Have you heard of Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)? This new term means we spend too much time indoors and not enough time in nature.
Children are clearly in a deficit. According to studies, children spend more than seven hours a day on screens while spending less than 10 minutes outside playing. While screen time was once the king of winter, green time is now ready to take its place in the sun. There are many benefits to being outdoors and many ways to start.
Create a “Green Hour.”
A green hour is the new happy hour. Your family should set aside time each day for outdoor activities that they can incorporate into their daily routine. This could be sharing breakfast on the porch or going for a walk around the block with the family after dinner. It can be easier for everyone to get into the routine by keeping it short. Stay encouraged if you make it on time. Instead, enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of every moment.
Keep a Nature Journal
Journaling can be a motivating, self-reflective activity that is suitable for everyone. You don’t need to write anything in a nature journal. You can find nature specimens around your yard, neighborhood, or trails and keep them in a notebook or shoebox. You can have your child add the date and place they found it or swap it with friends or family. Make sure your child can bring the item home safely.
Mud is not an enemy! According to the National Wildlife Foundation’s Dirt on Dirt, “getting dirty” can improve a child’s health, heart, skin, and immune system. It can also increase happiness, decrease anxiety and help with learning. You can make “mud castles,” play in an outdoor kitchen, paint, or build miniature snowmen with dirt and mud.
A flashlight is an excellent addition to any outdoor spring or summer game. Older children might enjoy flashlight tag or exposure photography to make Instagram-worthy photos. Children younger than five may like to use flashlights to make shadow puppets or pick out items for a scavenger hunt. The whole family can enjoy a game of flashlight limbo.
Unstructured Outdoor Play
Refrain from feeling pressure to prepare everything for your children. They will still enjoy the outdoors. This is a great way to get your child interested in the outdoors. They will be able to use their STEAM skills and find things that interest them. It’s possible to learn something about your child.
There are many activities and benefits to spending time in the great outdoors. Let’s make this year of enjoying the outdoors and setting aside screen time.