Combating Nature-Deficit Disorder: Family Outdoor Activities

This is a guest post by Jason Williams of, a website dedicated to providing information to help people be prepared for storms. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Dogwood Alliance.

Child with plants Nature Deficit Disorder
Image via Pexels

Nature-deficit disorder (NDD) is a term created by journalist and Audubon Medal recipient Richard Louv and was first introduced in his best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. It describes the issue of children not spending enough time in the natural world and being disconnected from nature, which leads to issues including stunted emotional development, being more prone to illness, and a host of other problems. It’s important to note that while NDD is not a medical condition, it’s a recognized problem that’s been discussed in countless outlets, including the New York Times, the University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, and National Geographic.

NDD is a problem that affects children and adults alike, especially as we spend more time on our mobile devices and less time in nature. By spending more time outdoors and less of our lives on tech devices, however, we can reverse the negative effects of NDD or prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place. To help families combat NDD, Dogwood Alliance invites you to consider the following resources!

Family-Friendly Excursions and Activities

The best way to encourage outdoor activity is to come up with ways to spend time outside together.

Take a Family RV Trip

Go Mountain Biking

Find a Local Hiking Trail

Enjoy a Night of Stargazing

Start or Participate in an Urban or Community Garden

Go Geocaching

Snowshoe Through a Park or Trail

Visit a Botanical Garden

Visit an Archery Range

Encourage Outdoor Play Time at Home

When the family is home-bound, consider different ways to explore the great outdoors if you have a backyard.

Make Your Own Backyard Zipline

Create an Outdoor Reading Nook Your Kids will Love

Build a Sunflower House as a Family

Create a Backyard Dragonfly Garden

Set Up a Few Lawn Games

Camp Out in Your Backyard

Learn How to Observe Wildlife

Encourage Outdoor Play in the Winter

By enhancing your backyard or setting off on a family-friendly adventure, you’ll help your children to develop an appreciation for the outdoors—while also protecting them from nature-deficit disorder. It’s never too late to overcome NDD, but it’s best to teach your kids to appreciate nature as early in their lives as possible.

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