When today’s older adults were young, most children spent as much time as they could playing outside. However in recent years, with the popularity of electronic media and parents’ fears for children’s safety, this has changed. Our children are becoming indoor creatures. And this brings many problems in its wake.
In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv identified a phenomenon we all knew existed but couldn’t quite articulate: nature-deficit disorder.
Louv cites research to show that all manner of childhood problems, especially those labelled ADD, ADHD etc. show remarkable improvement with even low level exposure to green, outdoor spaces such as parks.
Since its initial publication, Last Child in the Woods has created a national conversation about the disconnection between children and nature, and his message has galvanized an international movement.
Louv’s second book The Nature Principle, revisited this theme, but in a wider sense, in that it examined the deficits in our own adult lives and our adult psyches when we try to remove ourselves too far from the natural world and spend the bulk of our lives in human-built environments.
Louv’s website, with full details of his books and other writings may be found on his website at: http://richardlouv.com/
Another initiative which is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide is the concept of forest schools, where children spend a certain proportion of their school day out of doors.
See also: ‘Playing Outside’