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Friday, March 4, 2011

The great outdoors!

All last week I looked longingly outside but didn't want to walk the icy roads. Snow doesn't fall here often, but last week we got 6 inches and by nightfall it had turned to ice. No plows came to scrape it up. So I stayed indoors.

But I wanted to go out. Right now I want to go out to plant my garden, walk safely around the block, throw off my jacket and boots...

Ironic, then, that even yesterday I didn't go out, even though it was merely overcast with a few rain showers. I've gotten in the habit of being inside, cooking, writing, sitting on chat with my daughter.

When I was a kid, I did everything I could to be outside. On Fall Saturdays I chose to rake leaves rather than dust the furniture. In Winter I shoveled snow by choice. After school in Spring I played baseball or rode my bike. I found salamanders and snakes down by the brook. My friends played outside roller skating or jumping rope. That's what kids did.

It's not true any more. Kids today spend almost all their time indoors, according to writer-naturalist Mike Weilbacher in an article called Want healthy kids? Unplug them and send them outdoors published in Mainline Media News. He reports:

At the same time, numerous studies indicate kids are physically and mentally healthier if they spend time outdoors and in nature. They calm down when surrounded by green, which seems to ameliorate their ADD. And free play outside lets children develop social skills they can’t get from tube-watching (or from playing sports under adult supervision), and their skills are more age-appropriate. They are more creative too.

We all need to go out more, but especially our children. Take a look at the article, and maybe read the book Mike Weilbacher talks about. Someone needs to reverse the trend - why not the kids in your life? Or you?

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