Spend More Time Outdoors with Kids in 2012

As usual, Christmas 2011 was a wonderful day. My grandkids were blest with many amazing gifts and I had the good fortune to watch many of them open the wrappings. It didn't take long however, for me to realize that most of the gifts were "inside" presents.

The average American child spends 55 hours a week with electronic media. Between DVDs to watch, new computers and phones for social networking, electronic games to master, hundreds of channels of cable/satellite to watch on the big screen TV and iPods/iPads for music and/or more movies, children have little or no time to get any exercise or have interface with the natural world. This is especially true during the shortened days of winter.

In 2005 Richard Louv coined the phrase Nature Deficit Disorder, or NDD, in his book "The Last Child in the Woods."

"A lack of routine contact with nature may result in stunted academic and developmental growth. This [is an] unwanted side-effect of the electronic age which can cause attention problems, obesity, anxiety and depression," states Richard Louv in the book.

According to Dr. Laura Markham at, kids that spend significant time outdoors are calmer, happier, less likely to be overweight, healthier, better students and more creative.

So, what is a concerned parent, grandparent or relative supposed to do? How can we help them get their RDDE (Recommended Daily Dose of Exercise)? Allow me to make some

Take a walk. This most…
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