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Nature Deficit Disorder in Your Child

Updated on June 29, 2014

What Is Nature Deficit Disorder ?

What is Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)? Defined by author Richard Louv in his 2005 book "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder" as a modern day problem where children simply don't spend enough time outdoors anymore. He contends that kids today are more likely to be surfing the net or playing video games rather than play outside during free time. Louv believes that NDD contributes to problems such as hyperactivity and childhood obesity, among others. There are some very simple ways to curtail NDD in your child and introduce nature to children.


Enroll your child in Scouts, 4H or other outdoor activity club. Scouting field trips often include hikes and camping. 4H activities include agricultural based focusing on animal or environmental science. You will also have the added benefit of meeting other parents and getting some fresh air yourself.

Picnics are great fun.
Picnics are great fun.


If you are lucky enough to live near a State or National Park, schedule a weekend hiking trip to one of them. Pack a picnic lunch and bring the kids. Or, if you are more adventurous, you can bring a tent and camp overnight. Some parks offer activities such as tubing down a lazy river, boating, or even white water rafting. Don't worry - not all rapids are as rough as depicted in the movies. They will enjoy the new sights, experiences and fresh air.


Oceans and Lakes

If you live near the ocean or a lake, take your child for a walk on the beach (even if it’s too cold for swimming) and collect shells. Or, you may go fossil hunting if you live near a natural formed lake. If you live near a fishable lake, buy a fishing license and take your child fishing. They will be thrilled with his or her first catch.

Seasonal Outdoor Activities

Try some seasonal outings as well. If it’s Fall, find out if there is a pumpkin patch or corn maze near your town. My child loves our annual tradition of going to the corn maze. Or, find colorful fall foliage to take home and use them for Fall decorations. Winter: take your child sledding or tobogganing or ice skating. Spring: plant a garden in your front or back yard. Children love to watch things grow and are eager to help with this task. Summer: look for a local swimming hole or if you are lucky enough to live nearby the ocean, spend an afternoon at the beach.

Get going.....

Start a family-based hiking/activity club and encourage other families to join you. Websites such as enable one to easily organize and advertise any type of club.

Poll for Parents:

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

See results

Guestbook Comments

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      5 years ago from Fresno CA

      This is fascinating. I hadn't thought of it before but the author is right. There just aren't enough outdoor activities for kids to engage in unless the parent is right there to protect him. And working parents can't really do that very often. I know for myself, we got a place far from town so we could be surrounded by outdoors, but my grandkids don't have that option. Something for me to ponder and consider visiting more often just to take the kids OUTSIDE. Thanks.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Other simple things I tried to do was call attention to a bright sunset, or full moon or talk about the weather. One time I took my son to fly a kite down the street. He still tries to fly kites at the beach and other places. When he gets his hair cut he is amazed at how the wind can be felt on his scalp. We did go camping every summer.

      Intercity children are a group that has suffered NDD I am sure. I hope a whole new group such as computer kids isn't an additional group put into that category.


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