Send Your Kids Outside

Everybody — especially teenagers — could benefit from time outdoors

George Dillard
Bouncin’ and Behavin’ Blogs


Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

As kids get older, they change in all sorts of ways. They get bigger, of course. Their voices change. They lose their baby fat and start to look more “adult.” They develop more sophisticated senses of humor and understand more about the world. They get their own taste in music and clothing.

Oh, and they stop going outside.

This pattern became very clear in the neighborhood I used to live in. When we moved in, this fairly dense suburban subdivision was populated by lots of families with elementary-age kids. And those kids were outside all the time. Driving home after work always required my closest attention because there were wiffle ball games and children riding bikes in the street. Kids played basketball in the neighbors’ driveway and had endless trampoline sessions in their backyard. The kids would bushwhack down into the woods behind our house to check out the creek or build a fort out of rocks and fallen branches.

And then, year by year, we started to see the neighborhood kids less often. When we did see them outside, they weren’t having fun; rather, they were doing yard work or heading to their car to go somewhere. These teenagers — our kids included — did something a lot of American kids do: they retreated…