Nature Deficit Disorder

There is a great article written by Adam White in Pro Landscaper this month about reconnecting children with nature. It talks about the impact and shocking consequences of children losing contact with nature, and that it's happening at a dramatic rate. - page 18/19

It seems that this problem is worse in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, which is very worrying and maybe explains why our ranking in childhood satisfaction surveys are so poor.

Nature-Deficit Disorder is a phrase coined by Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” and it's giving rise to some very disturbing trends

  • Child & subsequent adult obesityLast Child in the Woods
  • ADHD and other attention disorders
  • Physical and emotional illnesses
  • Diminished use of the senses

Getting back to simple pleasures, learning about and connecting with nature is clearly good for childrens health and wellbeing (and indeed for all of us). There have been many surveys carried out, including one by The National Trust, that show how being outside develops a child’s imagination and creativity

  • children learn more and behave better when lessons are conducted outdoors
  • symptoms of children diagnosed with ADHD improve when they are exposed to nature
  • children say their happiness depends more on having things to do outdoors more than owning technology.   


Garden Plotters run outdoor workshops for primary schools that aim to address some of these issues. Subjects are wide ranging including designing an outdoor space, growing vegetables, learning how plants grow and adapt to their environment, bugs and minibeasts, learning about soil and the living things within it, habitat creation and many more garden related topics. You only have to see the delight on children’s faces when given the chance to experience outdoor learning, they really come alive. These are just some of the things children have said to us….

'I liked mashing up all the big lumps'

'Getting wet when we played the seed game was fun!'

'I liked putting the soil in, it was fun getting my hands dirty'

We need to change the way our children see and experience the world around them, let’s buck the trend, let’s inspire and enable them to get outdoors to reconnect and bond with nature. 


1st July 2015