Simple as That: Connect With Nature in an Hour a Day – A Green Hour Giveaway

If you could design the perfect learning environment for children, what would it be like?” asks Todd Christopher, co-founder of the National Wildlife Federation’s  Green Hour campaign and author of the new book The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids (Trumpeter – March 2010).

My vision of the perfect learning environment for my own kids is much like what Christopher goes on to describe:

“Certainly, it would need to be engaging – stoking the fires of fascination while at the same time extinguishing boredom.  It would invigorate not just the intellect but the whole child – mind, body, and spirit.  It would activate all of the senses and reward a child’s curiosity with discovery and wonder.  And it would instruct intimately while conveying lessons at a grand scale.”

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Such a place exists,” Christopher assures us, “and it can be found in a nearby park, on a local trail, or even in your own backyard.  The tuition is quite reasonable – even free.”

The natural world is available to us as the ultimate learning environment. With more and more children becoming increasingly “plugged in” to technology and  the idea of of children spending time  outdoors becoming an archaic novelty of childhoods gone by, we can’t afford not to send our kids outdoors.

In his book,  Mr. Christopher discusses star gazing, exploring ponds, rivers, and seashores, going on a “bug safari” and other ideas for taking advantage of all the lessons nature has to offer us.  Getting started is as easy as stepping into your own backyard.

Catching fireflies, making wishes on dandelion clocks, leaf collecting, and chasing summer bugs are in danger of becoming lost arts.  The Green Hour shows parents how to save those skills and introduce a new generation of kids to the wonders that stem from a childhood spent outdoors.

The Green Hour

The National Wildlife Federation recommends that kids have one “green hour” every day. This is a time of unstructured play and interaction with the natural world around them.

The Green Hour’s aim is to get this generation of children away from their computer screens and mp3 players.  Kids and their parents are encouraged to spend time learning about and appreciating the bugs, birds, butterflies, trees, and even the dirt of the natural world around them.

At the National Wildlife Federation website families can:

Simple Kids is happy to join with Todd Christopher and The Green Hour in encouraging families to spend time outdoors together every day.

Turn off the TV, back away from the computer, “unplug” and get out there!

Green Hour Giveaway

My kids and I have been using our copy of The Green Hour this Spring to take full advantage of the perfect learning environment that lies right outside our back door.  This book is like a lesson planner, activity book, and field guide rolled into one – and it is easy to stuff in your backpack, too.  I know you’re going to love it!

I am so excited to announce that in honor of TV Free Week and Earth DayShambhala is very generously giving away a copy of  The Green Hour to TWO Simple Kids Readers!

To enter, leave a comment below and answer one of the following questions: What do  your kids like to do with their “green hours”?  If you aren’t currently getting outside every day, how do you plan to incorporate a daily “green hour” time for your kids into your routine?

This giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 25th at midnight EST. Two winners will be chosen by and the winners will be announced on Monday, April 26th.  Good luck!  This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you.

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at

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  1. we like to play tennis, baseball, kickball, ride bikes, dig for worms, swing, watch the clouds, climb trees, plant flowers, plant a garden, walk the dogs or just enjoy a book under a shade tree.
    .-= Breanna Sackrey´s last blog ..GP’s Garden =-.

  2. We play with water a LOT. Spraying down the raised beds. Accidentally spraying mommy (ha). We also like to look for small creatures. Ladybugs are an exciting find. =)
    .-= Laura Kyle´s last blog ..Taking Care of Mama =-.

  3. I am currently reading Last Child in the Woods and this book would be a great follow-up! My girls (ages 5 & 2) really enjoy being outside and we are blessed to have a great backyard and parks nearby. My oldest daughter’s current favorite activity (it changes often) is loading her baby dolls in a wagon and taking them on an “expedition” in the woods of our backyard. My challenge to myself is to get them out everyday, NO MATTER the weather! I am to prone to stay in when it’s too hot/cold/rainy/etc. and I know they NEED to be out, even if we get muddy. Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Paula@Motherhood Outloud´s last blog ..Great Parenting Advice You Can Actually Follow =-.


  1. […] nature. Space to be quiet and observe is just as important as a place to run and be loud. The book The Green Hour challenges parents to make sure their kids get an hour outside every […]

  2. […] nature. Space to be quiet and observe is just as important as a place to run and be loud. The book The Green Hour challenges parents to make sure their kids get an hour outside every day. In the summertime my goal […]