As the 30×30 Nature Challenge wraps up and Environment Week and the Commuter Challenge begin, I am happily impressed with the variety of ways that groups and organizations have come together to bring nature more into our lives.
Let me draw your attention to an initiative that is aimed at the little people. My daughter (2yrs) attends Discovery Children’s Centre and is in the middle of participating in the Two Week Outdoor Challenge. This initiative brings to life the importance of getting our kids to spend as much time outside as possible. The idea here is that if we teach our kids to fall in love with nature now, they will work to preserve it in the future. Either two weeks together or a week at a time will be spent entirely outside. That means they eat, sleep, play and get cleaned up outside, rain or shine. The staff work hard to plan and prepare by bringing out cots for naps, installing a temporary outdoor sink and packing everyone’s lunch in an outdoor cooler. Fresh air and creative play are in abundance.
The positive changes and benefits of such a challenge are continuing to inspire me. The behavioral and developmental changes taking place is incredible. Ever notice that when kids are outside, they behave better, they play more and are genuinely happier? Just like a flower, the sun, water and air are exactly what they need to grow! The staff works hard during this challenge, their audacity and devotion shines. I admire what they are doing and the priority they are placing on the benefits of being outside.
Active Healthy Kids Canada just published a report card on physical activity of our children and we are constantly coming up short in active play, meaning unorganized physical activity. We are considered a culture of convenience and our children spend too much time being sedentary. The pressure is on for us to think about new and creative ways to break the cycle of car and digital dependence.
All of this can seem overwhelming when considering all of the pressure that parents already face. How do we break the cycle? What could we possibly do? But the truth is, the more I look around, the more I see that opportunities and initiatives to make change are out there. There are so many amazing and energetic people that are recognizing the problems and are coming up with great solutions. Positive change and social movement is happening. It all comes down to this: the will to change comes from within. This week, try the Commuter Challenge. Consider for one week a different way to get around. Or talk to your kids schools about Active and Safe Routes to School or outdoor classroom challenges. You can’t do it all, but it’s important to remember that we are changing. Little by little, people are coming up with ways to break our bad habits and we will get there.