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Take a Child Outside Week

When I was growing up, we spent more time outside than inside. While this was indeed before the days of Game Boys and iPods and the like, there were still children?s programs on television. We just chose against watching them, in favor of a bright, sunny day where we could go to the park or just run around the backyard, until the street lights came on and we were all called back into our respective houses by our parents.

Take A Child Outside Week takes place in the United States September 24-30, 2008.It is a program initiated by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, designed to get kids back outside and discovering the natural world. By arming parents, teachers and other caregivers with resources on outdoor activities, the goal is to help children across the country to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live, and an enthusiasm for its exploration. The program asks that parents take their children away from the television or other electronic devices and outside for just 30 minutes each day.

There are myriad benefits to children?s playing outside, including the connection to the natural world, keeping kids focused in school, and reducing the likelihood of obesity.

So take a child outside to play! For structured play ideas, take the kids to the park and play on the playscapes and push each other on the swings. Or you could take a hike, visit the local zoo, or take a trip to the lake for a canoe ride, a swim, or to fish. Even better, stay close to home and explore your own neighborhood or backyard. Take the kids around and identify different types of trees or flowers in the area, and see who can come up with the most. Or look at the fall colors if you live in an area where the leaves are turning, and see how many different colored leaves each person can collect.

If your children see you enjoying the outdoors, they?re more likely to feel positively about it as well. Share the experience with your children and help them to experience the joys of the outdoors.

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