The 2018 Louisville Earth Walk will be fun for the whole family, but there is a special place for children and their parents at the LEW- the Children’s Nature Play area. Hosted by the Nature Rich Alliance of Louisville, the space will provide an opportunity for children to reduce their NDD, or Nature Deficit Disorder. Richard Louv coined the phase Nature Deficit Disorder in his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods.” He argues that all of us, especially children, are spending more time indoors, which can make us feel alienated from nature. Spending less time outdoors can also make us vulnerable to negative mood and more distractible.
Studies show that children greatly benefit when allowed to play in natural settings. There are emotional benefits to outdoor play such as reduced stress and anxiety while simultaneously an increase in concentration and feelings of self-worth. Nature play offers intellectual benefits as well. The out of doors is a learning laboratory where children can explore, hypothesize, investigate, and gain first hand knowledge about the workings of the natural world. Climbing trees, stomping in puddles, and running up hills are just a few of the invigorating activities that children can engage in. The physical benefits to outdoor play help build strong bodies and burn calories leading to improved overall health.
Our children are the future stewards of the planet. The Nature Deficit Disorder may make it difficult to foster future environmentalist. How can our future leaders care and protect something they don’t know? It would seem that encouraging children to play in nature not only benefits them but future generations as well. Join us on Saturday morning April 21, 2018 for the Louisville Earth Walk and appreciate the value of child’s play!