The Benefit of the Outdoors: Screens vs. Greens

Screens vs. Greens - How your kids can benefit from getting outside

Last week my son asked me what I watched on YouTube when I was his age. I actually took a moment to think about what I watched before I remembered I was a product of the 80’s and my childhood was fairly tech-free. I had a bike and I had freedom. It was enough.

This Generation Is Not Getting OutdoorsScreens vs. Greens - How your kids can benefit from getting outside

I have put in some work on making sure our kids get outside. Our backyard space is full of toys, adventure, and BUGS. The older kids have a perimeter in our neighbourhood where they are allowed to explore on their own, we ride our bikes as a family. But I know that they spend a lot of time indoors as well. When I was there age I left the house in the morning and didn’t want to come home at night. This is not happening in my house, with my kids, right now and according to a study done by Nature Valley more than half of Canadians feel they spend less time outdoors than their parents did (54 per cent) and that they don’t get enough outdoor time (53 per cent).

Benefits of Getting Outdoors

I am a work-at-home-mom and I can really get in a groove when I sit down at the computer but I really recognize the importance of unplugging and going out. I’ve made it a habit to put away my phone on the weekends and enjoy my time off outdoors

Nature Valley shares a common belief that there is amazing joy in reconnecting with Nature. Nature has no favourites, it’s a perfect place for people of all ages. It has a power like nothing else to bring us together, calm, energize, invigorate and uplift us in amazing ways. Nature is pretty amazing and it doesn’t cost a penny to enjoy.Screens vs. Greens - How your kids can benefit from getting outside

Instilling a love of nature early in a child’s lives has many benefits including giving them an appreciation of nature that is nurtured as they grow. They become adults who find nature relaxing. Nature Valley’s survey showed that 32% of parents see running around outside as great cardiovascular exercise and a key benefit to getting the kids outside. I see the outdoors as yet another place to take my kids so that they tire themselves out and fall asleep easier at night.Screens vs. Greens - How your kids can benefit from getting outside

Plus when my kids go outside their imaginations take them far beyond the confines of our backyard or local park. They learn to climb trees and search for bugs. They pick flowers and get dirty. They enjoy their childhood, carefree.

Facing the Barriers

Just because we know all of these amazing benefits of not only getting our kids but ourselves as well, outdoors doesn’t mean we put on our shoes and head out.

Time in nature isn’t a priority – it’s often taken for granted because it’s “always there.” Key barriers include:

  • Societal Pressures – According to Nature Valley research, parents feel tremendous societal pressure to enroll their kids in organized, structured activities, instead of letting them play freely in nature. As a result, scheduled activities tend to fill up kids’ free time – in addition to dinner time, homework time and bed time.
  • Canadian weather – 52 per cent of Canadians claim they are dissuaded by Canadian weather being too hot or too cold and concurrently because they do not like bugs (24 per cent). This suggests that we tend to favour the indoors because it’s more ‘comfortable’ than being outside.
  • Not enough time / too tired – A feeling that getting out in nature requires packing up the car and driving somewhere far away. Canadians also deprioritize exploring nature because they are “too tired” (27 per cent).
  • Technology/screens – Canadian children are spending three times more time indoors on digital devices than they do outside. They’re missing out on the numerous and significant benefits that come from spending time in nature. When asked what the largest barrier is to spending time outdoors, 35 per cent of Canadians under 18 said they’d prefer to spend their time with technology, such as social media & gaming.

    Screens vs. Greens - How your kids can benefit from getting outside

How Do We Have Nature Moments?

It can be hard trying to tempt the kids outdoors when there is shelter, air conditioning and all of the tech they could possibly want at home.

Nature Valley has compiled a list of 100 #NatureMoments for 100 Days of Summer. They have fun daily prompts on their website or you can download the whole list and pick and choose what you want to do each day. According to the survey Nature Valley took 83% of Canadians have a park close to home yet as many as 40% don’t get outside every day even though 53% want to.

Screens vs. Greens - How your kids can benefit from getting outsideAs parents we can simply lead by example, help nurture the love of nature our kids naturally have and make getting outdoors a priority.

Plus make sure you visit NatureValley.ca to access their list of 100 Nature Moments for 100 Days of Summer to get inspired.


We are partnering with Nature Valley to provide on of our readers a Nature Moments prize including a sandcastle set, bubbles, chalk, inflatable ball, frisbee, beach mat, a kite, jump rope as well as a selection of Nature Valley products. Open to Canada and ends August 11, 2017.

