kind of car they drive to how they vote when they are adults.

So now, groups are advocating a return to the outdoor childhood. Their mission: No Child Left Inside.

In October, the National Wildlife Federation announced a goal to move 100 million kids “from their indoor habitat.”

Finch is head of Green Hearts, a national nonprofit that wants to restore the bonds between children and nature. Recently, he spoke at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia’s Roxborough neighborhood.

His talk — spiked with cartoons, such as the one with adults in a car exclaiming, “Look! Free-range children!” — was a plea to get kids back out in nature. And not just in nature, but interacting with it. (Find tips for parents at

Too many natural areas have too many rules, he said. Don’t run. Stay on the trail. Instead, what kids need is “rough land that adults don’t care about, where you can whack a tree with a stick.”

He was in the right place. The Schuylkill center, known for its nature programs, will begin a nature preschool in the fall.

To read the complete article…..Click here