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Be Safe Outside

Strangers
Stranger dangers have decreased in the past 20 years, but kids should still learn how to use good judgement while playing outside. If a stranger approaches a child for help, the child should know that only other adults should help an adult. Learn more about kids and strangers.

Ticks

Wear insect repellant to deter insects and light clothes so you can spot them easier. Then be sure to take a shower and wash your clothes that night. Learn more about avoiding ticks and what to do if you're bit.

Poison Ivy
Teach your kids the sayings about poison ivy, "leaves of three, let it be" and "don't be a dope and touch the hairy rope." Learn more ways to identify poison ivy

Benefits of the Outdoors
Outdoor experiences, especially unstructured play in natural settings, play a crucial role in the development of an all-round healthy child.

So, tell your children to Go Play Outside! and…

  • Get smart
  • Be healthy & live longer
  • Improve concentration
  • Reduce stress
  • Boost creativity & critical thinking
  • Improve vision
  • Get strong bones
  • Help save the planet

Get smart
Research focusing on early childhood development suggests the importance of unstructured, non-curriculum-focused experiences in nature and outdoor settings as being beneficial to a young child’s cognitive development.

The simple act of walking through the woods exercises executive functions in a child’s brain. While outdoors, children encounter problems like “Can I make it over that small stream without getting wet?” and “Is this a safe place to put my foot?” This instant problem-solving develops their ability to analyze risk.

Did you know: When a child always walks across a “safe” flat surface, their brain isn’t challenged and executive functions, such as troubleshooting and decision making, develop much slower. Studies have shown that the executive functions of children of today are 2 years behind that of their peers 40 years ago.

Be healthy & live longer
Children involved in outdoor, unstructured play with peers tend to be constantly active as they move from one game to the next. Outdoor play helps children maintain a healthy weight and avoid medical problems such as diabetes.

Did you know: For the first time in known history, this generation of children has a lower life expectancy than their parents caused by a sedentary “plugged-in” lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits. Organized sports have a limited role to play in combating this because children with lesser athletic ability are left sitting on the sidelines, or playing less active sports.

Improve concentration
Time in nature, such as passive playtime and organized exploration activities, help children who have trouble concentrating to calm down, focus, and use their imaginations.

Did you know: A recent study found that a walk in a natural setting was more effective than medication in improving the attention span of children with ADD.

Reduce stress
Between school, homework, sports practices, and music lessons, kids today have busy schedules without a lot of time to de-stress and play in nature
. Studies have proven that our brains, which evolved over the years in the natural world, need nature to grow.

Did you know: The modern environment, filled with infrastructure and pavement, provides a source of constant stress for our brains. A study conducted by the University of Washington proved that your heart rate decreases just by looking at nature.

Boost creativity & critical thinking
Nature provides children with opportunities to develop creativity by stimulating their limitless imaginations. While an action figure or a doll can only be used one way, natural elements can be made into anything a child imagines. This creativity helps children discover their interests and to solve problems.

Did you know: In 2008, the National Toy Hall of Fame inducted the oldest and best toy, the stick. Imaginative children for many generations have used sticks as fishing poles, princess wands, tools to turn over rocks, baseball bats, tent poles, and many more ways.

Improve vision
It was found that children who spend about two hours outdoors every day and limit the time they spend doing near-sighted work have better distance vision than their peers who spend the majority of their time indoors.

Did you know: The prevalence of myopia, or nearsightedness, in people aged 12 to 54 was 25 percent in 1970. By 2000, 41.6 percent of people in the same age range are nearsighted.

Get strong bones
Vitamn D is necessary for the development of healthy bones. Our bodies make vitamin D when we are exposed to the UV rays in sunlight.

Did you know: A fair-skinned person can get a sufficient daily amount of vitamin D and all its benefits from just fifteen minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen.

Help save the planet
Kids who spend time outdoors have a greater appreciation for the environment and are more likely to be an environmentally conscious adult.
Did you know: As a child, Ansel Adams was kicked out of school for being inattentive. His parents took him to the beach, mountains, and rivers because they saw that it calmed him. Those early outdoor experiences affected Ansel Adams so deeply that he grew up to be not only a famous nature photographer but also an avid environmentalist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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