I thought I'd start with the invitation outright before I get distracted and drone on and on with mere digressions. I just want to remind everybody that the Earth Hour this year is on March 27 (last Saturday of the month). Basically, to observe this, you turn off power in your home for an hour from 8:30pm to 9:30pm. Last year, the Philippines was the number 1 participant in the event with more than 15 million Filipinos in 650 towns and cities taking part in the hour-long affair. In the process, the Philippines saved more than 611 Megawatt-hours. According to the WWF, this is equivalent to shutting down a dozen coal-fired power plants for 60 minutes. This year, in conjunction with the general Earth Hour, the World Wide Fund (WWF) and Mead Johnson are collaborating to initiate the Kids Earth Hour, which not only promotes the concept of energy conservation, but also stresses on the importance of outdoor play for children. The correlation is explained in the Kids Earth Hour catchphrase, "Save Energy Indoors. Use Your Energy Outdoors." To celebrate the first ever Kids Earth Hour, the WWF and Mead Johnson are hosting three simultaneous events FREE OF CHARGE at the following venues:
SM Mall of Asia, San Miguel by the Bay
Bonficaio High Street
All three events start at 6pm and last 3 and a half hours. From 6pm to 8:30pm, the kids can enjoy various fun activities such as wall climbing, stilt walking, hopscotch, trampoline, human parachute, hopball, etc. There's something for both the little kids and the older kids. Parents can rest assured that they'll find a variety of age-appropriate activities for their children to participate in. They'll also get to meet the Kids Earth Hour Mascot, PLUGGY. I think he's part socket, part plug, and he's very friendly, lol. Anyway, there'll be a countdown towards the actual Earth Hour and then when the lights go out, the kids can have fun with their glow sticks (the kids get them free) and then settle down to watch a shadow play. It's loads of fun and toward such a great cause. It's a great idea to have your kids supporting this advocacy as young as they are. Hopefully, energy conservation will be a lifelong habit for them. Again, the events are absolutely FREE. You don't need an invite although there are invitations going around. Just show up at the venue at 6pm and register.
This is an awesome idea that parents everywhere can introduce to their kids. For those who live outside of Metro Manila, they can simply take the initiative to plan fun outdoor activities to coincide with the Earth Hour. Those who love festivities can organize block or street parties, the unplugged kind, of course. I remember back in the '80s, anytime the power was interrupted at night, the kids on our street would all troop out of their houses for a game of capture the flag or hide and seek. If it was a spooky night, we would gather around and tell scary stories. Being unplugged can bring on some old school fun.:)
Of course, outdoor play should be pushed beyond the Kids Earth Hour. It's simply healthier for kids to be outside moving and to be closer to nature at the same time. I live in a building and I believe going outside our apartment still makes us closer to nature even if we don't have a garden or a typical natural setting to speak of. My daughter and I can still encounter bugs, weeds sprouting from cracks in the concrete (okay, this is beginning to sound pathetic, lol), funny-shaped clouds, beautiful sunsets, etc. Of course, it's better if we were surrounded by lush wild greenery, but since we're not, we just need to be more creative and persistent in our quest for exposure to nature. For those who are also interested in getting their kids to enjoy outdoor play more, you can get many ideas from sites such as SouleMama (check out the comments as well) and books such as "I Love Dirt" by Jennifer Ward.
I'm the kind of parent who believes in raising kids as unplugged as possible. I don't think TV is evil, but I'll be happy to do without it. Right now, while I've been able to minimize my daughter's viewing, I, on the other hand, do watch too much of it. I think, ideally, we could have a TV with no reception and just hooked up to the DVD. I don't want video games in my home. I think they're too addictive, unsociable, and plain unnecessary. I don't mind if my child played them at a friend's house. It will just be a friend's toy she gets to experience as well, but I personally don't want one here and I'm not spending money toward acquiring one. Having said that, I think educational computer games are fine in moderation. The internet is also fine in moderation. As for toys, I prefer ones that don't necessitate the use of batteries. Old school toys such as blocks, puppets, dollhouses, etc. just strike me as better at stimulating creativity and imagination. I'm not saying my way is better than the next parent's, but this is my personal conviction and one which I think will support the values we want to instill. How did I get to talking about this? Anyway, my original point was supposed to be I believe in outdoor play, hence when I got an invitation to attend a dinner/discussion about the Kids Earth Hour, I accepted it without a second thought.
To learn more about the Kids Earth Hour, you can visit the following sites: