Adopted Kids Can Learn to Nurture Nature

One of the sadder things I’ve learned from reading foster care family literature—in our family’s gradual search for a female toddler—is that many urban babies (who’ve been neglected or even abused) are anemic and don’t receive adequate Vitamin D because they’re never outside playing in a playground or sunbathing in a sand box.

As I searched for additional stats on domestic adoption and beginning the foster care process of adoption, I found this to celebrate:

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) joins the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to set an unprecedented goal to get 10 million more kids to spend significant time outdoors over the next three years. Working together, they will combat the growing trend toward “lack of green time.”

Research shows children are spending long hours indoors using electronic media, yet they spend only mere minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play. This is affecting the health and well-being of children and is quickly causing a generation of kids who are becoming less healthy and who are disconnected from the natural world around them.

Local park and recreation agencies serve an essential role in preserving natural resources, providing open space and cultivating a connection to nature and the outdoors that can last a lifetime.

“We know that when children spend time outdoors they are more active and their overall well-being improves,” says Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA. “Our nation’s parks and recreation areas are not just a solution for better health, but are the answer to inspiring a healthier generation of youth who appreciate and care for our open space lands and who will engage in environmental stewardship that will benefit our future.”

The 10 Million Kids Outdoors goal encourages kids to get outdoors and explore, play, and learn for 90 minutes per week. This outdoor time excludes time spent outdoors in organized sports, which while beneficial, does not provide children the same benefits as outdoor play in green spaces. By increasing outdoor time to 90 minutes per week, NRPA and NWF believe it will contribute to a significant increase in children’s connection to nature due in part to more time spent outdoors.

What rituals does your family do to play outside together?

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