"The most endangered species in the wild today: Our Children."Those are startling words. Especially for those of us who remember BigWheels, bike riding until dusk (with no helmet), stream walking, traipsing through the woods, creating back yard forts, running in the sprinkler, living in our oversized-tire sandbox and more. It was summer, and it was outdoors, with the occasional AC break, a glass of lemonade, and a freezer stocked with popsicle as our main way to stay cool. We were outdoors all day.
Not so much these days. Case and point: On the back of Thomas Kersting's book "Disconnected: How to Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Teens," the latest book I've been reading, there's this stat...which parallels the endangered species quote above:
"According to the latest research, the average 13 year old spends 8 hours per day, seven days a week, glued to a screen."Yikes.
This summer our professional read book for school is not one but 4, on a variety of subjects related to our PS-12 grade levels. One of the chosen books is Richard Louv's "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder." I was already planning on rereading it before knowing that, and it's a book I've written about and referenced several times before. It's now officially 10 years old, and it's message is only louder, stronger, and more necessary than before. We need to be getting our kids outdoors. And it's hard. It's summer, and somedays I'm literally kicking kids off screens and out the door. It shouldn't be this difficult. But it's important, so we keep doing it, as we owe it to our children to do so!
Exposure to nature via virtual reality and video games just isn't enough. It's not a 5-senses experience! Additionally, you come to want to protect something that you know. Watch this NaturePlay Teaser, with Richard Louv & his sentiments as the narration to see how nature speaks to us on so many levels. It might even serve as some inspiration to get out there and do something outdoors.
To learn more about the NaturePlay film and how to get a copy for screening, go to their website.
To feel more, go outside.
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2rp4Leikpk, images from http://www.businessinsider.com/11-reasons-you-should-go-outside-2014-4 and https://malaysianpsychology.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/gesprekvandedag_kinderenmeerbewegen470.jpg