Why should children play outdoors and learn about nature?
In his seminal book Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv coined the phrase that has come to define the problem we are now trying to solve: Nature Deficit Disorder
Children who become alienated from nature suffer diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.
“If you watch a child playing outside they’re just doing so many physical tasks – they run for hours, dig, climb. If you told them to do it they wouldn’t, but they want to because they’re playing. You won’t get that level of physical activity with anything else.”
“Children exposed to nature scored higher on concentration and self-discipline; improved their awareness, reasoning and observational skills; did better in reading, writing, maths, science and social studies; were better at working in teams; and showed improved behaviour overall”
– Educational Psychologist
The critical age of influence is before 12 years. Before this age contact with nature appears to strongly influence a positive behaviour towards the environment.
“No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”
-Sir David Attenborough