Nov 12, 2007

Last Child in the Woods

Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
by Richard Louv

According to the author, in the past two generations, not only have areas available for children to play in nature decreased, but parents have been (intentionally or not) discouraging kids to play outdoors. Fears of injury, strangers, and all kinds of accidents that could result in lawsuits have resulted in laws, rules, and parental restrictions on kids' outdoor play. There is a serious lack of direct experience with local nature for them, unstructured play being replaced by organized sports, environmental learning being about places far away (like Africa) and attractions like video games and computers keeping them indoors. He argues that this lack of nature experience can have serious emotional and spiritual consequences. He presents studies that show how contact with nature can help children overcome depression, attention deficit disorder and obesity. Other studies show that hands-on nature education helps children develop skills in independence, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. Finally, Louv presents a variety of ways parents, teachers and civic leaders can help children reconnect with local nature in a safe, creative and beneficial manner.

Based on research and countless interviews with children, parents and educators, Last Child in the Woods is a serious look at the current alienation many kids have from nature and the importance of "reconnecting" them. I did get a bit bogged down by all the statistics presented, but overall this is an excellent and thought-provoking book. Visit these links for interviews with the author.

Rating: 4/5             310 pages, 2005

4 comments:

LisaMM said...

It's so true.. we live in a concrete jungle here in Southern California and have to go a ways to find any nature! My kids do play outside, they ride their bikes and scooters and play in the grass. We visit the beach as often as possible, and each summer we vacation in rural Pennsylvania for 3 wks., where my kids get to play in the woods and at the lake. But they do not get to experience much 'nature' on a daily basis.

Maggie said...

Wow! This is so true and I'm glad someone has vocalized the problem into a book. I'm ordering it right now! :D

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeane said...

To the author of deleted comment: I feel it was not appropriate for you to post your entire review of this book in the comments. It would be more acceptable to post a brief remark relating to the subject, with a link to your review included, if you wish.

I am not criticizing your review, it is very well-written, opinionated and informative. But this is not the place to put it.