Friday, September 4, 2009

Playing in the Rain: Connecting Children with Nature

These past few months in Phoenix have been hot. Yes, we've been biking to school, and have at times stopped to play in a park, and on relatively cool evenings we've read books out on our patio. But we haven't been outside simply for the enjoyment of being outside much lately.

Last night, as I was getting the children ready for bed, I heard the strangest sound. It took a few minutes to figure it out. It was rain! So, half-dressed in their pajamas, I compelled my children to play on the patio in the rain. (They insisted on having their coats and hats on.) It was beautiful. There was lightning in the distance. We watched the water drip from the roof. We watched and listened and enjoyed. After it had stopped, we came back in to finish getting ready for bed.

Enter Green Hour, a website sponsored by the National Wildlife Foundation.
The National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their kids a "Green Hour" every day, a time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. This can take place in a garden, a backyard, the park down the street, or any place that provides safe and accessible green spaces where children can learn and play.
The site states that today's children rarely get outside, and are disconnected from nature. The environmental repercussions of said disconnect with nature are enormous.

There are so many things we have to do every day, but maybe we can do some of them outside. Somewhere pretty. Whether it's having a picnic for dinner, reading or studying under a tree, going for a walk, playing or vacationing, we can live more intentionally. Outside.

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