It should really be “Take a Child Outside Year” but a week is a good start. Ideally, children should be able to spend time outdoors in nature close to home and on their own. But as Richard Louv noted in his book “Last Child in the Woods,” that’s less and less likely to happen without some conscious effort.
So when Liz Baird of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences invited Missouri and other states to join in a “Take A Child Outside Week” Sept. 24-30, we were happy to do so. We added a few of our nature centers to their website as destinations for Missouri families. It really shouldn’t require a much of a trip, though. Just take your child for a walk to explore nature close to home, go fish at a nearby pond or pack a picnic and head to a park. It doesn’t have to be complicated—it just has to happen.
The Missouri Department of Conservation’s “Discover Nature” programs are focused throughout the year on helping kids and adults make those outdoor connections—whether it’s through schools, nature centers, outdoor education centers or at home. With childhood obesity at an all-time high, with known healthy benefits of time spent outdoors, there’s no time to delay.
So start today simply by taking your child outside to look, to explore. We’ll be here throughout the year to help you find new ways to make it a healthy habit.