I friend of mine recently gave me the now classic book 'Last Child In the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder' by the author Richard Louv. Even though it was written over 15 years ago, the message is as relevant as ever.
While 'nature-deficit disorder' is not meant to be a scientific or even a medical term, the affects of our children's withdrawal from the natural world has become a serious field of study. And research overwhelmingly points to something that we all know instinctively: regular enjoyment of the natural world is critical to raising emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy kids.
In Louv's book he quotes researchers from the University of Illinois: 'If, as a growing body of evidence recommends, "contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep, then current trends in children's access to nature need to be addressed." (p.110)
That quote was from 2008. Today the Children and Nature Network joins Louv in his call to awaken us to an issue that is almost invisible amidst our busy, tech and media oriented lifestyles:
"On average, today’s kids spend up to 44 hours per week in front of a screen, and less than 10 minutes a day playing outdoors."
This is truly astonishing and should cause us to fall out of our chairs! What kind of future can we expect for our kids and the world if we don't reverse this trend? As overlanders and outdoor lovers we want to take this research to heart and be a part of the solution.
In light of all this, we recently launched a fun family challenge for 2021 that can give you and your kids one more reason to go exploring outdoors together. We want 'Sasquatch Was Here' to be an inspiration and encouragement for instilling in your kids a deep love of exploring the natural world - it's not just fun, it's essential!