"The most important thing in the world to parents is their child's well-being, and now we have emerging research that links children's mental, physical and spiritual health directly to their association with nature. We can look at it this way: time in nature is not a luxury; it is essential to our children's health." — Richard Louv
Times have changed, and the way children play has changed, but the need for kids to connect with nature has not. As a child, did you have a special nature place where you built forts, dug holes, climbed trees, explored, played in the water, watched the clouds roll by?
Children today don't often have these experiences. Why not? A "perfect storm" of factors - lack of access to natural places, fear of strangers and lawsuits, less free time and lots of "screen time" - all contribute to the disconnection of children from nature.
The consequences of this lack of outdoor play, along with other environmental and social factors are that more kids today are experiencing physical and mental health issues. The good news is outside - nature is good for you! Outdoor time is important for mental health, physical health, academic achievement, social skills and stewardship. There is a large body of research documenting the benefits of nature for children and everyone.
For a great, easy-to-read brief summary of the issue and wonderful suggestions for easy ways to start getting kids outdoors, go to this booklet.