Move Over, Apple!
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Statistics and research studies don’t mean much to kids who are intent on watching TV after a long day at school, so convincing them to play outside instead can be a challenge. Start by taking small steps — right out the door. Go for a walk, play a game of catch, pull weeds from your flower beds. Do whatever feels right.
Although the current outlook for children’s health and well-being may be bleak, this negative trend can be reversed. But apples alone won’t do the trick. Outdoor play and exercise are essential so children and their parents can exchange visits to the doctor’s office for healthier, happier lives.
Don’t go it alone
National programs such as Green Hour and Small Step can help you and your children get moving and have fun at the same time.
—National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour program promotes an hour a day of unstructured play outdoors for children aged 5 to 13. The Green Hour website, www.greenhour.org, offers creative ideas for outdoor exploration that combine experiences in nature with the natural exercise that comes from being outside.
—SmallStep.gov, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focuses on the facts about good health, eating right and exercising, and provides online tools like an activity tracker.
JENNIFER WOODFORD works with Dehavilland Associates, an educational consulting firm.