Go play outside: 9 keys to raising nature-loving kids

Go play outside: 9 keys to raising nature-loving kidsMy parents likely didn’t set out to raise a kid who wanted to be outdoors – it just came natural for them. My dad had a garden, and my mom “put up” everything that was harvested. I, of course, was expected to help, not only with the garden but with the beehives on our property near the adjacent cotton fields in rural Tennessee. We were outside a lot.

Those are fond memories, of course, even though I didn’t particularly enjoy the humid days in the South. But somewhere along there, I learned to enjoy being outside.

I’m now a father, and I’m trying to instill into my three children an even greater love for nature – God’s creation – than I had at their age.

But these are challenging times. A British survey showed that children today spend 10 times more hours watching TV than they do playing outdoors. Another poll showed that only 40 percent of children would rather play outside than inside.

Video games and electronics are a big culprit. Another is decreased open space in urban areas. I’ve begun reading Richard Louv’s 2005 book “Last Child In The Woods,” which examines how we can save our children from what he calls “Nature Deficit Disorder.” His book has me wondering: What can we as parents do to keep our children from becoming indoor hermits?

Continue reading