It appears as though I’m not the only one concerned about kids not getting outside to play these days. Here are a bunch of articles that, in some ways, are pretty depressing yet in others downright exciting!
The Times Herald – Whatever happened to go out and play?
Huffington Post – What the city could be doing to a child’s psyche
Environment News Service – ADHD Symptoms Milder After Green Space Playtime
Yorkshire Post – Call to take classes to countryside
China Daily – Children take a walk on nature’s wild side
New York Times – On Outdoor Experience and Environmental Values
Care 2 Make a Difference – 5 Reasons Children Need Time To Play At School
Public News Service – Children Getting Less Sleep Due to Electronic Media
Remember all those bits of wisdom that were drummed into your head when you were a kid? Things like
- You’ll get warts if you touch a toad
- If you touch a baby bird it’s mother will abandon it
- You’ll get cramps and drown if you don’t wait an hour after eating to go swimming
Here, the National Wildlife Federation debunks those myths! Get out there and play!
“In more general terms, outdoor education has many lasting benefits. “Research indicates that the use of greenspace or ‘green exercise’ improves health. In particular, learning outdoors generally results in increased levels of physical activity. In addition, interacting with greenspace (walking, gardening, etc) improves emotional wellbeing and mental health.” Outdoor education thus makes for more active children, healthier children, happier children. This is the obvious impact, but more than that it offers an opportunity to engage with the natural world, and a very different environment from that at normal child care centres.”
Color me impressed! A school district in Parish, NY is building a new gym – which means they no longer have their old one. Rather than just telling the kids they don’t need PE, the teachers and administrators have come up with an ingenious plan to keep their kids moving – including many more activities outside!
I wonder if we could start a movement to delay the building of the gym?
Today’s children are gravitating away from the natural world in favor of sedentary indoor activities.
“This trend may have a negative impact on the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development of our children, and fail to provide experiences that help them understand how their lifestyle choices impact the environment. Limited time in the outdoors may prevent them from enjoying future outdoor pursuits.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services these are the facts:
- Vigorous intensity physical activity is important for healthy growth and development among children and adolescents. A positive
- association has also been found between physical activity and improvements in concentration, memory, and classroom behavior.
- Due to environmental constraints (lack of safe, convenient places to play) and busy schedules, many children don’t have a chance to participate in unstructured, child-centered play.
- Environmental learning that integrates “school subjects” using real world activities helps students understand the world can positively influence student achievement.
- 90% of adults who participate in at least one human-powered activity began participating in outdoor activities between the ages of 5 and 18.
- Three to twelve year olds who spend more time outdoors are likely to be more physically active.
Last Child in the Woods is perhaps the only book you need to read to be convinced of the importance of getting kids outside.
“Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard.”