Geography of a Childhood
Updated: May 7
An exploration into differences and similarities between generations
Tools & Materials
Phone or Computer with video or audio conferencing capabilities (Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangout, etc)
Science notebook & pencil
To Do & Notice
1. Question: How is what you do for fun similar or different to what your grandparents and parents did for fun when they were kids?
2. Gather Evidence:
Interview your parents, grandparents, older neighbors or community members about their childhood via phone or computer. Video conferencing applications like Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangout, etc. might be a nice way to connect face to face virtually.
Be sure to ask this guiding question: "When you were a kid, what did you do for fun?" If needed, use further prompts to help facilitate the conversation. Other prompts might include:
Who did you spend time with?
Where did you spend time?
What are some of your favorite childhood memories?
How do you think your childhood is different from mine?
What was your favorite place?
3. Record data:
Write what you learned about your interviewee in your notebook.
Option: record your video call. Most video conferencing applications have video recording capability. This interview might be a fun piece of family history.
4. Analyze and interpret the data:
How is this the same or different from how you would answer the question?
What do you do for fun?
Watch this video from Nature Valley where they ask 3 generations the same question. Does this relate to your situation? Did you have similar answers to the other kids or to the parents and grandparents? What does this video make you feel? What does it make you grateful for? What do you want to do more of? What do you feel when you are outside playing? What is the state of your mind? Your body? Record your answers in your notebook.
If possible, go outside and have fun the way your grandparents/parents used to and tell them about it! Take pictures of your favorite places outside and share them with your grandparents/parents.
5. Communicate your Findings:
Post photos of you and your grandparent or older friend (with their permission) on social media and tag us @sweptahoe on Instagram and/or to @swep4 on Facebook. Be sure to hashtag and follow #SWEPsnippets. If you cannot post directly yourself, send SWEP your photos (Jenna@4swep.org). This is a great time to honor and connect with the older generations!
What’s Going On
The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day inside often in front of a screen.
A UK study found that children now spend about half the amount of time outdoors than their parents.
Going into nature reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.
Being outside makes us happier, less stressed, more creative, and more socially connected.
Spending time outside can improve our sleep, eyesight and fine-motor skills.
Humans have evolved to be out in nature, sleeping, eating, playing, etc. Only in recent history have we moved to spend so much time inside. This means our bodies and minds are designed to be outside.
What Happens if You Stopped Going Outside
5 Reasons to Go Outside
1. Blend technology, nature, photography by creating a nature photo album.
Go into your backyard, or farther if you have permission from your family, with a digital camera
Take up close photos of cool things that you find in nature, examples: snowflake, squirrel tracks, snow falling from the trees, tree bark, etc…
Create a free online photo album through myalbum.com, slideshare, powerpoint, etc…
Share with your parents and grandparents what you saw while exploring in the woods
2. Do snow yoga! What yoga poses do you know? Do you know sun salutations? How about snow salutations (sun salutations in the snow)? What fun poses can you do in the snow?
Here is one way to do it...video.
Here is SWEP's field instructor, Jenna, attempting her own snowga:
3. Do a 2-5 minute Quiet Challenge in your backyard.
Set a timer, sit completely quietly and as still as you can until the timer goes off.
What do you hear?
What do you see?
What do you feel?
Write in your notebook your observations and/or tell a family member about it
Thank you to our many partners for supporting student's science, sustainability and outdoor learning experiences.