In my home state of Illinois, the General Assembly has declared June as “No Child Left Inside Month.” With two weeks left in the month, there’s still time to take advantage of many nature-based activites sponsored by by the Leave No Child Inside campaign sponsored by the Chicago Wilderness initiative.
Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance that works to connect people and nature. Over 220 member organizations work together to restore nature, and improve the quality of life for all living things.
Most kids can name the characters in a video game much easier than they can recognize an oak tree or a raccoon. The back-to-nature movement, as featured on the site, is designed to encourage outdoor activity in natural settings, and unplug them from the TV and endless computer game time. Various studies show that increased time spent outdoors raises a child’s physical, social, and emotional development. The Leave No Child Inside effort offers a wide variety of events to connect kids and families. Moreover, many other states have launched similar programs on the local and regional level. Click on the Children & Nature Network site to show listings of state nature campaigns.
It’s crucial that we include trips to a meadow, as well as trips to the malls. The effects of time spent outdoors will go well beyond the contents of a trinket-filled shopping bag.