Leave No Child Inside
Lake County Parks "LEAVE NO CHILD INSIDE"
American children have changed how they spend their playtime and, as a result, their relationship to nature and the outdoors. Today's digital era, compounded by loss of green space to development, has left kids plugged in and tuned out to nature, opting instead for time online or with a cell phone.
In his groundbreaking 2006 book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, journalist Richard Louv cited kids' lack of direct experience with nature as largely to blame for alarming increases in obesity, attention deficit disorder and poor social skills. As an example, since the 1960s, when the amount of time children spent outdoors began to decrease, the percentage of obese youths has tripled. Louv's book has sparked a national movement to inspire parents to lead their children back into nature.
The Lake County Parks and Recreation Department is taking action to reverse the trends created by children's disconnection from nature. Lake County Parks joins Chicago Wilderness to launch a regional initiative called Leave No Child Inside, with the goal of improving children's health and fostering generations of children who care enough for nature to protect it.
With Leave No Child Inside, Lake County Parks joins hundreds of other organizations that are members of the Chicago Wilderness consortium, an alliance of more than 200 public and private organizations working together to protect the Chicago region's natural spaces, help conserve the diversity of plants and animals, and enrich local residents' quality of life. Throughout the Leave No Child Inside initiative, Chicago Wilderness will offer workshops for educators, opportunities for partnerships among consortium and community organizations, and efforts at the state and federal levels to support outdoor programs for children.
Lake County Parks and other Chicago Wilderness members are experts in connecting children and adults to nature. With Leave No Child Inside, our goal is to promote children's health through outdoor play and exploration, and foster caring for nature in today's children and future generations. Some of the goals of the Leave No Child Inside initiative are to encourage children’s curiosity about nature and to engage them in outdoor nature exploration and discovery. As a member of the Chicago Wilderness initiative, the Lake County Parks is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle for our youngsters.
One of the greatest gifts you can give children is your love of nature and the outdoors. Children need regular time outdoors, so visit one of your Lake County Parks with your kids to experience something new every time the weather changes. We offer wide open, natural places where your children can run, have fun, and play safely. Let your kids take the lead – with their natural curiosity, they will quickly find something to explore.
“It's time to give our kids a break from the TV and computer and get them back outside. Chicago Wilderness and its more than 240 members invite you to Leave No Child Inside. Together, we can promote a culture in which children enjoy and are encouraged to be outside in nature, and as a result are healthier, have a sense of connection to their place, and become supporters and stewards of local nature.
Take your kids outside and skim stones, count butterflies or go fishing. Get outside with them and look, listen, touch, and smell. Let your kids take the lead – with their natural curiosity, they will quickly find something for the family to explore. Enjoying the outdoors with your children is a fun and healthy way to spend quality time with your family. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to share your love of nature,” (from the website of Chicago Wilderness http://www.kidsoutside.info)
The role of parks and open space in early childhood development as presented by Sandra Basala, Ph.D. and Jennifer Wright, Ph.D. at the Indiana Park and Recreation Association's annual state conference January 18, 2012 (PDF format)
Links to resources (PDF format)
For reservations and more information about the Lake County Parks Call 219-769-PARK
Mon-Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm Central Time (Chicago Time)
Lake County Parks and Recreation Department Corporate Office
8411 East Lincoln Highway, Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Just west of Deep River WaterparK 4.5 miles east of I-65 on Route 30