Growing up in Hawaii, we are surrounded by natural beauty, mostly fresh air, and so much opportunity to go outside and play. I grew up in Hilo where there always seemed to be a empty lot that was over grown. Not sure how legal or safe what we did was, but we would go to these lots, make forts, hide and seek, explore, and really just play. Unfortunately, that is not the story of most kids today. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. but maybe we just need to get outside.
There has been research done to prove the therapeutic and seemingly restorative power of the outdoors. I recently read a book titled, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, and it was really eye opening. The author explores the role nature plays in development of creativity, stimulating imaginations, building resistance to stress and depression, and promoting overall health. This is old data but Kaiser did a study in 2004 and this is what they found. Kaiser researchers found that American children ages eight to 18 spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes a day using “entertainment media,” including TVs, movies, computers, video games, cell phones, and MP3 players. The amount of time kids spent on electronic media had increased by an hour from the previous study in 2004 — and researchers didn’t even include the amount of time kids spend texting in these calculations. I can only imagine what those numbers look like today.
Have you ever been cooped up in the house all weekend, and finally you are like, “get in the car, we are going to the beach.” Maybe it’s the park, maybe it is a simple hike. Your kids drag their feet as they leave their iPads behind and show a look of disapproval on the ride there. Seemingly magical, when you are leaving they have all kinds of energy and really seemed restored, that is the power of the outdoors. Hawaii gives so much opportunity to get outside. I don’t believe this just applies to kids, parents get outside yourself. Rekindle the games of your childhood, dodgeball, 2 square with a crack in the sidewalk as your line, hide and seek, throwing frisbee at the beach as you make miraculous diving catches over the waves. God didn’t create such beauty to be a nice Instagram post, go experience life outside and take your keiki along.
Photo Credit: Outdoor Project