Suburbs. They are filled with miles of streets and row after row of copycat houses. It is a place where kids can immerse themselves in the digital world, particularly in the summer, without ever going out to touch the green world. Today is the first day of school for my youngest daughter and it has been a challenge to keep this highly tuned digital kid out in nature and away from full time sit-on-the-butt-in-front-of-the-computer living this summer.
When school begins it becomes even more difficult as the schedule of the typical American student is booked all day and sometimes into the night with extra-curricular activities. Childhood obesity is on the rise as is asthma. My youngest has a condition known as Hypothyroidism, so keeping the little one and my whole family outside touching the natural world and being active is very important for all of my family.
A Few Ideas:
- My kiddo has found a love for Geo-Caching which is like an “outdoor treasure hunt” and combines GPS digital technology with hikes all around our suburban community; it has been a fantastic way to touch nature.
- We all spend time in our garden exploring nature and sometimes just sitting. (Can you see my kiddo and her girlfriend in the above photo of my back yard shade vegetable garden?)
- Spend time photographing birds and other animals in the garden and the surrounding neighborhood. It is surprising how many wild animals abound in suburbia.
- Walk together or ride bikes together as a family after dinner. One such walk recently led us to a pile of clam shells in a local Illinois river bank (see photo right).
- Let kids GET DIRTY in nature – it’s important to be muddy, to be playful, and to learn the cause and effect of what happens when we touch nature.
Find more ideas at the National Wildlife Federation’s “Be Out There Campaign” – it lists dozens of great tips for getting your suburban kids away from the indoor digital world out into nature touching the REAL world all year long.
To learn how to grow this veggie garden in full shade yourself, please follow this link – HOW TO GROW THE GARDEN. Thanks!