Letter to the editor, week 28
Summer — the best time to play outdoors
Everyday we hear the words “In this tough economic time…” and we all feel in different ways the impact of the economic crisis. But there is something very important that no one should ever forget—we have to make sure that our children, who are our future, live healthy and valuable lives.
Despite all the difficulties, the tough economic time may open the opportunity to promote the idea of living life close to nature. Why our society needs it? Because as Richard Louv, the author of the famous book “Last Child in the Woods”, wrote: “Nature nurtures creativity”, and “Children need nature for the healthy development of their senses”. The fact that “children ages 3-12 spend 1-percent of their time outdoors, and 27-percent with television, computers, or other electronic media” (Hofferth, Sandra; and Sandberg, John (1999), Changes in American Children’s Time, 1981-1997, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research), raises a wide range of environmental, social, psychological, and physical concerns.
Back in April of this year, six days were designated as “No Child Left Inside Days” in Michigan. A great initiative, but was it enough for promoting the benefits of outdoor recreation? Summer is the perfect time to encourage children to play outside instead of spending the time indoors, in front of the TV or computer. Let’s help our children live healthy and valuable lives by ensuring their safety while playing outdoors. In the local parks or their own backyard, it wouldn’t matter as long as they can explore, observe, experience and learn. For most parents it will be a challenge to drag their children away from TV, computer and video games, but little by little, gradually increasing the time spent outdoors, children will build a habit to play outside and connect with nature. Let’s make this summer, the summer of outdoors play!