Last month Brian and I attended one of our local library programs about children and “nature deficit disorder” which is a term coined by Richard Louv. He wrote a book called Last Child in the Woods that called attention to the kids of today that are becoming more and more deprived of nature and the outdoors. With today’s distractions of television, computers, iPads, and the like, it’s getting harder to get kids to go outside.
It was an interesting session to listen and participate in, especially as one mother admitted that she used her television as a babysitter for her kids instead of sending them outside. As for us, it definitely gave us plenty to talk about on the car ride home and thereafter about what we want for our kids. I am by no means an outdoorsy person, and truth be told, I love my computer and the comforts of the indoors. But, at the same time, I have a great appreciation for nature and I want to teach our kids to be appreciate the great outdoors.
We brainstormed a little bit about how we can start to encourage our two year old. Bunny has really been into picking dandelions and lately rocks on our walks around the neighborhood. She will pick something and hand it to one of us to hold. Well, after the session, we got her little monkey basket and let her carry her special findings to bring them home. It was so cute to see her imagination at work as she pretended the rocks were food on her kitchen set. It was very cool to see her come up and use creative play on her own.
As our kids get older, some other ideas we thought would be good to incorporate (I’m making the list here because I know I’ll forget!):
- Creating a rain garden
- Backyard camping, and then eventually attempt regular camping (this might just be Brian and the kids though, ha!)
- Build or setup a bird house/bat house
- Collect lightning bugs at night, release them in the morning
- Put together a terrarium
- Put a bowl out for treasures they find on their walks; drop them into it when the kids come home
- Plant a garden together
- Raise butterflies
- Continue our tradition of berry picking
- Check out the county/state parks and classes
It’ll definitely be a good lesson for us all and I am looking forward to exploring more activities and options with our children as time goes on. We’ll take it one step at a time!