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Nature Travel And Combating Nature Deficit Disorder

One of my many passions is exposing adults and children to nature. All around us we are surrounded by nature which makes it one of the most effortless experiences. Yet so many families don’t take advantage of the natural world and all it has to offer our children. Over the last decade there has been a great disconnect between children and the natural world and it is up to us to make a change today.

During our travels, we always make a point of exploring nature in the area we are visiting. Nature is all around us so it is one of the easiest and most inexpensive things to explore when you are traveling. Every time you travel you have an opportunity to battle, “nature deficit disorder” (yes it really has a name). Some of these places include nature centers, wildlife refuges, national parks, state parks, city parks, beaches, preserves, national forests…. If you are not a fan of sitting and just soaking in nature many of these nature enriched areas offer numerous ways to immerse your family in nature while being active like kayaking, geocaching, hiking, biking, birding, etc.

Vital To Child Development

It is our duty as parents to expose our children to nature at a young age. If kids learn about and explore nature they will have a better appreciation for our planet and will become good stewards as adults. “We should not think of a child’s experience in nature as an extracurricular activity,” says  Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. “It should be thought of as vital to children’s health and development.”

More Reasons To Enjoy Nature

If you need more convincing on why nature is good for our children (and ourselves) here you go:

  1. Being in nature gets children moving and makes them healthier. Children are not moving nearly enough thanks to the rise of the screens. Getting out and interacting with nature provides children a great way to get moving. Even a leisurely stroll can have a vast improvement on one’s health. Being outdoors also helps reduce stress and is good for the mind, body and soul.
  2. Being in nature builds confidence. Outdoor play is most often unstructured play. There are numerous ways children can interact with the outdoors and by letting them choose how they treat nature gives them the power to control their own actions and build confidence.
  3. Being in nature teaches responsibility. Children will learn what happens when the living parts of their environment are not taken care of properly.
  4. Being in nature promotes creative and imaginative thinking. Unstructured play allows children to interact with their surroundings by thinking freely, designing their own activities and approaching the outdoors in inventive ways.
  5. Being outdoors provides stimulation. Nature provides the best stimulation. When exploring nature children utilize all just about all of their senses – hearing, smelling, touching, seeing.
  6. Being in nature gets children thinking and learning! Nature creates a sense of wonder for children getting them thinking and learning as they explore and ask questions. There is no better way to learn about the wonders of nature than to be immersed in it.

Our family loves nature travel and we hope that this post has inspired you to do so too. Nature is everywhere and will always provide you with a unique, one of a kind experience!

Kathy Balman