Go play outside to reduce holiday stress

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the season? Maybe you need a little outdoor time. This from the folks at the National Wildlife Federation.

They say nature is a great antidote for all the craziness of this time of year. It can "lower the stress level, revive the spirits, and add to the enchantment of the season." They've launched a "Be Out There" campaign that encourages:


-Outdoor tree-trimming. They say adopt a tree in your yard or neighborhood. Then, find out what kind it is and visit it at least once every season, decorate it with things birds like to eat. Take a look at ideas at www.greenhour.org/birdcafe.
-Scavenger Hunts. Make up a list for the kids of natural objects to find in the yard or neighborhood including pinecones, acorns and different shape leaves. The first to find everything win.
-Decorating with Mother Nature. Use the items the kids find to create holiday centerpieces, wreaths or other holiday décor.
-Christmas bird counting. Learn about the birds and help scientists monitor their health and well-being. Find out about this at www.audubon.org/Bird/cbc

-Making an elf house. This is for Santa's elves. You'll need a clean paper ½ gallon milk or juice carton, a brown grocery bag, glue, a paint brush, paper plate or bowl for holding glue, scissors,
natural objects like pinecones, acorns, pine needles, moss, leaves, bark.
Directions: Wash and dry the carton, inside and out. Cut the brown bag and wrap the carton in it tightly. Use glue to hold the paper to the carton. Let it dry. Make a door for the elves, windows, a chimney, singles or window boxes. Now head outside for all your construction and decorating needs collecting things on the ground. Glue them onto the house. Secure it in a nearby tree. Check your elf house for notes from Santa, and leave notes for him in return which the elves can deliver.
Click here for more ideas for things to do outside for the holidays.

Baltimore Sun file photo/Perry Thorsvik