Spending time outside has so many benefits and Central Oregon offers so much to do. For children, unstructured outside play is critical to effective learning and healthy development. Unfortunately, today’s kids spend significantly more time inside than outside. In fact, the average American child spends 4-7 minutes a day in unstructured play, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.
Family Time Outside means…
Increased Physical ActivityKids need on average 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Improved Mental and Physical Well Being
Kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors.
Being outside reduces stress and fatigue for people of all ages.
Social and Cognitive Development
Outdoor play and learning promotes language development and problem- solving skills.
Connecting kids with nature fosters a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors.
Studies show that in order to develop stewardship behaviors and a love for nature, children need regular time in natural areas close to home with adult mentors.
Family ConnectionBeing outside encourages face to face interaction and connection with each other.
We Can Help Connect Your Family With Nature
The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon offers free events and programs throughout Central Oregon to connect youth of all ages-and their families-with nature. Our family programs strive to instill wonder and curiosity for the natural world at a young age, as well as provide time for parents and children to explore together. Visit the links below to discover opportunities for you to connect with your children, nature, and your community!
What Can Your Family Do?
Make outdoor activities a part of your family’s everyday schedule and be a role model by making outside time a priority.There are many simple, unstructured DIY things you can do to get your children and teens outside and connect as a family. Explore the links below for ideas on how to incorporate family time outside.
Seasonal Activity Ideas
Photo Scavenger HuntMake a list of things to find in nature, photograph them and check them off your list
GeocachingTry the kid-friendly apps Geocaching Intro or GeoBucket and set out on a treasure hunt!
Rain ConcertCreate a rain concert next time there’s a storm in the forecast. Bring your metal pots, pans, and muffin tins outside into the rain and listen to the musical sounds they create!
Learn About FlowersLook at flowers up close with a magnifying lens. Design your own flower based on what you find.
Fort MakingGather natural materials including sticks, grasses, pine needles, and branches. Get some tips here.
Find more ideas at these fantastic websites: