All kids deserve opportunities to enjoy quality time outdoors.

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook

Regular, positive experiences outdoors are critical for children’s healthy development. But today’s kids average less than 10 minutes playing and learning outside per day — and more than 40 hours per week in front of a screen. This trend has serious negative implications for our kids, our communities, and our planet. Tody, whether a child has access to a safe place to play and learn outdoors, and receive all the benefits that come from that, is highly dependent on their zip code, race, and family income.

Lawmakers across the U.S. are passionate not only about their states’ outdoor economies and natural resources, but about ensuring all children benefit from time spent in nature. They know those meaningful experiences improve children’s quality of life, health, and social well-beling, and in turn their communities become stronger and more sustainable. Smart policies can bring the benefits of hte outdoors to more children, with a sbustantial return on investment.

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook highlights successful bipartisan policy initiatives and provides resources to support new statewide efforts to build healthy communitioes by increasing kids’ regular, positive experiences outside through environmental education and youth engagement in the outdoors.

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook:

  • Demonstrates what’s working and what’s possible by highlighting existing and promising policy solutions for increasing youth engagement in the outdoors.
  • Shares the knowledge and experience of environmental education and outdoor engagement champions to inspire new, innovative ideas.
  • Connects cross sector leaders working on statewide policy initiatives.

Help us improve the Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook by sending feedback and ideas to RPaulekas@merid.org.

Explore the Playbook

Why Youth Outdoors

Research shows that playing and learning outdoors is critical for children’s health, well-being and academic success, yet millions of children lack access to safe outdoor spaces and meaningful, regular outdoor experiences. Learn more about the benefits of spending regular time in nature.

Policy Framework

The Youth Outdoor Policy Framework outlines guiding principles for getting more kids outside.

Policy Library

Resources and example policies to help make the case and develop policies that increase equitable access to the outdoors.

Testimonials