In the animated film "Tarzan II," young Tarzan (voiced by Harrison Chad) has to come to terms with his place in the family of apes that has adopted him. After travels and tribulations, he does just that, thriving because of his happy relationship with the nature all around him.
A lot of research has been done on the cognitive and emotional benefits for kids of regularly spending time in nature. They include better school performance, more creativity, improved fitness, less depression and hyperactivity, stronger bones, improved eyesight (less nearsightedness), and better sleep.
But too many of today's youngsters have what's been called “nature-deficit disorder.”
That nonmedical term describes behavioral and developmental/learning problems — from attention deficits to depression — that can arise when kids are constantly indoors, staring at a digital screen five or more hours a day.
How can you change your video-gaming 12-year-old into a Tarzan?
A new study from North Carolina State University says solitary activities in which your child is one-on-one with nature, such as fishing or hiking, are keys to building a strong love of nature, as are outdoor social activities such as playing sports or camping.
So go to a local, state, or national park, or take a drive in the country, and let your child explore and discover new and mysterious plants and animals.
Remember, a sedentary lifestyle imperils your child's health and happiness. And that’s true for adults as well.