ParkScope column about Leave No Child Inside debuts today!November 28, 2007
LNCI Central Ohio – organizational newsDecember 5, 2007
Thanks to Betsy Loeb for using her column space in Columbus Parent to advocate for the Leave No Child Inside movement!
Here’s the text of the article:
Connecting children and nature
Our children are growing up in an indoor culture. They are connected to a variety of high-tech devices, some schools have eliminated recess, some neighborhoods don’t feel safe for children to roam outdoors and there are music lessons, sports, homework, etc. It seems there is little time for children to just hang out around the house exploring their own back yards.
If you are tempted to say “that’s just the way it is today” take note: Research shows that children suffer from an indoor, sedentary lifestyle. Experts say this is a factor in childhood obesity, depression and attention deficit disorder. In his best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods — Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv explores the implications resulting from this indoor trend.
“If things don’t change, this generation may be the first generation since WWII to die at an earlier age than their parents. If we don’t get our children outside, who will become our future stewards of the earth? Who will become our natural historians? Who will support all our beautiful parks?”
Here are a few easy ways to get your child connected to nature and the outdoors:
* Sit outside with your child for a few minutes. Make it part of your morning, after-dinner or just-getting-home routine. Just sit. Breathe the air. Look at the sky. Share one thing about what you hear, see or smell.
* Go for a walk, even if it’s just around the outside of the house. Look for bugs. Touch the plants or trees. Notice the leaves on the ground. Feel the difference between the air and ground temperatures.
* Look out the window with your child just before bedtime. Say goodnight to the moon, the stars and the sky.
* Have your child stand inside a Hula-Hoop or rope lying on the ground. Tell him to face whatever direction he wants and play I Spy together. Take turns being the one who spies something.
* Go to the library and look at or take out books about what you’ve seen or done outside.
The benefits of connecting to nature with your child are many. You will help her develop hoping and coping skills, learn about science and nature and life, and learn about colors and shapes and textures. You will strengthen your parent-child bond with this quality time and you’ll be raising a child who wants to take care of our planet.
You can find more information and ideas about activities by visiting email@example.com or kidsandnature.org.
Betsy Loeb is an early childhood and learning expert with Action for Children and a member of the Leave No Child Inside Central Ohio Collaborative.