Yes, mom and dad, it might mean turning off your favorite weekend sports show or afternoon soap. It may require that you put off that nap or cleaning the gutters or the 101 other to-do’s you’ve given a little checkbox in the ordering of your daily life. But you could do no better (a possible equivalent might be to read to your child) than taking him or her outdoors for a Green Hour.
We’ve probably missed the mark in our narrow focus on “exercise” and “physical fitness” and organized sports when we should have been looking instead or at least in important addition at promoting pure and plain ol’ play. Some play is physical and burns calories, but some of the best is for the sheer joy of creating adventures and finding patterns and using the imagination outdoors. The latter may be more important than we’ve realized in helping shape our little one’s values and understanding and in the end, their care for our world that they will inherit.
Green Hour is an effort by the National Wildlife Federation to encourage parents, grandparents (and other kinds of grown-up children) to take the time to take their kids out under the sky. I encourage you to join the “Community Corner”–a growing resource of connected adults concerned about the consequences of “nature deficit disorder” on our increasingly denatured kids. See you there!