So, you’re probably wondering was NDD stands for. I learned about the term Nature Deficiency Disorder a couple years ago when we enrolled our daughter in Montessori school. It’s a REAL thing!
I was re-inspired to get the word out through, Woot! Woot! Wednesday’s does your child suffer from NDD, after coming across this study proving the health benefits of green exercise (exercising outdoors) for children.
As a mother, having my daughter experience nature is very important to me. As a busy entrepreneur I also know how tempting and convenient it is to plunk her down in front of the TV or computer so I squeeze one more email in, or make one more phone call.
One of the reasons the Montessori program appealed to us when choosing childcare for Evy, is a critical part of their philosophy is nurturing the child’s oneness with nature.
Time spent outdoors, gardening, playing, exploring, learning about plants and creatures is all part of the curriculum for all ages.
But parents, whether our kids are in Montessori school or NOT, surely we can see the difference in our children when they spend an afternoon outside versus in front of the computer, Wii, tablet, or television.
If we need a study to prove it, perhaps WE are the ones who could benefit from green exercise. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent it’s to model the behavior you’d like to see in your children.
So, to help make a difference I did what I do best…got out my laptop, did some meditating and researching, and came up with 30 fun ideas on how to get more green time.
I think we could start a “cure NDD” movement here. I urge you to read the list and, more importantly please ADD to it!
30 Family Cure-Alls for NDD:
- Start a garden. Even if it’s one or two pots, let your kids water the seeds and steward the whole process. If it’s a flop, use it as a learning experience and try again.
- Build a bird feeder. This can be as simple as putting some millet in a dish, or slathering peanut butter on a pinecone and dipping it in seeds. Keep it simple.
- Set up a humming bird feeder, OR grow plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Kids are just fascinated by them.
- Paint the house with water. Fill buckets with water, put out paint brushes and have the young kids “paint” your house, deck, patio furniture. Let their little imaginations will run wild.
- Make a flower chain with your girls…it’s a great way to weed the grass AND connect together.
- Set up an easel outside and draw or paint scenery. Use finger paint for the little ones.
- Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and come up with an imaginative story or poem together based on what you see in nature.
- Go hiking. Remember to bring along lots of snacks and NO electronics.
- Plan a cool scavenger hunt.
- Go canoeing, kayaking, or boating.
- Go camping…remember, no electronics!
- OR camp in the backyard and make a family night of it.
- Volunteer to clean up local trails.
- Visit a local wildlife preserve.
- Take a bike ride. Find your local greenway and start using it.
- Try mountain biking. They even have cool tagalong attachments for the little ones.
- Chop your own wood (with the older kids of course).
- Dine al fresco. Don’t just grill something outside then eat in front of the TV. Set up an outdoor bistro, or plop a picnic blanket down and enjoy the evening together.
- Take and herb or plant identification walk. So this may bore the heck out of your kids, so let them bring a friend and run around exploring the outdoors while you learn something new.
- Get fido in on the fun! I think modern dogs suffer a bit of NDD too. Increase the time & length of your dog walks and make it a family affair.
- Get your kids involved in outdoor crafts. Now, I’m not a natural-born-crafter, so when I need ideas I hop on Pinterest.
- Three words that will make everyone happy: Hide and seek. Pick an evening and get the whole neighborhood involved…parents LOVE to participate in activities like this with their kids.
- Catch lightening bugs. This will keep your kids entertained for HOURS while you enjoy….
- ….a fire pit! Fire pits are inexpensive and a great way to enjoy an evening at home. For a tasty and healthy fireside treat, let everyone make their own custom banana boats.
- Set up a waterpark at home. Sprinklers, blow up pools, water guns, slip ‘n slides, and water play tables make for hours summertime fun. If you really want to hit a home run, have some sand trucked in and create a little beach to go along with the water play fun.
- Stargaze. Easier for those in the country…so why not drive up to the country one evening and park? Bring your iPad and take advantage of the cool stargazer aps.
- Go berry picking.
- Visit a local farm/farmer’s market. Many local farms offer tours just for kids so they can get to know and connect with where their food and meats come from.
- Encourage your kids to start a nature collection. Be it rocks, pressed leaves, shells, or even bugs, it will get them excited to back outside and explore.
- Invest in some rain gear. Don’t let a rainy day be an excuse to sit inside all day—people in the Pacific Northwest certainly don’t! Send the kids outside and let them splash in the puddles, make mudpies, and search for rainy day creatures (worms, frogs, etc.).
If the idea of Nature Deficiency Disorder resonates with you, I highly recommend Richard Louv’s book on the topic, Last Child in the Woods.
Now it’s YOUR TURN. What can you add to this list? Can we get over 100 ideas going? Maybe even 200?!
Can I get a Woot! Woot! For curing NDD?
just for the health of it!