Leisure Ledger January - April 2018

Did you know that American children spend an average of 10 minutes each day in outdoor play? 10 minutes a day! As you might suspect, this is a fraction of the time that kids spent playing outdoors 20 years ago, and most of the time that was spent outside has been soaked up by screen time—children in front of phones, tablets, computers and televisions. Playing outside in nature is vital to childhood development—not to mention physical health. Inventing games and establishing rules helps kids hone their social skills. Unstructured play with natural materials sparks a child’s imagination and creativity. Accomplishments bolster self-confidence, and failings teach them how to handle adversity. Nature play is a time-tested way for children to find their own paths and learn how to get along with others. If playing outside is so beneficial, then why are children doing so little of it? Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, believes there are 5 barriers to nature play. First, America is growing more urbanized, and our cities’ growth is without adequate natural areas and access to them. Second, many parents are afraid to let their children play in the woods and creeks. Third, technology dominates every aspect of our lives (children and adults alike). Fourth, we no longer consider nature play as an enriching activity. Fifth, nature often is seen as the problem (e.g. climate change, species extinction) and not the solution. This is why the City of Oaks Foundation is busy conserving natural places around Raleigh and providing scholarships to help children participate in the City’s incredible summer camps and nature programs. Through our Raleigh, Naturally land conservation program, we work with landowners who want to leave a legacy by setting aside their forests, farms, gardens and streams as conservation land. Our Give Play initiative strives to remove cost as a barrier for children’s participation in the nature play programs Raleigh offers. Support the City of Oaks Foundation with your tax-deductible contribution and help reverse our nature deficit. For more information: visit www.cityofoaksfoundation.org call us at (919)996-4773 , or send us mail to: City of Oaks Foundation 222 W. Hargett Street, Suite 608 Raleigh, NC 27601 The City of Oaks Foundation, a great outdoors for a great Raleigh! City of Oaks Foundation urges children to get outside