Fools in the Forest: It’s Good for You

by Maggie Stoudnour, Environmental Education CoordinatorFools in the Forest viewer

What better way to celebrate the foolish giddiness we all feel when spring arrives in New England than spending a morning outside playing with your kids?

Two years ago, UVLT, in collaboration with Hulbert Outdoor Center, held the first Fools in the Forest event. We lucked out with a sunny day that turned out to be one of the first warm days of the year. UVLT had just completed the development of a curriculum guide specific to our Lyme Hill Conservation Area, and the games and activities in it were put to good use, with nearly 100 children and their families participating.

It was so much fun and such a successful event that we are planning another one for this year.

National wellness best practice standards recommend that children spend at least 60 minutes playing outside every day (this is separate from time spent outside playing sports). Time spent outdoors is proven to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Kids who spend time outdoors are happier and healthier. They are able to release energy, build confidence, reduce stress, develop observational skills, learn to cooperate, practice critical thinking skills, use their imaginations, reflect and ponder. If kids don’t spend time outside, their chances of developing depression, ADHD, obesity, vision problems and behavioral problems increase. With so much of our family time taken up by school, sports, lessons, homework and other scheduled activities, though, it isn’t surprising that 49% of children are not getting their 60 minutes. While outside time is crucial for the healthy growth and development of children, it is also important for the physical and emotional health of their parents (and all other adults).

By the end of winter in the Upper Valley, most of us don’t need any research to tell us that being outside is good for the body and the mind. After a long winter with far too much time spent inside, most of us are more than a little bit excited for spring to arrive.

So grab your boots and your family and come to Fools in the Forest at Lyme Hill Conservation Area on Sunday, March 30. Play games, learn about wildlife through fun activities, hike the trails and celebrate the arrival of spring. The event is from 10-2, and is open-house style, meaning families can come and go as they please…though you should plan to be there for at least an hour so you can be sure to get your 60 minutes for the day. This event is co-sponsored by Hulbert Outdoor Center and funded in part by a grant from the Lyme Foundation.