Nature Valley Prize Pack

Nature Moments

This post is in partnership with Nature Valley. All opinions are our own.
Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. kathy downey
    August 4, 2017 / 8:12 am

    Our kids can get back in touch with nature buy doing our hikes and collecting beach glass!

  2. Janet M
    August 4, 2017 / 10:34 am

    I think modeling and taking them for walks and hikes and showing that you enjoy nature is the best way.

  3. Deena Resnickoff
    August 4, 2017 / 10:39 am

    I think growing fruits and vegetables is a wonderful family activity that teaches children about nature.

  4. Sabrina Tong
    August 4, 2017 / 10:43 am

    My daughter did explorer walks with her kindergarten and we’ve tried to continue doing them throughout the summer. We go out and observe the sights and sounds of the animals as well as how foliage is changing, with some bug hunting thrown in for good measure.

  5. Alison Braidwood
    August 4, 2017 / 11:12 am

    I’m lucky to live in a town with easy access to lakes, beaches and walking trails. We also head out into the bush to pick wild blueberries on a regular basis at this time of year.

  6. Michelle W
    August 4, 2017 / 11:25 am

    We camp and hike!

  7. Piroska
    August 4, 2017 / 11:26 am

    Here in NW Ontario, nature and the outdoors is at the forefront. Lots of walking and going to the lake for boating, fishing, swimming. And loads of wild blueberries to pick! I also love to garden, so my little granddaughter helps me plant and deadhead and weed. Learning while having fun.

  8. Erika Letson
    August 4, 2017 / 11:31 am

    I like to get my kids in touch with nature by getting them to help with our veggie and flower gardening. They love to help!

  9. krista gould
    August 4, 2017 / 11:41 am

    Camping and hiking

  10. Robyn Bellefleur
    August 4, 2017 / 11:45 am

    We going on hikes and pick up any garbage we see along the way.

  11. latanya
    August 4, 2017 / 11:59 am

    We get up early on Sat. mornings and walk a trail near our home

  12. Lucy
    August 4, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    Spending more time playing outdoors!

  13. Cheyenne
    August 4, 2017 / 12:49 pm

    Fruits and Veggies are VERY important ! Couldent love this artical anymore

  14. Florence Cochrane
    August 4, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    It is important to get the kids outside camping and exploring nature. It is important for them to learn to appreciate our country and how we can help maintain its beauty by helping keep it clean.

  15. Marlene J
    August 4, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    Exploring the outdoors – birds, trees, bugs, flowers – getting to know them, going to the farm, park, water etc

  16. Joyce S
    August 4, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Our kids have always liked to hike, go boating especially since we live on a farm there is always outdoor activities.

  17. Denise M
    August 4, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    Kids can easily get me in touch with nature because they are always asking to go out and play at the park. It is easy to get outside when you have kids.

  18. Rosanne Robinson
    August 4, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    We enjoy canoeing, bike rides through trails & forests, growing tomatoes, herbs, & flowers.

  19. Erin W
    August 4, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    We make the outdoors fun. A game we love is “How many different colour funguses can you find?” It’s important to keep them engaged out there!

  20. Jenny Major
    August 4, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    We go for lots of walks

  21. ivy pluchinsky
    August 4, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    By going for walks, hiking, camping, and just exploring the great outdoors

  22. nicky
    August 4, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    By playing on the beach and observing sea life in tide pools!

  23. Lynda Cook
    August 4, 2017 / 4:54 pm

    Just getting outside and going on natural hikes and playing I spy and scavenger hunts is some fun ideas!!

  24. Jonnie
    August 4, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    We love spending time at the lake, fishing, swimming and exploring the area. The kids forget all about technology when they are out there.

  25. erin
    August 4, 2017 / 5:06 pm

    simply take them outside!! limit screen time/inside time.

  26. Amy C
    August 4, 2017 / 5:14 pm

    Kids can get back to nature by growing there own fruits and vegetables.

  27. jan
    August 4, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    We like to due treasure hunts while on walks in the park.

  28. Maryanne
    August 4, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    We like to go Geocaching! Treasure hunting FTW!

  29. August 4, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    My daughter help me in the vegetable gatden we camp and bike we have no car.so we have to bike.she swims and jumps on her trampline we are out side most off the day.Last week she went to summer camp..We ate having a awesome summer..

  30. Tainan Lu
    August 4, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    We like to go camping

  31. Lisa Bolduc
    August 4, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    plan fun activities to help them want to be outside… like geocaching…. or there is this new thing in my city that mom’s want to set up. you paint rocks then leave then in places like a scavenger hunt

  32. Julie bolduc
    August 4, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    We love to go for nature walks the kids love it

  33. Maritess
    August 5, 2017 / 12:37 am

    Take them outside and do activities that are engaging to them.

  34. HEIDI C.
    August 5, 2017 / 1:07 am

    We love playing at the beach and going for hikes/camping.

  35. Tara Betterley
    August 5, 2017 / 7:00 am

    we love travelling with our trailer and camping. we do walking trails and check out the local area.

  36. Treen Goodwin
    August 5, 2017 / 8:41 am

    Camping and swimming in the river , we love tubing as well !

  37. Megan Willis
    August 5, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    My husband and I love to take our kids camping! They love it and it is the only time they are forced to escape electronic devices 🙂

  38. Sharon Chow
    August 5, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    Love this blog! you have provided some amazing tips on how to get out more and involve the kids!


  39. Carey Hurst
    August 5, 2017 / 2:09 pm

    we love our treasure hunts. All spontaneous and we watch the roads and trails to see what we can see. At the same time you can explore ,

  40. Stephanie
    August 5, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    Going on hikes and going into a forest to observe and ask questions!

  41. Burcu
    August 5, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    By providing them with fun and meaningful activities outside, they will love to be outside.

  42. Mary warner
    August 5, 2017 / 5:52 pm

    A walk in the park. Point out birds and squirrels.
    Something simple to start.

  43. Sarah Jackson
    August 5, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    we love to camp , its such a great way to get in touch with nature

  44. kristen visser
    August 5, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    Camping and/or going to the cottage. Hiking in the forest or on the trails and going to parks surrounded by trees

  45. Meekyung
    August 6, 2017 / 7:28 am

    We like hiking

  46. Brandy Champion
    August 6, 2017 / 9:28 am

    To do something fun like fruit picking

  47. Lisa M
    August 6, 2017 / 9:47 am

    Nature Valley is always coming up with new recipes. That’s why I always have one in my purse. The flavours never get old and boring. Hiking is a great way to spend time in nature. I’m loving my new app that identifies all the different flora, or at least narrows it down.

  48. Darren Scrubb
    August 6, 2017 / 9:58 am

    Doing Hikes is a great way for kids to get back to nature.

  49. Darren Scrubb
    August 6, 2017 / 10:00 am

    Treasure Hunt is fun way for children to get back to nature.

  50. Tabby72
    August 6, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Planning a weekend hike is one of the best ways to get our kids back into nature!

    August 6, 2017 / 10:27 am

    We take the grand children on nature hikes on our nearby trails

  52. Christy E
    August 6, 2017 / 11:33 am

    We love to go to the beach and look for crabs, shells and sea glass. And we love to swim and snorkel.

  53. sarah
    August 6, 2017 / 11:40 am

    There are so many free events that have kid friendly areas that we have taken part in and so many others that we didn’t have a chance to get to. We enjoy going and exploring the little parts of the city that we haven’t discovered yet.

  54. eric
    August 6, 2017 / 11:42 am

    Less video games and more walks in the forest

  55. Vanessa L.
    August 6, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    Hiking through provincial parks is a great way for kids to connect with nature!

  56. Morgan Stewart
    August 6, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    They can play outdoors and go for walks on the beach!

  57. Heather Arnould
    August 6, 2017 / 12:19 pm

    We walk, picnic, visit gardens and parks and sometimes just sit in the gazebo and watch the birds and the squirrels.

  58. Calvin F.
    August 6, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Camping is the first thing that comes to mind, also kayaking or hiking.

  59. Anne Derkat
    August 6, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    We took our kids camping from the time they were very young and now they are doing the same with their children so they learn by example.

  60. Shirley S
    August 6, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    Kids can get back in touch with nature by going camping and walking in the park.

  61. Mark Martin
    August 6, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    The kids help in the Vegetable garden. We all enjoy it.

  62. Martha Martin
    August 6, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    I take our granddaughter to a local park and nature trail

  63. Heather Swanson
    August 6, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    Grow milkweed to watch the monarchs.

  64. Viv Sluys
    August 6, 2017 / 5:03 pm

    I think parents need to be firm about making kids go out and helping kids enjoy nature. Obviously the younger kids are when parents start, the easier it will be but hike with your kids, bring them to the lake, go for bike rides together, try geo-caching etc

  65. Juliee Fitze
    August 6, 2017 / 5:18 pm

    We like to go exploring at the river to see what we can find.

  66. l p
    August 6, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    everyone takes turns choosing an outdoor activity or indoor activity which focusses on the outdoors in the summer and on the week-ends

  67. Edith Rennes
    August 6, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    Just simply by going for a walk and observing what they see…bugs, flowers, weeds, etc.

  68. MaryG
    August 6, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    We’ve been taking the kids to the beach often this summer. It’s been a great way to teach about marine life and the Eco system…also fun cause who doesn’t love building sand castles!?!

  69. Margaret H
    August 6, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    the kids have a garden they have to look after and we go g=camping alot

  70. Owen Dovenor
    August 6, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    playing outdoors!

  71. Edmund
    August 6, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Flying a kite.

  72. Michelle Policelli
    August 7, 2017 / 12:01 am

    Go exploring around the neighborhood!

  73. Carole D
    August 7, 2017 / 12:54 am

    There is so much to discover outside, even in your own backyard.

  74. Heather Ritz
    August 7, 2017 / 1:13 am

    going on a picnic

  75. Julie F
    August 7, 2017 / 7:00 am

    Taking them for hikes around our local trails and parks!

  76. Sandra McG
    August 7, 2017 / 8:02 am

    we like to camp and go fishing and go geocaching while camping scavenger hunts are a lot of fun!

  77. Julie-Lynne McCann
    August 7, 2017 / 8:28 am

    camping and long walks together on trails.

  78. LisaM
    August 7, 2017 / 9:03 am

    We make sure we get outside every day! Often just that bit of sun is all that’s needed.

  79. lori butler
    August 7, 2017 / 9:40 am

    getting outside and exploring.

  80. Laurie P
    August 7, 2017 / 10:51 am

    We live in the Niagara region, there is always a great reason to be outside!

  81. DebP
    August 7, 2017 / 11:27 am

    Involvement in gardening is a good way. Also, taking walks and hikes in local or provincial parks.

  82. Kim
    August 7, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    Going for walks is a great way to get back to nature.

  83. Jodelene Weir
    August 7, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    We are heading out of town to the beautiful sunshine coast to have a week of unplugged outdoor adventures. Can’t wait!

  84. Dianne G.
    August 7, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    Taking children on walks through nature preserves is a good way for them to see nature. Read books to them about nature and then when you are outside and see an animal or a bug remind them about what you have read about it. They also need to be taught respect for wildlife and to appreciate it.

  85. Janine a
    August 7, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    Camping! One of our fave activities 🙂

  86. Bruke B
    August 7, 2017 / 8:37 pm

    We work in our vegetable garden and feed the birds. We also do a lot of hiking

  87. Belinda McNabb
    August 7, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Getting out for walks gets them back to nature. There is so much to see

  88. John W
    August 7, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    I think teaching kids how to grow their own food in a garden is fun and educational. It instills in them the value of hard work and responsibility while still being a fun group activity.

  89. Sarah Brazeau
    August 7, 2017 / 11:19 pm

    We spend a lot of time camping during the summer and were out in our backyard all year long!

  90. alee chapman
    August 8, 2017 / 12:49 am

    Getting outside to move around and enjoy nature and fresh air everyday!

  91. carla
    August 8, 2017 / 5:04 am

    we go for daily walks around the area, hiking on the weekend and to the beachfront at least once a month

  92. Leah
    August 8, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    When we go to the lake my daughter loves being in the water and walking around the Canadian Shield’s beautiful rocks…

  93. krystad
    August 8, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    I love the idea of getting kids outside by having them do scavenger hunts! There are lots of great ones on Pinterest and they are a super fun way to get them out and about:)

  94. Gillian Morgan
    August 8, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    I take Sophie to nature parks and on lots of hikes.

  95. Gillian Morgan
    August 8, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    I take Sophie to nature parks and on lots of hikes. We also grow our own veggies.

  96. Rhonda
    August 8, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    We just spend the day at a friends Lake house…The kids swam, skied and fished off the dock. It was a fabulous outdoor fun!!!

