For this article we interviewed Pamela Ellgen, a Certified Personal Trainer and cookbook author in Santa Barbara, CA. Pamela has worked with kids as young as seven and enjoys motivating them and their parents toward a healthy and active lifestyle in the gym and outdoors.
…introduce a variety of outdoor activities to your family.
1. It Starts With You A recent study by The Outdoor Foundation finds that most youth are introduced to outdoor activities through their families; however, participation in outdoor recreation has dropped by 17 percent in the last three years. So parents, it’s up to you. Do your part to instill a love for outdoor recreation in your children. Try reading these books with your kids to help instill a love of nature:
2. Make Time for a Green Hour The National Wildlife Federation encourages children and parents to engage in one hour each day of unstructured play outdoors. Visit the federation’s website for additional tips: http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Be-Out-There
3. Get Online and check out resources offered by your local parks and recreation department. Even in small cities, you’ll find activities offered nearly every day of the week, especially as the weather turns warmer.
4. Plan a trip to state park for a day or even an overnight camping trip. Early, positive experiences such as these will go a long way toward building an appreciation for the outdoors in your children.
5. Climb Trees Believe it or not, tree climbing is an actual sport with classes and safety precautions. Check out the website http://www.treeclimbing.com/ to find out how you can encourage this age-old favorite among children and keep them safe at the same time.
6. Dig in the Dirt and learn a little about geology in the process. Encourage kids to catalog types of soil and rocks that they find.
7. Volunteer to clean up a local park or hiking trail. Not only will this bring your family together outdoors, but also you will model the importance of environmental stewardship and conservation.
8. Play it Safe by educating your self and your children with respect to dangerous plants and insects. Also, ensure your children have access to and use safety equipment, such as helmets and protective padding for outdoor sports.
9. Become a Member of Outdoor Nation: http://www.outdoornation.org/ and connect with other children and families who are heading outside this spring.
10. Read “Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids – A Guide to Getting Your Kids Active in the Great Outdoors” by author Eugene Buchanan. It will provide everything you need to know to introduce a variety of outdoor activities to your family including: paddling, hiking, climbing, swimming and many others.