Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Send Your Kids Outside for 1 "Green Hour" a Day

Send kids outside to get close to nature and appreciate the world around them. Remember when we were kids. We ran in from school, grabbed a snack, and then ran back outside to play until our moms called us for dinnertime.

The National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their kids a "Green Hour" every day, a time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. This can take place in a garden, a backyard, the park down the street, or any place that provides safe and accessible green spaces where children can learn and play.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, refers to this nature-child disconnect as "nature deficit disorder." One of the primary symptoms is the replacement of the green space by the screen space as the occupier of children's free time. Indeed, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the average American child spends 44 hours per week (more than 6 hours a day!) staring at some kind of electronic screen. Studies have linked excessive television viewing to obesity, violence, and even lower intelligence in kids. Now, a growing wave of research indicates that children who spend time outdoors are healthier, overall, than their indoor counterparts.

Children who regularly spend unstructured time outside:
- Play more creatively
- Have lower stress levels
- Have more active imaginations
- Become fitter and leaner
- Develop stronger immune systems
- Experience fewer symptoms of ADD and ADHD
- Have greater respect for themselves, for others, and for the environment

Turn off that television, computer, video games and kick the kids outside until dinner to run around, get some fresh air, soak up some vitamin d, and have some good old-fashioned outdoor fun !

SOURCE: http://www.greenhour.org/, http://www.moregreenmorelife.blogspot.com/

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