Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are Your Kids Outside?

A quote I recently stumbled upon:

Most children in the US spend only 30 minutes of time a week in unstructured time in the out-of-doors, whereas the average 10-16-year-old spends over 30 hours a week in front of some kind of electronic screen.

Not my children!

Thank the Lord!

Only by God’s grace are we different.

My brother-in-law has a saying, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

But…those statistics are staggering, don’t you think?

My boys have been spending hours putting a room addition and closet on their tree fort.

My 10 year old spends hours helping me in the garden. Because my back was in a kink, he was responsible for planting almost all of our potatoes. He runs the roto-tiller, hoes, weeds, and plants. And he loves doing it.

Here's a picture of half of our potato crop.

My 7 year old spends hours a day looking for critters to feed his pet lizard, building things, and just otherwise getting dirty.

But that is not all. Because we fostered this love for the out-of-doors, my adult children spend many hours outside as well.

My 16 year old works for a landscaper. When he’s not working or playing his guitar, he’s riding his bike long distance over country roads.

In fact, most of my adult children’s leisure time is spent out of doors.

Even if you live in the city, there are ways to get your children occupied outside. There are parks, biking trails, even your own backyard to explore. If you have nothing more than an apartment balcony, then for their sake, buy some pots, potting soil, and seeds and start a container garden. Get a Styrofoam cooler and start an earthworm bed. If you grow enough to sell, you’ve not only taught your children to play in the dirt, but entrepreneurial-ism as well.

Turn off the TV, computer, cell phones, iphones, smart phones, ipads, Wii, and all the x, y, zcontraptions I failed to mention and go outside! And then report back here and let us know what you did.

Food for thought,


  1. NOT MINE EITHER! we encourage our kids to get out and get some air. run around and be kids. well, they also help out with the outside chores. my son would sit in front of the tv if allowed but he has gotten to where he doesn't even ask any more...he knows what my answer will be. we do not even own any electronic games. television and dvd player and of course the computer. Thanks for sharing Carol! sounds like your garden is coming along nicely.

  2. Thanks for sharing Monica. I say we don't have a TV, but we do have an old broadcast one (that gets no channels) hooked up to an old VCR. We also watch dvd's on the computer. But those times are infrequent. I think we are all much healthier for it.

  3. My kids were always outside too. They had their inside activities, but they always found something to do outside. Even though they are in their 20's now, they all still enjoy outdoor activities.

    Have a good weekend!


  4. Maybe these statistics would not be the norm with homeschooled kids? I don't know for sure but that's my hunch. I know that public schools do not have recess (free unstructured time outside) anymore. So once a child gets home, does chores, practices piano, and checks his Facebook page, how much time is left?