Making National ‘Get Outdoors’ Day Fun and Easy for Parents and Kids

Boy and girl exploring stream

Saturday, June 11 is National Get Outdoors Day! It is a crucial part of Great Outdoors month. With so many special days to observe during the year, one might wonder why yet another would be set aside aimed at families enjoying the great outdoors.

The answer is simple.  Since the late 1990s, American children have slowly given up on an ages-long tradition of regular outdoor play and have started staying indoors – all the time.   Our children are now so indoor focused you might even think of them as under a kind of self-imposed “house arrest.”

If you ever question how much our children really need more outdoor time, simply recall that the average child today spends 7 hours and 38 minutes watching television, playing video games or staring at websites.   They are turning to human veal before our eyes with worsening eyesight, vitamin D deficiencies, and an increasing inability to relate to other kids or adults.

But this is not about laying guilt on parents and care-takers, it is about simply rebalancing their young lives by encouraging 30 minutes to an hour of outdoor play time and fun.   Think of it as a daily “green hour” for the kids.

Here are a couple handy tools NWF has developed to make this rebalancing easy on Get Outdoors Day or any day:

  • National Wildlife Federation has a terrific set of guides for outdoor activities for the summer:  These guides are expertly-designed, kid tested and reflect many years of knowing what kids like to do outdoors.   And, they are free.
  • Another free treasure trove for outdoor-minded parents is NWF’s powerful online park, trail and outdoor event finder.  It offers immediate access to 10,000 beautiful outdoor areas, large and small, and 50,000 events and organized activities.  To use it, all you need is a zip code and to click here on Nature-Find.

If you would like to learn more about the NWF’s programs that help parents provide outdoor opportunities for children visit our Be Out There ™ website and our online Green Hour activities page.   Importantly, have a great time on National Get Outdoors Day!

Published: June 9, 2011