It’s been a decade since Richard Louv wrote his epochal bestseller Last Child in the Woods, but his fears about nature deficiency disorders in children are perhaps firmer now than in 2005. Our children are closeted most hours of the day in classrooms and homes in the company of the TV, the video game, the laptop, and books. When did they last venture into the woods? When did they last hear the birds chirping in their natural habitat? If you ask them and they can’t remember, it’s time to take them out this summer. The following tips will make it easier for you.
Unplug the TV!
Quality time for many families has become synonymous with watching TV, even if there is nothing great going on in the box. Hours are spent sitting with deadpan expressions and in complete silence apart from the blaring TV audio. Stereotyping the American way of life has its own risks. Nonetheless, it’s true for many children who have been reared with technology around them. In that light, unplugging the TV or the electronic gadget seems like a brilliant idea to get children to do something different—a walk out in nature, for instance.
Have a “playful” yard
Prepare your backyard as a playground for your children. Install proper fencing and ensure that it’s completely safe. Throw in few accessories to make it appealing to the young mind, and sacrifice some of your time to participate in the games and frolic in the yard with your children. You can even arrange for a water fiesta for your children with inexpensive accessories like sprinklers, water balloons to toss and splash, an improvised water slide, and a small makeshift pool. Throw in a few mermaid swimsuits, tails, and fins, and watch your children and their friends make the most of this summer.
Choose a campsite in the woods
The next time you want to share quality time with your family, don’t reach for your checkbook and book that expensive hotel suite. Just block a safe camping site in the woods instead. It may not be as comfortable, but it will be a lot more fun for your children. Camping is one of the best ways to redress nature deficiency disorders mentioned by Louv. It gives your children a chance to experience nature like never before. At the end of the camping trip, they’ll already be looking forward to the next.
Go hiking with your children regularly this summer
Go ahead and reclaim nature this summer by taking your children on long hikes. Explore hills, woods, vegetation, old beaten tracks, and perennial water bodies. Don’t forget to carry along your children’s Sun Tail Mermaid swimsuits and tails for them to make those extra splashes in the water. If your children are real techies, add a tech twist to your hikes by opting for a bit of geocaching. Stowaway an object out in the open somewhere, record its geographical coordinates, and ask your children to use GPS to locate the object. You could place something inside the object as a reward.
By inducing your children to go out into nature this summer, you are about to change their lifestyles in a small way. But by giving them a good helping of variety, you are probably staving off nature disorders in your children for at least several summers to come.