Kids in the United States spend an average of only four to seven minutes outside each day, according to a 2004 study conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.
That's one of the reasons why the National Wildlife Federation established the Be Out There movement. Parents can now get online and sign up for the new year resolution -- to "Know, Go and Grow in 2010."
Basically, it's a pledge to take your kids outside to play but it also encourages moms and dads to invite their children's friends to come along, to learn more about the benefits of being outdoors and of course, to spread the word about the Be Out There movement. By signing up, you'll get a monthly e-mail with activity ideas and tips to make the outdoors enjoyable for you and your family.
Another resource provided by the NWF is a program called The Green Hour. Every day, kids should get "a bit of time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world," according to the Green Hour website.
Many families in the region already adhere to these principles. We're lucky to live in a part of the world that's relatively clean and surrounded by so much natural beauty. But as our lives become busier, we rush through life and lose that connection to nature and each other. We stop going outside. We get caught up in routines and forget how to play.
Do your children play outside every day?