As we are [finally] starting to say “goodbye” to a long winter, we’ve been hit with spring fever! Today we recall that nature is crucial to well-being. Get outside, get your kids outside; breathe deep and enjoy.
Original post: August 2016
Here we are in the middle of summer with the sun shining, warm temperatures flaring, and flora and fauna if full momentum. My new home sits among horse pastures, farmland, restored prairie, forest, river. Each morning I am inspired by the nature and wildlife that I am a part of. Thus, I am reminded of the crucial role that nature plays in healthy children. Enjoy a throwback blog from a few years ago.
Thursday night, I had the opportunity to hear a lecture by Richard Louv, the author of The Last Child in the Woods. He coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder.” This pivotal book describes the modern day staggering divide between children and the outdoors. This is a disturbing trend for many reasons including the rise in obesity, depression, a lack of creativity and much more. Louv mentioned this is the first time in world history that only 17% (my memory of the stat, don’t quote me on it) of us live in the country (vs. urban areas). Kids don’t grow up knowing and experiencing the joy of nature anymore. It is logical that nature is a part of us and needed by all humans. Research suggests it improves human health, well-being, and intellectual capacity.
Louv discussed the five major barriers that cause nature deficit disorder:
- Urbanization without nature
- A culture of fear
- Silicon faith
- Cultural devaluing of nature
- The post-apocalyptic view of the future
You can read about the five reasons here.
To do my part, my friend brought her six and eight year old daughters to my farm this weekend. They popped out of the van asking questions. Kids are natural scientists. We started with learning the difference between a horse and a pony and what a saddle and stirrup are. I was challenged to remember the ages of my nine horses. They learned each horse has a different personality.
We decided to take Smokey for a hike through the woods to the river. There was quite a bit of drama in having to walk through horse poo. We overcame that challenge with gusto. At the river, we learned it is difficult to find a weighty flat rock to skip along the water. However, we did learn to skip rocks. We found clamshells, learned what poison ivy and stinging nettle is and much more. I bet they learned a ton more in an hour and a half in nature than they learn in a whole day in a classroom. Plus it is done with smiles and fun! Get a kid outside!