According to the National Recreation and Park Association, kids today spend far less time playing outdoors than any previous generation. On average, a child in 2018 devotes from four to seven minutes daily on unstructured outdoor play and spends about 7.5 hours in front of a digital screen.
Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, as well as a father of two, recently wrote in the Washington Post about the importance of kids spending time in nature. Among the benefits of doing so, he cited better school performance, more creativity and friends, less hyperactivity, a longer life span and a healthier adult life.
“One of the best things we can do for ourselves and our children,” he noted, “is simply opening the door and stepping outside.”
Easier said than done for super-busy parents, though, especially when both work outside the home. But a subscription to the aptly-named Think Outside Boxes might make nature outings with your kids easier to arrange and provide a great new way to have fun.
Think Outside is planned as a one-year program, with a box arriving each month to tackle a specific theme: navigation, weather, first aid, shelter, wildlife, water, knots and more (12 themes in all). The boxes, geared to kids aged 7-14, come with a 16-page booklet that’s chock-full of facts, resources and skill-building guided activities about that month’s theme.
But that’s not all. Also included are two to five pieces of quality gear such as a compass, firestarter, LED headlight, dry bag; water-resistant resource cards; and an outdoor challenge for the whole family to accomplish as a team. The first box comes with a lightweight packable daypack (you get to choose the color) to hold all the gear to come.
Subscriptions run from $31.95 to $34.95 per month. thinkoutsideboxes.com