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Having Fun Outdoors in Winter

Nature Deficit Disorder

Have you heard of Nature Deficit Disorder (N.D.D.)? It is the belief that children are losing their connection to nature by being overscheduled “indoor” kids. In fact, as per David Mizejewski of the National Wildlife Federation, “The average school-aged child spends almost eight hours/day indoors in front of electronic media totally sedentary. “   He also states that “childhood obesity rates have sky-rocketed, childhood diabetes is on the rise, and most kids can now name more corporate logos than they can tree or bird species that live in their own neighbourhoods.”

On the flip side, those children who regularly spend time outdoors in unstructured playful activities are healthier. A study done by the National Wildlife Federation concluded that there are so many great by-products of being an “outdoor kid”. They include:

  1. Less likelihood of obesity or diabetes
  2. Less likely to be near sighted or deficient in Vitamin D
  3. Less likely to suffer from allergies
  4. Positive effects on attention deficit issues
  5. Better focus in classrooms
  6. Increased learning/better test score
  7. Increased creativity
  8. Increased decision and leadership skills

So, with the cold winter months upon us, here are just a few suggestions of some fun outdoor activities:

  1. Toboggan (There was a great Calgary’s Child Article on Tobagganing locations in Calgary: )
  2. Build a fort
  3. Skate at an outdoor rink
  4. Make a snow man
  5. Make a snow angel
  6. Catch a snowflake on your tongue
  7. Go snowshoeing
  8. Go skiing (cross country or downhill)
  9. Go Ice Fishing
  10. Go for a night walk in the snow and feel the stillness in the air
  11. Attend the Calgary Winter Festival in February with a Winterfest Carnival at Fort Calgary and a free family fun zone at COP.
  12. Take a sleigh ride
  13. Visit your own backyard and see what birds come to visit
  14. Go looking for animal tracks
  15. Take some winter nature photos
  16. Play the old game Fox and Goose (winter outdoor tag)

Quick instructions for the Fox and Goose Game:

  1. Trample a big circled path in the snow
  2. Next create lines like spokes in a wheel to the centre of the circle
  3. The centre of the circle is considered the “hen house” or safe zone
  4. The “hens” start on the outside of the circle, and the “fox” starts from the centre “hen house”
  5. The fox heads out of the “hen house” to try and tag a “hen”
  6. The goal is for the “hens” to get into the “hen house” before the fox tags them
  7. The first person tagged, then becomes the fox

There are many variations to this game. Use your own creative imagination to design your very own version or even a brand new game.

Here is to each of us exploring the great outdoors and enjoying the healthy results of these adventures. Sending loads of sunshine and faery magic.

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