We islanders got the dry spell we were craving and quickly exchanged our gumboots and umbrellas for sandals and sunglassess. We’ve been celebrating a week of gorgeous weather outdoors and that’s why I’ve been so scarce. The rhododendrons are heralding spring and the green background is punctuated with natural color again. The forecast is for another sunny week and my husband will be home. All is well in my world.
I enjoy the artwork I do with kids year round but I love playing outside with them too. Every summer I get the mega-dose of childlike wonder and wisdom as I and my young friends ‘get lost’ on forest trails and in beach adventures. We play outside all day long. When it comes time to being called to come indoors are reluctant to budge unless food it’s meal time.
- Building forest forest forts;
- Catching frogs in the pond;
- Sailing paper boats down the creek;
- Building sandcastles;
- Flying kites.
How city living affects the brain
Scientists have begun to examine how city living affects the brain. Just being in an urban environment impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. Natural settings, in contrast, don’t require the same amount of cognitive effort. — How the city hurts your brain.
Neuroscientists are examining how urban life can affect brain biology in a way that has a potentially major impact on society — schizophrenia affects one in 100 people. City living marks the brain: study social risk factor for mental illness.
Indoor kids suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder
It’s sad that the terms couch potato parents and indoor kids describe most American families. In a study of 830 mothers PDF,
- 70 % reported playing outdoors every day when they were young, compared with only 31% of their children.
- 85% of these mothers identified their child’s television viewing and computer game playing as the number one reason for the lack of outdoor play.
- 82% of them identified crime and safety concerns as factors that prevent their children from playing outdoors.
It’s time for families to turn off the electronics and move on out into the fresh air. The National Wildlife Federation recommends a “Green Hour” every day. It can be in a garden, a backyard, a park or any place that provides safe and accessible green spaces where children can learn and play. Why not find one and start a nature club for families in your community?
I love feeling the earth beneath my feet. I love being on the beach and feeling the sand between my toes too. I go barefoot at least part of every day year round as my physio recommends it. It’s her opinion that we are crippling our feet with ill fitting shoes and we need to focus more on heaving healthy feet as we age. I became foot focused one year ago this month due to stress fractures.
Did you spend a lot of time outdoors when you were a child? I did and I continue to spend as much time as I can outdoors as I can. How about you?