anthropology · behavior · culture · environment · Nature

New Research Reveals the Nature of America’s Youth | The Nature Conservancy

Interesting study to keep you motivated while I’m off in the woods:

Kids are spending less and less time outdoors. Why? We’re becoming more and more wired in and dependent on technology:

There is a growing disparity between the time kids spend indoors wired to technology and the time they spend outside enjoying nature. The vast majority of today’s kids use a computer, watch TV, or play video games on a daily basis, but only about 10 percent say they are spending time outdoors every day, according to a new nationwide poll from The Nature Conservancy.Why? Lack of access to natural areas and discomfort with the outdoors are two primary factors identified by the Conservancy’s poll.The poll was conducted from July 28 through August 4, and asked 602 kids between the ages of 13 and 18 about their attitudes toward nature, outdoor activity and environmental issues.

more via New Research Reveals the Nature of America’s Youth | The Nature Conservancy.

One easy solution is to limit electronic time for youngsters, and ourselves for that matter.

And yes I recognize the irony of sharing this information via an electronic-based blog.

behavior · children · community · creativity · health · play

6 Ways To Get Kids Outside And Moving This Summer, suggested by Kaboom

KaBOOM! CEO Darell Hammond
Kaboom CEO Darrel Hammond (told ya' it wasn't the SNL guy!) Image via Wikipedia

It doesn’t really feel like summer here in the Pacific Northwest yet, but we’re already scheduling picnics and camping trips and weddings and all kinds of outdoor activities in hopes of the weather getting nice. But there are more ideas for getting outside than (hopefully not) tedious nuptials or a forced march uphill. Darrel Hammond, CEO of Kaboom (not the SNL guy), has some ideas specifically for families:

Summer should be a time for roaming, discovering and running outside — but unfortunately, for all too many kids, more free time means more screen time and more structured activities.

It’s up to you to ensure that your kids get a healthy daily dose of unstructured outdoor play. Here are six ways to get your children moving, nurture their creativity and provide them with all the rich learning opportunities that outdoor play presents. In the process, you’ll meet new neighbors and contribute to a nationwide movement to save play.

Suggestion #4: Close a street for play. I’ve actually seen several neighborhoods around town grab a permit for the afternoon to close down their street and have a block party. Some cities are probably easier to work with than others, but the idea of a block play party sounds fabulous!

We all need a little push to get out the door (especially when it’s too hot, too cold, too windy, not windy enough, etc.), so having a planned event or project like this can be very useful.

more suggestions by Darell Hammond: 6 Ways To Get Kids Outside And Moving This Summer.

Kaboom! is a play-focused non-profit that is working to ensure that every child has a great place to play within walking distance of their school or home. They certified a playground here on Mercer Island, WA, and are working to install or certify others all over the U.S. Another idea to get your kids out and active: help build a playground!

brain · creativity · design · music

10 Ways to Boost Creativity

This list was compiled by the very talented Lori McNee (@lorimcneeartist) for The Top 10 Blog.

Lori is an internationally recognized professional artist who specializes in still life and landscape oil paintings. She shares valuable fine art tips, art business tips and social media advice on her superb blog FineArtTips.com.

Lori writes: Artists, writers, musicians and even bloggers have a common need to create. But, sometimes we hit a mind block and often find ourselves stressed, overwhelmed and unable to produce original ideas. This happens to me from time to time, so I decided share my top ten ways to boost your creativity.

1. Set aside a time and place.
2. Give yourself a break from technology. (um, but continue reading this blog for more ideas before you take a break!)
3. Try something new.

Read all of her ten tips and why here: http://www.thetop10blog.com/top-10-ways-to-boost-your-creativity/

Mental · Nature

Happiness is Right Outside (PsyBlog)

As anyone living in the gray, wet Pacific Northwest knows, there is something mentally stimulating and rejuvenating to being able to step outside and get a whiff of fresh air, even if it means getting a bit soggy in the process. Now, research has proven just how beneficial it is for mental health:

Hartig and colleagues suggest that being stuck indoors on vacation can limit mental recuperation. On the other hand, when able to roam outdoors, we can exert ourselves at a favourite sport or simply linger in the park. Psychologically, beautiful scenery can distract us from our troubles, help us forget our normal stressful environments and reconnect us to nature.

more via Happiness is Right Outside — PsyBlog.