Those were the words I heard my mom say daily while growing up. Even when I was very small - and after she helped me wash my hair - she would send me outside saying, "now go and let the sun dry your hair."
We all have memories like that of our childhood as well as: jumping into a cool lake on a hot summer day, intently watching ants on the march, or spending hours just laying back and looking at clouds. And whether we realized it or not, those moments in the outdoors helped shape our views on the world around us.
But those kinds of memories are fading fast for many young people today. The statistics are alarming: in a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own, and kids 8-18 spend an overwhelming 53 hours a week using entertainment media.
Even my daughter, an active skateboarder, has been tempted to stay indoors to master all Tony Hawk games on her Wii. It was short-lived because she knows there's no substitute for the great outdoors. But most kids don't know that. They're outside only long enough to get from point A to point B - which is usually the front door (A) to car door (B) and vice versa.
Getting kids back outside is more important than ever - for the sake of the kids and the future of our planet. Spending time outdoors at a young age is critical to fostering a healthy conservation ethic. And an increasing number of studies illustrate that kids who spend time outdoors are happier, healthier, and smarter. That alone is worth it isn't it?
Developed by the nation's leaders in bringing families and nature together, Nature Rocks is a national program to inspire and empower families to play and explore in nature.
This initiative gives busy parents and caregivers the tools, instructions and tips for quick, easy, inexpensive (or free) activities, so they can enjoy quality family time in nature.
Find, Connect, Explore!
At Nature Rocks, parents will find more than 100 fun, easy-to-implement, and interesting activities based on their specific needs (time available, ages of children, location) - inspiring and empowering families to enjoy bonding experiences in nature:
- The parent-friendly Web site offers a Find Nature tool for parents to input their zip code and quickly locate a list of nearby parks, forests, Conservancy preserves, and more, including places that offer nature tours, classes, and even gear.
- Have fun in Flocks! Now there is a way to take your family's social life into nature. Start a Nature Rocks Flock, and get outside with friends, neighbors, family, school groups and others.
- Parents can also take advantage of additional tools to invite family and friends to join in Nature Rocks activities - spreading the fun and turning nature adventures into adventure parties.
Now you have no excuse. What are you doing? Go outside and play!