A Green Hour A Day…Children & Nature Disconnect

Time outside will ‘keep the doctor away’, and there is growing concern for the relationship our children have with nature.  Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder refers to this nature-child disconnect as “nature deficit disorder.”  It’s funny that I personally am such a fan of toys because I can’t remember playing with any as a child.  I was in my backyard, on my bike, or climbing a tree for most of my childhood.  But those days were a different time.  I wish my children could experience some of the independence with nature that I was lucky enough to enjoy at a very young age.

The title of this article is named after a very inspiring website called Green Hour.  It is a great resource for parents to inspire families to get back outside, enjoying nature.  They have some pretty scary statistics about the average American child spending 44 hours per week (6 hours per day) if front of an electronic screen.  Shocking!  Maybe….but try adding up the number of hours your children spend either in front of the tv, computer, or a video game. 

I have been reinspired to try and get my kids back into nature on a regular basis.  I’ve borrowed ideas from this site…these being the biggest hits in my house!

Activity 1: Creating fairy houses from sticks with the boys (for the girls).

Activity 2: Watching the magic a hummingbird feeder brings when a visitor arrives.

Activity 3: Great backyard bird count.

Activity 4: Photo shoot as the seasons change.

Activity 5: Worm safari.

I encourage everyone (including myself) to try and re-connect with nature and involve our children. It will improve their health, intelligence, and creative play.  I would be so proud to create a new activity that hasn’t been written about by the Green Hour website.  It is a goal of mine to accomplish this summer.  If you have any creative ideas of your own that will engage parents and children with nature – please comment on this article.  I will share these activities in a later post.

I leave you with this image. It must have taken some real determination, but look at the stick house these children made. I know my boys would love an activity like this…it’s just me giving them the space and natural surroundings to create it.  I will try to encourage cool activities like this more often.  As Green Hour points out time after time, kids will not remember the car rides to activities from their childhood, but they will remember climbing a tree with their parent.  That is so true. 

 Stick House

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