Friday, June 17, 2011

MDNR Says Kids Should Play Outside

I found this interesting. I grew up spending as much time outside as I could, and when I couldn't, I was planning my next session. I am still always thinking about something outside, usually fishing.

DNR Reconnecting Children and Nature

Top ten reasons to be concerned

1. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 years spend an average of nearly 6.5 hours a day

with electronic media - Rideout, V. and Hamel, E. (2006). The Media Family: Electronic

Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Their Parent. Kaiser Family

Foundation. (Note: Remember this was published in 2006 think of how much bigger

Facebook, iPhones and iPads have become since then)

2. Children under 13 spend only 30 minutes per week in unstructured play time outdoors –

Sandra Hofferth and J. Sandberg (1999), Changes in American Children’s Time, 1981-1997,

University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

3. In one generation, the percentage of people who reported that the outdoors was the most

influential environment of their childhood dropped from 96% to 46%. – Rachel Sebba (1991).

The Landscapes of Childhood – The Reflection of Childhood’s Environment in Adult

Memories and in Children’s Attitudes, Environment and Behavior, Vol 23:4

4. Children who play outside in natural settings are less likely to suffer obesity and less likely to

contract diabetes. - Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2007. CDC funds

registries for childhood diabetes. Press Release from CDC/ National Center for Chronic

Disease Prevention & Health Promotion.

5. Studies have shown that stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces. Even a

view of nature helps reduce stress in highly stressed children. Children with these views also

demonstrate increased attentional capacity - Wells, N.M. & Evens, G.W. (2003). Nearby

nature: A buffer of life stress among rural children. Environment and Behavior (32) 6, pp775-


6. Children who have regular opportunities for free/unstructured play in the out-of-doors

demonstrate greater levels of creativity, cooperation, conflict resolution and leadership. -

American Institutes for Research, (2005). Effects of Outdoor Education Programs for

Children in California. Submitted to the California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA

7. Students who play and learn in outdoor settings perform better on tests, have higher grade

point averages (GPAs) and cause fewer classroom disruptions. - Chawla, L & Escalante, M.

Student (2007). Gains from Place-Based Education. University of Colorado at Denver and

Health Sciences.

8. Ninety percent of active adult outdoor participants were introduced to outdoor activities

between ages of 5 -18. Outdoor Industry Foundation (2004), Exploring the Active Lifestyle


9. A positive experience in nature was a significant factor for those who choose to be active

conservation stewards. Louise Chawla (2006) Learning to love the Natural World Enough to

Protect It.

10. People who are active in outdoor recreation tend to be happier than those who are not.

USDHHS (2002), Physical Activity and Fitness: Improving Health, Fitness, and Quality of Life

through daily physical activity. Prevention Report, U.S. Department of Health and Human

Services, 16(4)

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