Chipper suggests that everyone, not just parents, have a daily “green hour” scheduled into their day. If you feel a little overwhelmed by that, start out with a bi-weekly “green hour” or try 15 minutes of outdoor play-time per day, everyday! The key here is to put nature on the calendar so that spending time in nature becomes a habit instead or a rare occasion.
The National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their kids a daily green hour–time set aside every day to play outside and interact with the natural world. This time should be unstructured (no rules) and fun! If kids are reluctant or want to play their video games instead, show then how fun it is by joining them. Have them collect natural artifacts and discuss them or listen and identify all the sounds you hear outside! Get to know local tress and animals so you can test each other. There’s so much fun to be had outdoors if you just get them out there!
Even on a rainy day, you can still get out and play together as long as you’re dressed for the weather. As E.E. Cummings wrote, the world is “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful.” Being prepared to go out doors is always a good idea! Chipper has lots of great tips and activities to try outdoors in past and future blogs or check out GreenHour.org. In 2007, the National Wildlife Federation launched GreenHour.org, an online resource providing parents the inspiration and tools to make the outdoors a part of daily life. There are many ideas there to inspire you and the kids!
Scheduling your green hour with another family can also help you time manage. Arrange a regular “Outdoors Date” with one or two other families with kids around the same age. Depending on weather and the ages and interests of your participants, this could be as simple as meeting at the playground every week or month, or something heartier, like a series of hikes or an ongoing flag football game. Do the same thing every meeting or let a different participant choose each meetings activity. Or just let the kids play with no plan! The important thing is that once it’s on the calendar, and others are depending on you, you’re less likely to make excuses and skip it. Make it a family affair by inviting grandparents, cousins, and other family members to join in. Nature is a great place to connect with family and enjoy each others time. Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors today!