CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With schools out and many camps canceled this summer due to COVID-19, families are looking for ways to get their kids outdoors. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has launched an “Outside Every Day Challenge” – from now until mid-July, it’s calling on parents and caregivers to spend outdoor time with children every day for at least 30 minutes.
Mary Bures, the director of the federation’s Great Outdoors University, says the new coronavirus has caused a spike in anxiety and financial worry, making it even more important to boost mental and physical health for parents, as well as getting physical activity into kids’ regular routines.
“It’s also the most critical time for people to connect with the natural world, because the outdoors provide such tremendous stress relief and comfort,” says Bures. “And it’s also a lot of fun. It’s good memories that can be built together as a family.”
Research has shown children are spending more time sitting and staring at screens, and less time moving their bodies, as the pandemic lingers. One study of kids in Shanghai, China, found their sedentary time had nearly doubled since the start of the outbreak.
More information about the Challenge is on the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s website.
Bures says the Challenge includes a variety of different learning activities adults and kids can do together outside, such as learning how and why wildlife camouflage themselves in nature.
“So those would include both videos that we’ll provide, as well as webinars and some activities that we’ll email to you, that you can do at home,” says Bures.
She adds participants can share their outdoor experiences on social media, and also have the option to sponsor a Great Outdoors University day-trip adventure for a child who might not otherwise get the chance. She says for every $50 raised, one child will experience a day in the great outdoors.