Get Out and Play!

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This past Saturday was Nickelodeon’s fourth annual Worldwide Day of Play. In honor of that, the Nickelodeon network hosted a three-hour blackout on its channels. An executive decision to get kids off the couch and outside to play, the blackout spotlights childhood obesity and represents a call to action for parents and kids alike to stop channel surfing and start playing in the world outside their windows.

As you may well have noticed, childhood obesity is a growing story on the national news agenda. Many blame technology, including the Internet, video games, and television, for taking kids off the playground and into a sedentary, often isolated, indoor routine. Author and futurist Richard Louv calls this “Nature-Deficit Disorder,” a condition he claims is the result of kids exploring the Internet instead of exploring their backyards.  His books, interviews, and articles highlight an issue beyond the weight and health of the youngest generation–a lost connection between children and their world.

Louv states elegantly and succinctly in his book Last Child in the Woods, “Healing the broken bond between our young and nature is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demand it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depend upon it.”

In today’s increasingly digital landscape, kids must learn how to navigate new technologies and information; but it is also essential for them to learn how to relate to the physical, tangible world. This connection with nature and community will improve kids’ health and help them develop as thoughtful and active citizens in an interconnected world.

For ways to get your kids off the couch and exploring the outdoors, check out My Wonderful World’s Parent Action Kit and our More to Explore list of activities.

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2 thoughts on “Get Out and Play!

  1. Thanks for providing this information, Allyson. “No Child Left Inside” is certainly a worthy cause. My Wonderful World promotes outdoor activity as a way to explore the world and connect with one’s local community.

  2. If you are inspired by Richard Louv’s “Nature Deficit Disorder” theory, take action and ask your Congressman to co-sponsor HR3036 called No Child Left Inside. This legislation will get students outside and will make it possible for teachers to easily learn how to integrate the environment into their curriculum. Environmental Education can be a part of the school day for all students! Please visit for the most up-to-date information.

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