I don’t know how I feel about No Child Left Behind, but I do know that No Child Left Inside is a great philosophy. When I was a kid (ooh, does that make me sound old?) it wasn’t an option. We were sent outside and told don’t come back in until the street lights turn on. Of course, we knew how to bump the ones that mom could see from the house just right so that they went off. Another trick was turning back our watches and protesting, “but my watch says it’s only 6:00.” That one didn’t work as good as knocking out the lights.

Kids need to be kids and that means they need lots of play time, even in the winter. Bundle them up and send them on their way. The possibilities are endless for what they can keep themselves occupied with:

  • Sledding
  • Tag
  • Flashlight tag (it gets dark early)
  • Nature hike
  • Build Frosty
  • Snow angels
  • Skating
  • Skiing
  • Snow shoeing
  • Cut the pie
Most local and state parks have a No Child Left Inside program to help make it fun. You can find one near you by searching their website. Here are two helpful websites I found for Southeast Michigan.
http://michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10369_45551—,00.html – Department of Natural Resources has great tips, ideas, and even recipes for snacks
http://dkwio.org/wordpress/ – Danielle Karmanos has founded a group called Work It Out to help children make healthy choices and exercise
There are many reasons why kids need to get outside. One is to create healthy habits early that will continue into their teen and adult years. It is much easier to introduce new activities to someone who is already active then to try and get a couch potato to change their ways. It is also a deterrent to childhood obesity and diabetes.

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