Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

The Green Hour Connection

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the importance of giving your child a “Green Hour” every day.  For those of you that have no idea what that is (or think that I might be covertly trying to reference illegal activities), the term “Green Hour” was coined by the National Wildlife Federation in 2007.  It’s defined as “time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world.”

C learning about textures at the old house!

The following information was taken from research compiled by the NWF.  If you are interested in reading more, check out their site.  Take a moment to let these alarming statistics sink in…

  • The average American child spends 4-7 minutes of their day in unstructured outdoor play.
  • The average American child spends a whopping 44 hours a week staring at some kind of electronic screen.
  • In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled.
  • The United States has become the largest consumer of ADHD medications.
  • Childhood prescriptions for anti-depressants are on the rise.

Front yard discoveries at our old house!

Now consider this research that shows outdoor time is vital for a child’s body, mind, and spirit…

  • Outdoor play is a key component in building healthy bodies and preventing obesity.
  • Kids who spend a lot of time outside tend to have better distance vision than their indoor counterparts.
  • Offering environmental education programs in school improves standardized test scores.
  • Exposure to natural settings may be widely effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, as well as anxiety and depression.
  • Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.

Cragbaby logging a whole day's worth of Green Hours in at Pilot Mountain, NC earlier this month

That’s why I’ve decided to join the “Green Hour Connection.”  On a regular basis, I’ll be sharing a story about something fun we did during one of Cragbaby’s Green Hour that week.  My goal is twofold – it will hold me accountable for making sure that C regularly gets his “nature” on, and will hopefully motivate others to do the same.  Feel free to leave a comment about an activity, tip, or expperience that you shared with your little green tyke as well – hopefully we can get a discussion going.  And if you don’t have any little Cragbabies of your own yet, please don’t let that shy you away from commenting – in my opinion adults need a Green Hour just as much as the little ones!!!

We’ve only been in Charlotte for 2 weeks but so far we are loving all the green space we are finding around our neighborhood!  Cragbaby’s fave so far has been Davie Park.  C is too little to play on most of the playground apparatuses, but he didn’t let that stop him from trying!  We were there on Wednesday for over an hour, basically just wandering around amongst the playground equipment.  C toddled EVERYWHERE, waving and laughing, exploring all of the colorful poles, tunnels and slides.  He loved watching all the big boys and girls and seeing all the cool things they could do!

What about you?  What was your favorite Green Hour moment of the week?

C having fun at the park!

Tunnels are great for peekaboo!



5 Responses to “The Green Hour Connection”

  1. Kim Humphrey

    Hey Erica. I love reading your updates weekly but somewhere along the way I totally missed that ya’ll were moving! I knew your house was for sale but didn’t realize away from Raleigh was the reason! I hope the move went well and from this post it sounds like adjustments are smooth. Tell Steve hello and I will keep up with “Cragbaby” via the blog. I absolutely love the idea of Green Hour and realize as an adult I desperately need this also! Most days I can hardly wait to get outside and sniff the air after being inside an office all day! What a concept…and totally free! Have a great day and know that even though I don’t comment I truly enjoy your posts! Kim


  2. Kathy Southern

    I LOVE this idea and those statistic are a little scary. This may or may not be the answer, but it’s sure a lot more fun and less dangerous than any other I’ve heard lately, PLUS it’s virtually FREE!


  3. Yay – good for you! We’re taking on the Green Hour challenge as well & I’m sharing our experiences, challenges & fun ideas on my blog. Keep up the fun, mama!


  4. Thanks so much for the comments and encouragement everyone! If we all had a little more Green Hours, I think those statistics would definitely be different!


  5. Kyleigh

    I am so excited that it’s warming up. I can’t wait to get Benaiah outside in the pack n’ play while I work in the garden and flower beds. Kids definitely need to be outside and enjoy God’s creation. It’s good for their imaginations! 🙂


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN