Help Your Kids Avoid the "Summer Slide" with TurfMutt
Summer’s here and kids are ready for some time off, but it’s important to keep their minds and bodies active. You can help your kids avoid the “summer slide” where kids lose some of their academic gains from the school year, by encouraging your child to participate in the TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program.
To get involved, go to www.TurfMutt.com, where you will find downloadable e-books, an online climate game, and activity sheets you can print out and use with children in grades K-5. Built on the character of a real-life rescue dog named Lucky, kids can relate to the character of a dog and his friends, while learning about our living landscapes.
While he’s cartoonized for the website and its educational materials, Lucky is a real-life dog today who has appeared on television and visited elementary school classrooms. Because dogs love to romp outside, kids can understand why having a living landscape is so important and why we should take care for them.
Lucky can inspire kids to get outside and get moving. Outdoor play increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies, an important strategy in helping the 1 in 3 American kids who are obese get fit.
And getting kids outside is also good for their mental health. Exposure to natural settings may be widely effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, and childrenʼs stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.
Being out in the yard can give kids a real boost academically too. Studies have found that children gain attention and working memory benefits when they are exposed to greenery. Researchers found that Barcelona school children who had more exposure to the outdoors performed better on cognitive testing. The effect was greatest when both home and school environments provided “green” time.
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators, and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017 and 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.