There seems to be a growing body of evidence that suggests that today’s children are increasingly becoming disconnected from the natural world. Experts in child development are concerned that many children are missing out on vital opportunities to enhance their health and overall well-being due to lack of direct experiences with nature. Additionally, children are unable to develop responsible and positive long term environmental behavior.
The gradually increasing state of personal alienation from the natural world in which a lot if children today are living in, will be among the main causes of future ecological crises. As the world becomes more urbanized, certain aspects such as computers, television and extracurricular activities are all competing for a child’s time. Fewer children in daycare or preschool are given the opportunity to truly enjoy interaction with nature.
Some scientists choose to call it nature deficit disorder. They define this disorder as the adverse effects exhibited by humans that stem from the increasing divide between nature and children. Whether or not such a phenomenon exists can be put to debate.
What is conclusively known is that children are quite aware of the worldwide threats to the natural environment. Unfortunately, their intimacy and close physical contact with the natural world in slowly fading. According to a number of studies conducted internationally, fewer children experience nature directly and a large number of children play indoors more often than they do outside.
The international survey also revealed that young children are connected to the virtual world and are far removed from the natural world. Most of them are considerably unaware of its importance and lack knowledge on the diversity of plants and animals. Simply put, nature should be made more available to children.
A future generation of well informed and empowered environmental ambassadors is needed. This is the single most important reason why it is cool for kids to play with bugs. It is not only leisure time, but an investment in the kids’ health.
Numerous studies have revealed that overall positive connections exist between children’s direct exposure to natural experiences and their physical, emotional and mental well-being. Therefore, the simple act of playing with bugs can improve a child’s self-esteem, promote resilience against adversity and hardships, relieve stress, improve creativity and concentration, complement learning, foster cognitive development and increase self-awareness and versatility. Additionally, it serves to reduce the case of childhood obesity by getting the children out of the comfort of their homes.
One of the best approaches is providing an environment that allows children to naturally develop a love for nature. This can be done by encouraging regular contact with aspects of nature. Children should be allowed to initiate hands on discovery and exploration before they can be academically taught about nature and molded to become its guardians. This should actually be a part of proper child care.
This informal and unstructured contact will allow for the natural development of conservation and preservation principles that will stick with a child for his or her entire life. Parents and caregivers should let the children’s sense of wonder evolve into a sense of exploration over the development years.
Kids’ playtime with bugs is a small part that forms the foundation of environmental consciousness as they grow up. Therefore, all parents in the meantime should let kids be kids again.
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