Meandering along a forest trail, splashing in a creek, observing insects, birds and other woodland creatures on their home turf – spending a day in nature can be an adventure from dawn till dusk.
Exploring the great outdoors can be more than a good time; it can be good for you – especially for kids. According to the National Wildlife Federation, children who spend time in nature have increased fitness levels, score higher on standardized tests and have lower stress levels than children who spend their time indoors.
The average American child, however, spends as little as 30 minutes of unstructured time playing outside each day and more than seven hours in front of a screen. The result is an effect labeled “nature deficit disorder” by Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” and co-founder of the Children & Nature Network.
Nature play doesn’t come naturally to everyone. That’s where the Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside Summit comes in. Teachers, industry professionals and families are invited to discover new ways to connect children to nature during the sixth annual summit on March 11, at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave.
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