AURBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – With the pandemic lockdowns ending, parents are itching to get kids back outside and off of screens. Experts say outdoor time can provide a major mental health boost, especially to kids.

The Tree Tots program at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center aims to do just that.

Today, Tree Tots kids were educated on what to do when they see a snake. And they also went on a nature walk.

Research shows children tend to spend unhealthy amounts of time on devices.

A survey of 899 parents shows that 70% reported that their kids were spending at least four hours a day on electronic devices. That 4 hours is 4 times more than experts recommend, according to joint study done by researchers at San Diego St University and the University of Georgia that shows “After an hour a day, however, increasing screen time was generally linked to progressively lower psychological well-being.”

Jenifer Lolley, outreach administrator for the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, said time in nature is a great way to get kids away from screens.

“Our focus is getting kids outdoors in nature. And getting them to spend time outdoors,” said Lolley. “Time outdoors is so important especially after this pandemic with kid inside and being quarantined. Spending way too much time inside on screens and on tablets and TV.”

Lolley had advice for not just kids but parents as well in terms of getting outside to play.

“Vitamin D is so important too,” Lolley said. “Getting that sunshine. Sunshine without sunblock is really important too. But the greenery, just being outside hearing nature hearing songs of the birds. And hearing the wind blow through the trees. All of that is something that just makes you feel better.”

Lolley recommends getting the whole family involved.

“Go take a hike. You don’t have to go to a beautiful place like this. Go find a little local park or go take a walk down your neighborhood. Just find a little place. There’s places all around. You just have to go find them.”