  97. Sandra S
    August 8, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Always fun to go mountain bike

  98. Marlene V
    August 8, 2017 / 11:36 pm

    Camping is a great way for the family to be in nature and enjoy the great outdoors.

  99. Marilyn Legault
    August 9, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    Creating a scavenger hunt of outside items.

  100. Linda Svarovsky
    August 9, 2017 / 4:57 pm

    We love going on hikes to get back to nature

  101. nickie
    August 9, 2017 / 10:38 pm

    We often go for nature walks

  102. KellyPC
    August 10, 2017 / 12:07 am

    Take them camping, to the park & the beach. teach kids the names of birds, trees & plants. Show them bugs & what creatures live in ponds & rivers!

  103. karine
    August 10, 2017 / 10:02 am

    Just going outside with a toy they can bring outside, and encourage them!

  104. wai man
    August 10, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    walk in the park, entry pls

  105. Niki L
    August 11, 2017 / 12:17 am

    We chose to live where there is a river, forest, cycling trails and more within walking distance of our house – and we prioritize getting out there everyday!

  106. Carole B
    August 11, 2017 / 9:53 am

    They love animals, everything involving an encouter with animals is winner here!

  107. wendi
    August 11, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    getting outside as well as maybe going on a hike to the metro parks

  108. Melinda
    August 12, 2017 / 10:16 am

    Camping is a great way my family gets in touch with nature.

  109. August 13, 2017 / 12:22 am

    Spend unstructured time outside, exploring nature.

  110. Leslie Crosbie
    August 13, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    Plant seeds to help save the bees!

  111. Sarah alexis
    August 14, 2017 / 2:24 am

    I take my kids camping every year – I know that helps a lot!!!! We love it 🙂

  112. Linda
    August 14, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Kids can get in touch with nature by going out in nature every day.

  113. Wendy hutton
    August 14, 2017 / 10:31 pm

    we like to take the kids to the river trails for hikes and see all the different trees and wildlife we can see

  114. lynn clayton
    August 14, 2017 / 10:56 pm


  115. Nicole Jubleew
    August 14, 2017 / 11:49 pm

    We like to explore Toronto’s ravines and local parks where you can have lots of fun having scavenger hunts and geocaching.

  116. cheryl hodgkins
    August 15, 2017 / 2:51 am

    My granddaughters like to go hiking at shorthills provincial park, and camping out under the stars

  117. Laurent Legault
    August 15, 2017 / 9:39 am

    I like to take the kids out for hikes and exploring at the lake.

  118. Cheryl H
    August 15, 2017 / 10:34 am

    Explore your city, take,them to newer areas or,areas you’ve never really explored. Bike, to a new place

  119. Caryn Coates
    August 15, 2017 / 11:29 am

    We do nature walks and camping.

  120. Dana Miller
    August 16, 2017 / 3:29 am

    Kids can get back in touch with nature by making their own terrarium. Make it a scavenger hunt to find little treasures at the beach, on hikes, in the back yard, and at parks. They can search for things to add to and decorate their terrarium including pebbles, sea glass, pinecones, moss, feathers, shells and tiny ground cover plants.

  121. Janet P.
    August 16, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    Walking to the park and playing on the play sets or kicking a ball around.

  122. Tabathia B
    August 16, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    We have a river and a bridge next to a wooded area and my kids always like exploring and looking for fish and seeing how high they are on the bridge

  123. Tanis
    August 17, 2017 / 12:25 am

    Hunting with Daddy! Not my favorite thing, but they can do that together!!

  124. Karen Roberts
    August 17, 2017 / 4:22 am

    Camping at our cottage on the water that has no electricity?

  125. Allison Matz
    August 17, 2017 / 9:06 am

    Kids can get back in touch with nature by simply spending more time playing outside, even in their own yard, instead of in front of the TV or playing with electronics.

  126. Sabina Edwards
    August 17, 2017 / 9:29 am

    THIS year we’ll be going camping….starting on saturday actually and we’ll do nature walks as well as seeing all sorts of wild life

  127. Alex
    August 17, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    Fruits and Veggies are VERY important ! for kids as they bodies grows

  128. Aimee Perrin
    August 17, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    Kayaking on the lake

  129. ariel c
    August 18, 2017 / 3:41 am

    going for hikes is always a good option!

  130. Wanda B
    August 18, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    Go for hikes in the park as a family.

  131. Hripsime Andonian
    August 18, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    definitely camping

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