My two youngest granddaughters climbing around on a tree that blew down in a storm on our property.
I heard a commercial on the radio the other day about getting your kids back into nature. On the commercial, the son came out of his room and when he spoke to the father, he sounded like a video game. The daughter came out of her room and same thing…her voice was all distorted as well. I don’t remember exactly who paid for the commercial, but the gist of it was get your kids unplugged and get out into nature.
Richard Louv, in his book “Last Child in the Woods“, coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” or NDD for short. It’s become a fairly well known term and although NDD is not a medical term, some believe that it should be. Why? What exactly is NDD?
NDD refers to the lack of modern children, in developed countries, being exposed to nature. Some believe that this lack of nature, is the root cause of the development of some behavior problems such as ADD and ADHD
It’s being said that if kids got out into nature and played, or that nature was used as a form of therapy, the use of drugs and pharmaceuticals in kids could be greatly reduced. There are numerous reports of children who had behavior and learning problems, that greatly improved after the child spent time outside “connecting” with nature.
Have you noticed lately that we are becoming a nation with more and more obese children? Children who are obese at earlier and earlier ages? Maybe if todays children got outside and played the way children of the ’50’s, ’60’s, and even the ’70’s and ’80’s played, they would lose a great deal of that weight.
It’s not rocket science! Just get kids outside into the natural world to play. Sadly though, some kids, don’t know how to go outside and play. Take away their electronic gadgets and they don’t know what to do with themselves.t Others, just may not have access to the great outdoors. Not to worry – here are some ideas to get you started.
Introduce kids to gardening. This is a picture of my husband, and two of my granddaughters planting our little patch of garden last weekend. They were barefoot (the girls not my husband), and having a blast!
- Build a tree house, or a playhouse on the ground. Let your kids help you build it, and enjoy all kinds of time there. You can find some here.
- Interact with wildlife as a sightseer or, as Louv suggests, help turtles cross busy roads safely when they are undergoing their annual migration.
- Put up a bird feeder and then look up and identify the various birds that visit.
- Explore space with binoculars and/or a telescope from your front porch. That first summer we moved to the country, my then college age daughter and I would go out after dark and just lay on the picnic table and look at the sky, because it seemed like there were so many more than in the sky in the city.
Live in the city? No problem!
- Find a vacant lot and discover bits of nature in the soil, among the plants, and the plants themselves. Nature is amazingly resilient, setting up shop the moment an area is abandoned.
- Start a rooftop or balcony garden, growing fruits and vegetables and potted trees. You can create a mini forest this way, even including a fountain or water feature. You can find a good how to book here.
- Go camping! It’s a great way to connect with nature. We used to camp all the time when my kids were young. You can easily rent any equipment you might not have.
Maybe NDD is a result of our technology getting ahead of our biological make-up. Maybe NDD comes from deviating from our “wiring” as nature-dwellers. Regardless of the reasons, getting our kids back to nature is a growing movement. A movement that can certainly make them and us healthier!