Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Go Outside

From the National Wildlife Federation's Be Out There campaign:

Why Be Out There

The nature of childhood has changed: there’s not much nature in it.

American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades, taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids. The negative impact of decreased time outdoors includes a doubling of the childhood obesity rate -- accompanied by an incremental hundred billion dollar cost to our health care system -- as well as declining creativity, concentration and social skills.

Some say it takes a village to raise a child. We say: it takes a backyard, a playground, a park. Studies show outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. In addition, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment.


Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)

Today’s kids spend 6.5 hours plugged into electronic media. (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001)

In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. (Children & Nature Network, 2008)

Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration. (Burdette and Whitaker, 2005; Ginsburg et al., 2007)

Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)

The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11. (Wells and Lekies, 2006)

You may want to check out a similar post I wrote in May 2009 entitled Go Outside and Play. This post is a review of a lecture given by Richard Louv author of the National Bestseller Last Child in the Woods Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Tuesday Tip: Go Outside


FredInChina said...

Great reminder Michele.

However, changing that trend is going to be a challenge... The slope is made uphill by the instant gratification society we live in: computers, access to internet, fast food, video games, etc... all seem to conspire against getting out there and climbing that tree!

The education system b#tt covering attitude in the UK & the US too, as is the "everybody wins, aka no losers" variety of games.

Developing nations also have problems of their own: for instance, in China, the one kid policy has made parents very wary of "letting the kids play"...
In any case, the overpopulation has exacerbated the competition at school to get a spot in universities; already at a young age, kids are pressured to study more, at the expense of whatever time outside they could have had.


Michele said...

Fred, thanks for commenting and sharing the information about China. Interesting.

When I was in school it seemed like we had more free time. There are days when my daughter comes home from school and does homework/studying until after 9:00. She is in 5th grade!

Thanks again,