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Help Your Kids Reconnect with Nature
When I was a kid, man that makes me sound old… but, when I was a kid I use to dread the moment when my parents would call for me to come inside. I wanted to be outside and didn’t care if it was time for dinner, a bath or time to sleep.
Things aren’t the same now; you’re lucky if you can get most kids to go outside, let alone stay out there. They’re usually glued to the TV, computer or trying to beat a video game. I feel that a lot of kids these days are missing out on a big part of being a kid and it starts to show in their behavior and health.
I realized I wasn’t the only one that thought this when I came across a program called Discover the Forest.
Discover the Forest
Discover the Forest is a campaign set up by the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council that aims to reconnect kids with nature. I love what they’re promoting because a lot of kids never break out of their shells and be themselves until they get outside and let loose, explore and get a little dirty. Which shows why they chose the slogan “Where the Other You Lives”.
They have an interactive site that helps make being outdoors a fun adventure for kids and they even help you find forests and parks near you, if your backyard isn’t that appealing as a kids’ play area.
I think the map tool alone would be pretty handy for anyone of any age to find local parks and forests to check out. You just enter your zip code and it’ll find places for you within a 15 – 50 mile radius of your area. You can then click on each place on the map if you want to know:
- What activities you can do there.
- Any events that are going on.
- A description of the place.
- Directions to it.
They even have a booklet that you can print out that’s filled with a handful of different activities that you and your children can do outside. I wish my parents had come across a site like this when I was younger, then I may have explored farther than my backyard a bit more often.
You actually don't have to keep going back to their site if you don't want to! They have profiles and pages on some of the very common social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. That way it'll be a lot easier for you to keep up with what's going on with their program!
Why are they doing this?
Well, there’s the obvious fact that your kids will be a lot happier if they always have something fun to do.
But can you remember the first time you were taught about the life cycle of a butterfly? It’s a weird cycle, but wasn’t it cool to learn about? After learning about it, were you a little reluctant to smash a caterpillar you saw on the sidewalk because you were curious about what kind of butterfly it’d turn into?
What about the first time you grew your own plant or flowers? It’s pretty cool to be able to take a seed and nurse a living thing to life. But after growing something for your first time, were you a little reluctant to trample flower gardens or cut down a tree?
It seems like the more we learn, the more we seem to care and that sticks with you for life! There is so much out there to explore and learn about; so much that new things are still being discovered today.
There is pretty much no reason to be raising children these days that have nothing to do. There’s nothing wrong with TV, computers or video games, but save that for the rainy days when there’s literally nothing else to do.
And I’m not saying to force them to be outside, but if they’re bored give them some better options and help bring a smile back to their faces. Help boost their creativity and lower their stress by introducing them to your good friend, Mother Nature.