Take the kids outside! Nature is good for them!
In order to develop an appreciation and love for the environment, children need to explore and learn about nature. Furthermore, studies have shown that contact with nature is essential for children’s health and development. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children need free, unstructured play and discourage passive entertainment such as TV, and video games. Places such as playgrounds, local parks, beaches and nature walks are all ideal places to encourage exploration and discovery of nature’s richness.
To celebrate Earth Day 2010, we have gathered a list of resources to help you and your family discover the beauty and benefits of nature:
This website offers parents, youth, civic leaders, educators and health-care providers access to the latest news and research in this field as well as practical advice, including ways to apply new-found knowledge at home, at school, in work environments, and in the community.
- Children's Health and Nature Fact Sheet by National Environmental Education Foundation
This fact sheet addresses children's health issues such as obesity and diabetes and offers sisightful information about reconnecting children to nature as a way to prevent those serious health conditions.
Through its programs, including the award winning Outreach Discovery Program, Tykes on Trails Program, Kids Leading Kids, and Family Walks, this organization connects nature to the everyday lives of children by incorporating parents, grandparents, and teachers into the learning process.
This conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Check out their "Earth Day To-Do List."
This national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engages millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.
This website offers great environmental educational programs for
health educators and teachers with the goal of reducing energy use,
protecting nature, and improving the health of children.
This site will help you find all sorts of nature activities, plus
tools to help guide and plan your adventures. You’ll also find useful
tips and information to help you get into nature.
- Urban Nature Watch by Smithsonian National Zoological Park
This website offers a collection of seasonal urban nature pieces,
covering topics such as migratory birds, how groundhogs help the
ecosystem, nighttime wildlife, poison ivy, why turtles sunbathe, and
wildfire-friendly fall clean-up.