Get Kids Outside! What is Nature Deprivation?

The average child spends LESS THAN 10 MINUTES each day outside for unstructured playtime. At the same time, we watch as the children we serve face increased stress levels, mental health issues, rising levels of obesity and huge amounts of time spent on computers and other devices.

pexels-photo-11523Nature Deprivation happens when children (and adults, too!) aren’t spending enough time outside and face negative physical, mental and behavioral health consequences because of it.

How can we help families work on this?

> Listen to this new Parenting Today segment on Nature Deprivation with iHeartRadio, featuring SCAN Executive Director Sonia Quinonez and special guest Tracy Hannigan from the Recreation Services Division Chief for Prince William County Parks & Recreation.

> Connect with your local Parks and Recreation Center to find outdoor space, trails, programs and much more. In Northern Virginia, you can find Parks and Rec services in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudoun, ManassasManassas Park and Prince William.

> Follow the Children & Nature Network on Facebook to learn more about the research and science behind Nature Deprivation, as well as helpful ideas, activities and opportunities happening in other communities.

> Remind parents that they will benefit from fresh air and activities too! Ask parents how they can “unplug” with their kids, while spending quality time together and being physically active. It’s a win-win-win! Download our Unplug with Your Child fact sheet in English or Spanish for guidance and ideas.

Have you seen children and families benefit from more time outdoors, more fresh air and more activities in the great outdoors? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below.

Stay Cool This Weekend + Fancy Free Friday


Image by photon_de via Flickr

This weekend’s heat wave may have ruined your plans to lounge on the beach or wander around the zoo, but you don’t have to melt outside in order to have a fun weekend with your family.

Our Kids has a great list of indoor activities for kids in the DC area. From paint your own pottery stores and indoor pools to museums and indoor play areas, Our Kids has something that kids from all age levels will enjoy. Plus, the site has extensive reviews of each location, so you know exactly what to expect. If that’s not enough, check out this article to learn five other ways to beat the heat in Northern Virginia.

Make your picnic that much fancier with this picnic backpack

Fancy Free Friday is back! Going along with the theme of family-friendly activities, this week’s giveaway is an elaborate “Picnic Plus” backpack. With plates, cups, silverware, salt and pepper shakers, and even a cheese board, this backpack has everything you need for a picnic feast. But you might have to make it an indoor picnic until the temperature drops a few degrees.

Just like last week, all you have to do is leave a comment to be entered to win. But if you have your heart set on being the envy of every picnic-goer at the park, you can double your chances of winning by subscribing to BuildingBlocks. Either way, leave us a comment and let us know your tips for staying cool and having fun with your family. Check back on Monday to see who won!

-Jenna Temkin