Play Outside! Free Range Kids are Happier and Healthier

I recently received Community Playthings‘ booklet entitled The Wisdom of Nature: Out My Back Door. This beautiful resource is filled with article after article supporting the importance of outdoor play for children.  Not the sort of contrived outdoor play a playground offers, but true exploration of nature in our own backyards.  Furthermore, Community Playthings is offering this booklet free!  Order one for your child’s teacher or your own homeschool program.

Here are some excerpts I adore from The Wisdom of Nature.

Nancy Rosenow and Susan Wirth write on “Outdoor Spaces”:

A few generations ago, it wasn’t necessary to design those kind of spaces.  Most children lived close to fields or forests they could explore at their leisure….

The bells and whistles of of technology keep children indoors staring at screens.  Even when they do go outdoors in centers or schools, children play on sterile “safety” surfacing and plastic structures.  In our well-meaning attempts to keep children from harm, we have removed much of what could bring them joy…

It’s time for our children to grow up a little dirtier but a lot happier.

Rusty Keeler writes on “Creating Planet Earth:

As adults we may think of lofty places of great natural importance, and yet the most important place on the planet for young children is…your back yard.

John Rosenow writes on “Growing Tree Planters” (This is my favorite article in the booklet):

Today’s conservation professionals, and the many citizens who support environmental causes through their personal actions, contributions, and votes, tend to have one thing in common:  as children we led “free-range” childhoods.  We spent hours and hours of unstructured time outdoors, connected with nature…

As a result we developed an emotional connection with the natural world which led us to care about the environment as adults…

Today, outdoor experiencs for countless children are confiend to asphalt playgrounds suurrounded by chain-link fences…

In response to this disconnection, many organizations have developed educational programs which teach children about environmental issues such as deforestation or global warming.  However, these efforts are often ineffective or even counter-productive if they do not foster an early emotional attachment with nature in children.

In short, we need to help children lean to love the earth before we ask them to save it…

We need to help teachers and young parents, who are themselves part of the video generation, learn to support those nature connections, for their own benefit as well.

This is just a small sampling of the wonderful wisdom contained in The Wisdom of Nature.  Thankfully, this booklet is printed on FSC paper.  There’s nothing worse than advocating for the outdoors without considering it in publication.

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  2. [...] time outside. Did you hear me? Hey everyone, GO OUTSIDE!!! From Jennifer Lance and EcoChildsPlay: Play Outside! Free Range Kids are Happier and Healthier From Heroin and Cornflakes: New Pediatrics Study Identifies the Risks, Consequences of Video Game [...]

  3. [...] time outside. Did you hear me? Hey everyone, GO OUTSIDE!!! From Jennifer Lance and EcoChildsPlay: Play Outside! Free Range Kids are Happier and Healthier From Heroin and Cornflakes: New Pediatrics Study Identifies the Risks, Consequences of Video Game [...]

  4. [...] create emotional attachments and connections which leads to altruism for our environment.  As John Rosenow writes on “Growing Tree Planters”: Today’s conservation professionals, and the many citizens who support environmental causes [...]

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