Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life Paperback – 1 Jun 2017
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Richard Louv's Vitamin N should find its place in the list of essential vitamins! If we stress a connection to the natural environment... we can lessen the lifelong effects of a stressful childhood, including depression, obesity [and] behavior problems. * Mary Brown, MD, past board member of the American Academy of Pediatrics * [The Last Child in the Woods] is an absolute must-read for parents. * Boston Globe * Louv proclaims the many advantages of reconnecting with nature, both for children and adults, in an insightful and practical guide chock full of inspirational advice... This important new book provides the tools to reclaim the wonders and health benefits of nature. * Publishers Weekly * Vitamin N [is] a cheerfully pragmatic, can-do manual on parenting... We must create a nature-filled world, starting now-in our families, neighborhoods, and communities. * Outside Magazine * One of the 3 best reasons to go outdoors * Daily Mail *
From the bestselling authority on connecting children with nature, a one-of-a-kind guide full of practical ideas, advice and inspiration for creating a nature-rich life.See all Product description
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“Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life” was a great read. There are “500 Ways to Enrich Your Family's Health & Happiness,” as stated on the cover. There are ideas in this book for all ages, from infant to adult.
The premise of the book is that we live in a society that has grown away from nature, that we are suffering from what the author has coined “nature-deficit disorder.” The book is full of facts that support the idea that nature is beneficial to humans by relieving stress, anxiety, and depression; helping increase concentration and assisting with ADHD symptoms in children; improving mental and physical health; and aiding creativity and learning. The author encourages time in nature for everyone, including children and adults with special needs. The author suggests joining local outdoor groups to decrease isolation and to build stronger bonds with local people and other families. Though the point of the book is to get outside and into nature, away from the TV, electronic gadgets, and advertising, electronic devices can sometimes be used in tandem with nature to enhance the experience, as with geocaching, which is similar to a treasure hunt that uses GPS. He suggests taking an inexpensive camera and taking photos for older children.
The book discusses the exciting increase in popularity of nature kindergartens and nature preschools. These types of programs take place outside, rain or shine.
I like how the book is formatted. There are text areas, then there are set-apart bolded sections that are part of the 500 suggestions. I also like the fact that there are quotes from regular people and professionals who are involved in this “forward to nature” movement in a section called Other Voices. The book is broken up into manageable chunks, so it's great to read in doctor's offices, for example.
The author also includes suggestions for grandparents to get involved.
Some of the ideas included are gardening in the backyard, helping researchers by collecting data about local wildlife, going bird-watching, catching fireflies, hiking, mountain climbing, playing in the mud, camping or renting a cabin in the woods at a state park, wildcrafting, go on a picnic in the park, independent outdoor play, cloud-spotting (there's a group devoted to this!), record outdoor sounds like birds singing or the river and listen inside, storytelling, outdoor experiments like a sun oven, nature writing such as keeping a nature journal, writing about the beauty of something ugly, haiku poetry, rock art, making handmade books about your adventures outside and using outdoor treasures in them, tree-houses, going star-gazing, building forts, learn navigation skills, roll down grassy hills, fly a kite, and many, many other suggestions. Do these sound like activities that you might have done as a child? I remember doing many of them; they were normal parts of play years ago. This is not the case anymore. Some of these activities sound so simple, but they are wonderful experiences!
There is one thing I would like to note about a specific activity. The author suggests taking your child's toys and stuffed animals and hiding them outside in different areas, then letting your child find them and have a blast playing with them in a different environment. The author says that kids will love this, but I want to state that you know your child best. If my mom would have taken my stuffed animals outside and hid them, I would have freaked out and cried. An Easter egg hunt is one thing, but this is quite another. There are plenty of other suggestions, though.
The book also includes suggestions on how to get the community involved in the Forward to Nature movement, using local schools and teachers, libraries, and other organizations. Some of these ideas seem to be out of reach and unrealistic, but the point of this book is to initiate change. What is unrealistic today might be common in the future.
There are safety tips included, many resources including a bibliography and recommended reading, and ideas for people who live in urban areas. The book discusses healing gardens in hospitals and includes suggestions for renovations of buildings to include more elements of nature.
Overall, this was a great book chock full of wonderful ideas to get back in touch with nature and regain balance. Even though I am not a parent, there are plenty of good ideas in here that I would like to try myself, and I plan to lend the book to my mother so that she might include some of these activities as she plays with and babysits my niece and nephew. While nature-deficit disorder is not a recognized medical diagnosis, I believe that there is credibility in the claims made about it. I would want the future generation to have good, positive memories of playing outside, and not just a childhood of memories that are just watching TV, playing video games, taking selfies, and surfing the internet. This book is a great place to start to enact change for the betterment of ourselves and our children.
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