Following a butterfly across a field of wildflowers, lying in the grass picking out cloud animals, watching squirrels play a game of tag, or a father holding hands with his son as they walk gingerly through the woods in search of wild game are simple things that trigger fond memories from childhood. For many, sadly, this is not the case today. Somewhere, in the age of technology, our children have lost touch with nature. The closest some come to nature is the enchanted black forest in a computer game. It’s time to reintroduce our children to nature, as a family, and build memories while stimulating growth, intelligence, and physical fitness. Research has shown that regular time spent in nature facilitates better social and physical development; improves fitness, motor-skills, and well-being; supports creativity and imaginative play; inspires collaboration while reducing stress, violence and bullying; creates feelings of empathy; and supports whole-child development and learning.
The distance from nature that we have incurred as a “techno” family has triggered alarming trends in the increase of obesity, attention disorders, and even depression in our children. The 2012 Kids Count Data Statistics show that only eight states in the U.S. have a higher rate of children with one or more emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions than Kentucky. Research indicates that nature has a calming effect, and taking into account the fast paced lives that we lead, we are all well aware of the need to relax. Introducing our children back to nature is a step in the right direction toward stabilizing their emotional and physical well-being.
This is an opportunity for you to merge the worlds of nature and technology which, in turn, will take you into a whole new relaxing, yet stimulating, world. There are many sites related to nature on the internet. Here are some tips to help you learn where to start. A must stop in your search is a site by Richard Louv, author of the bestselling book, Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005). Louv has defined a term, “nature-deficit disorder”. This term explains exactly what occurs when limiting or removing nature from the upbringing of our children. Last Child in the Woods is part of a growing movement termed, “Leave No Child Inside”.
If you are ready to take that leap, to create everlasting memories while focusing on the mental and physical growth of your child, you are just a click away.
1. Richard Louv's website- Children and nature movement and how you can get involved.
2. Children and Nature Network - A Stronger, Closer Family.
3. National Environmental Education Foundation - Children and Nature Initiative Prescriptions for Outdoor Activity
4. National Wildlife Federation - Connecting Kids and Nature: Working towards 10 Million Kids Outdoors.
Belinda @ Kids Matter