We are raising awareness of the importance for kids to explore the great outdoors. It’s time to put away the video games, turn off the television, shut down the computer, and go explore! Join our #baresolesexplorer challenge! Take off your shoes – then, go for a hike in the woods, a walk at the park, a scenic tour in kayak. You could play a round of volleyball, go bouldering, play in the backyard, visit a monument, run a quick errand or any other activity that gets you active and exploring. Then, share a selfie or group photo from your adventure with the hashtag #baresolesexplorer.
Why should children explore the great outdoors?
Evidence exists that playing video games in moderation can improve skills in children including “processing speed, executive functioning and cognitive flexibility”1. Moderation is the key word. Research by Kaiser Family Foundation shows children’s screen times average 7.5 hours each day with 4.5 hours of this time spent watching television2. Active children who only average half this number will spend appropriately 1300 hours a year in front of a computer, cell phone or television..
Too much screen time can lead to sleep problems, lower grades in school, less time with family and friends, limited physical activity, and less time learning other ways to relax and have fun3. Consequently, the right amount of screen time can offer many positives. Children can familiarize themselves with programming, learn coordination skills, develop workforce skills, and access vast database of knowledge.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children spend under 60 minutes per day on school days and 2 hours on non-school days on electronic devices. Even with these limits, children should have some days with no screen time. Healthy childhoods need surprises! Creative play encourages curiosity, growth of the imagination, exploration of the physical world, and exercise of the mind and body4. Less time in front of the screen gives children more time to go outside and exercise or do other leisurely activities like reading a book, drawing, or painting. Studies have shown that reducing screen time has positive effects on a child’s “physical, social, and behavioral well-being”5.
Being outdoors gives children the opportunity to run, play, and use their imagination. Building a stick fort or a sand castle, siding down a spiraling slide, swinging on a swing, playing on the playground; all stimulate the mind. Taking a hike in the woods is a great way to get away, see new animals, and experience new sights and smells. A road trip to a local historical place or even a lost-in-time roadside attraction offer great learning experiences. A picnic at the local state park or a canoe trip down the local creek encourage real conversations with family and friends. What other ways do you and your family enjoy adventuring?
Who can participate?
Adventuring has no age limit. You, your children, your grandkids, friends, and family can easily participate. Just get out, sightsee, explore, and (don’t forget) to take a picture of everyone having fun! Challenging friends and family is a great way to have fun with a little friendly competition. Challenge your friends, family, coworkers, church small group or youth group, local businesses, sports team, or social media friends.
How do you participate?
Share in person and online!
Help spread the importance of less screen time and more outdoor time for children everyone. Join us in sharing the word by
- Taking an adventure without those pesky shoes.
- Sharing the mission with anyone you meet along the way. Explain your reasons for participating and, if you choose, share our site with them.
- Sharing a photo or video of your adventure online with the hashtag #baresolesexplorer. You can also tag our Instagram @baresoleseplorer or Facebook Page fb.me/baresolesexplorer.
References to online resources have been included in this article. These sites are not affiliated or endorsed by baresolesexplorer.org; however, we encourage you to investigate the information found on their pages and develop your own conclusions.