The Green Hour

Todd Christopher

The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids
Trumpeter Books, Shambhala Publications, Boston MA 2010

Just a few decades ago the phrase "go outside and play" was repeated by parents daily. Now as seemingly elusive as the once standard family dinner hour, outside playtime for kids is more nostalgia than reality. According to researchers, outdoor activities — from walking to camping — comprise less than one-half hour of a kid's week. A study at the University of Cambridge found eight-year olds able to identify significantly more Pokémon characters than common wildlife species. Technology virtualizes the natural world; children watch it on their screens rather than discover it outside their doors. Even some junior dictionaries have dropped the ABCs of acorn, butterfly and clover to include instead: B is for blog, D is not for dandelion but for database, and V for violet has been replaced with voice mail. Is technology improving or consuming our world?


In The Green Hour Todd Christopher asserts that media and technology devices only have the power we allow them. Creator of the National Wildlife Federation's website, Christopher is passionate about sharing activities and ideas for slowing down, unplugging, and reconnecting kids and parents with the natural world. The Green Hour is an easy to follow guide that shows how sixty meaningful outside minutes each day can become a fun family routine. The "green hour" will be remembered far longer than the latest video game or television show. From "Turning over Leaves" to "Making the Most of Gray Skies" to "Going on a Bug Safari" each section includes projects easily adaptable for kids of all ages. Whether in a rural, urban or suburban setting, playing outside creates a fitter body, uplifts spirits and increases brainpower and curiosity.

Read a book preview here