Wild Child

National Wildlife Week is coming, March 15-21, so make plans now to get outside and get the whole family exposed to nature. This year’s Get Wild! Child theme for the week’s nationwide push is: Be Out There at Home, School, and Play. Children and families (yours!) will find magnificent opportunities to spend time together in nature while shutting off the computer games and TV. Kids are more sedentary than ever in our culture, so this week is a great time to initiate, reinforce, and cement into habit the desire to explore and discover while you get outdoors.

Here’s a scary statistic: Today’s average child spends only about 4-7 minutes outside each day! Conversely, 7 HOURS and 38 minutes per day are spent engaged with electronic media (as per the Kaiser Family Foundation). Are you shaking your head as much as I am? When I was a kid, coming indoors was the big bummer. Sure, I loved my Saturday morning cartoons, but even if I was individually a bit unmotivated on a particular day, one or more friends would knock on the door, unexpectedly (but always expected) and ask, “Can Andy come out and play?” We inspired each other to run and chase and play actual or made-up games…to dig holes and build forts…to find bugs and watch clouds. There simply is no X-Box equivalent for that.

The clock springs forward on Sunday, March 14, then the next day, with that extra hour of light, begins the Wildlife Week.

Photo: Charlie Archambault, NWF

You and yours can find endless activities to undertake on your own, and if you want a head start or inspiration, visit the National Wildlife Federation website for resources, ideas, and a “Family Activity Passport” with a week’s worth of plant and animal watch lists and nature-themed games. Then close the laptop, and close the door behind you.

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