NRPA is supporting the National Wildlife Federation’s 10 Million Kids Outdoors campaign. This three-year initiative seeks a future in which all children spend time outside each day - creating a generation of happier and healthier children with more awareness and connection to the natural world.
The nature of childhood has changed...there’s not much nature in it. Young people today spend less time outdoors in nature than ever before. A generation ago 75% of American kids played outside daily; nowadays, only 25% do. Children are spending just minutes per day learning and playing outdoors and more than seven sedentary hours per day in front of electronic media.
Childhood as a whole has moved indoors due to various societal shifts in how children spend their time. Increased afterschool activities including homework and sports, shorter or nonexistent recess, lack of access to green spaces and concerns over unsupervised outdoor play have all contributed to today's children spending significantly more time inside than their parents did. This trend is reflected across all demographics and without regard to geographic location. However, children within urban environments, particularly those within under-resourced urban communities, face the greatest barriers to engaging nature through outdoor play and exploration.
Childhood’s indoor trend impacts health and well-being. It’s not just a lost connection with our natural world; it’s a serious public health issue. In the last two decades: child obesity rates have more than doubled, more children are vitamin-D deficient, the United States has become the largest consumer of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medications in the world, and the use of antidepressants in pediatric patients has risen sharply. Studies point to sedentary and indoor lifestyles as contributing factors in these alarming trends.
Park and Recreation Departments Are Key!
Help Get Kids Outdoors
Know! The benefits of providing parks and programming for connecting children to nature through 10 Million Kids Outdoors are many:
- Improve health and wellness;
- Provide quality parks and recreation experiences;
- Foster environmental stewardship and appreciation of nature;
- Raise awareness of the value of structured and unstructured play;
- Ensure safe, affordable and accessible park and recreation opportunities; and
- Position parks, recreation and environmental conservation as essential to every community.
Contact Lori Robertson at NRPA with any questions.