Last Child in the Woods [Bookreview]
I am not one to review books but the “Last Child in the Woods – Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv just seemed too perfect of a book for me not to recommend to the many home schoolers, educators and parents that visit this blog. Louv goes into great depth about how our children are increasingly disconnected from nature and why it is important to have our children around nature.
Spring Salamander found during a Fossil Hunt.
Louv spends a good majority of the book discussing the importance of allowing children to play outside in “green” areas instead of staying inside playing computer games or watching television! I specifically remember when he talked about “nature is about smelling, hearing, tasting and seeing”!! I am not sure his exact wording . . . . but he talked about how smelling, tasting and feeling can not be obtained by our current internet obsessed world!! He clams that too many of our children learn about nature by the internet (things that can be googable) or by videos you might find on television. He feels that their just isn’t enough personal exploring happening in our own backyard hillsides.
Kids exploring the Bear Caves.
Louv relates the obesity of children to the result of kids not being allowed to play outside and instead spend their day eating junk food, watching television or playing those computer games. Louv does bring up how we yell at our children for not being outside but then the parents will not allow them to play too far from the back door due to liabilities and fears of kidnappers. What I found most interesting was the chapter discussing how children’s lack of nature has resulted in problems with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Those kids who had ADHD were the kids who were praised in the olden days and they would be the hardest workers on the farms. The children would leave the farm property to explore, go fishing or go hunting. They were not cooped up in the house and medicated like most of today’s children are (he does mention cases where medication is required).
Kids Playing in the Stream.
Overall, this was a wonderful book and I especially liked reading about the wonderful things that our local Roger Tory Peterson Institute has been doing with teaching teachers how to involve nature into their classrooms. What is ironic is that many of the kids you see on this blog have assisted in some of those RTPI trainings with the teachers he discussed!
So . . . . if you are a parent, educator or even a home schooler . . . . Please Read This Book!! It isn’t the easiest book to read but it does have some very interesting things that might motivate you kicking your children outside for a few hours instead of allowing them to continue playing on those computer game (did you read that J??)!!
I see many children through my many nature activities that I am currently doing and it always come back to the parents being the reason I never see the kids again. Kids are more than willing to wake up at 5am to band birds but it is those parents who don’t want to wake up that are denied the many opportunities available to their children!! Or the parents don’t want to loose their Saturday mornings for some birds, etc. . . . Those kids you see regularly on this blog have had many opportunities to learn about trees, flowers, birds and writing about nature, etc . . . . but the truth is that these kids are so involved with nature because their parents are encouraging that nature be in their life!! Those kids love nature so much that they could possibly become our last child in the woods.
READ THE BOOK!
EDIT: I want to include this NPR Morning Edition Story on saving kids from “Nature Deficit Disorder”!
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