As technology has evolved over the last several decades, it seems that each generation of kids spends less time outside than the previous one. If you think about it, from the time that the Nintendo Entertainment System brought arcades into kids’ living rooms to the current era of smart phones and social media, there are so many more opportunities for children to stay indoors rather than leave the house.
As humans, we weren’t meant to be sedentary. Our distant ancestors were hunter-gatherers and until very recently in history, a lot of recreational activities were conducted outdoors. Now, many distractions exist to keep children sitting in one place for hours every day, leading to many unhealthy kids. Keep in mind that the American Heart Association recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of rigorous physical activity at least three times per week.
With the Summer looming, it is a great time to get your children out of the house and take advantage of the many city and state parks that our state has to offer. Beyond your neighborhood playgrounds and dog parks, try out some of the many free or very-inexpensive parks across North Carolina.
For example, North Carolina offers some of the country’s most unique and beautiful State Parks. These parks offer nature walks, intense hikes, waterfalls, lakes, and rivers for kayaking, and so many other opportunities to have fun. Also, Tripadvisor’s database of city and state parks categorizes our many parks and offers thousands of user reviews and ranks of these parks.
Find some parks and make them “your” parks. Think about incorporating them into your weekly routine with your children. Plan some weekend picnics. Not only does this provide opportunities for activity and exercise, but in sharing these parks with your children, you might rediscover your own childhood joy.