It May Not Be Enough.
These are some of the words used by prisoners and guards at a maximum security prison in Indiana to describe what it might be like if the prisoners’ outdoor time were cut down to one hour.
Outdoor time is considered a vital part of a prisoner’s day. In most facilities, inmates are given at least two hours a day to spend outside playing sports, exercising, or simply enjoying time spent in the warmth and light of the sun. This time helps inmates stay healthy, both mentally and physically.
So you might be shocked to learn that we are not offering these same benefits to our kids.
Recent studies show that the average child only spends an hour outdoors every day. To make matters worse, one in nine children “have not set foot in a park, forest, beach or any other natural environment for at least 12 months.”
Why is Outdoor Time So Important?
As survivalists and outdoorsmen ourselves, chances are we’re the most likely to encourage our kids to play outside. But the results and benefits can be more far-reaching than even we realize.
— Survival Life (@SurvivalLF) April 25, 2016
Here are a few reasons why outside time is so important for your kids:
- Keeps kids fit and healthy
- Raises vitamin D levels, which benefits the bones, heart, digestive system and many others
- Improves vision
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- Lowers stress levels
- Decreases risk of anxiety, depression and ADHD
- Enhances social interactions
- Schools with environmental education programs score higher on standardized tests in math, reading, writing and listening
What Can You Do?
In this day and age of technology like video games and social media, it might seem more difficult than ever to get kids to play outside. But the truth is, kids still have that natural, God-given curiosity and love of nature that they’ve always had. It’s up to us to foster that love of the outdoors and make our kids lifelong outdoorsmen.
Here are a few great outdoor activities to share with your kids:
- Go for a hike
- Go fishing
- Camp out in your backyard
- Catch fireflies
- Outdoor scavenger hunt
- Learn to identify local plants and animal tracks
- Start a garden
What are your favorite outdoor activities to share with your kids? Let us know in the comments!
And for more tips, be sure to check out our article on Prepping with Kids.