Connection to Nature

“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused—a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love—then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.”
—Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder


Nature at Home

20 Ways to Create a Naturally Restorative Home and Garden –Richard Louv, Children & Nature Network

Nature Play as an Everyday Joy? For Kids, Frequency Requires Proximity –Ken Finch, Children & Nature Network

Benefits of Time in Nature

Swapping Screen Time for Getting Dirty: Why Kids Need to Spend More Time Outside -Shannon Hayes, Yes Magazine

Green Schoolyards as Havens from Stress and Resources for Resilience in Childhood and Adolescence by Chawla, Keena, Pevec and Stanley, Health & Place, 2014

Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Your Brain -Alanna Ketler, Collective Evolution

In Defense of Boredom –Richard Louv, Children & Nature Network

Risk & Reward in Nature Play –Ken Finch, Ecology Global Network

Restoring Peace: Six Ways Nature in Our Lives Can Reduce Violence in Our World –Richard Louv, Children and Nature Network

Video: Mother Nature’s Child

Leave No Child Inside –Richard Louv

Overcoming Barriers to Outdoor Free Play

We Need Fewer Exams and More Wilderness in Education by Ben Fogle

The Overprotected Kid –Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic

I Stopped Complaining About the Weather and Here is What Happened — by Nicolette on the Wilder Child Blog

Favorite Books

I have spent the past few years sorting through all the books out there on everything from outdoor education to nature crafts for kids to parenting in a consumer culture. Below is a list of my favorite books listed by audience.

Books for Kids 

One Small Place in a Tree by Barbara Brenner

How to Hide a Butterfly and The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller

A Rock is Lively,  An Egg is Quiet ,and A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston

Jim Arnosky’s Crinkleroot guide books, including Crinkleroot’s Visit to Crinkle Cove.

If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (his other books are equally wonderful)

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran by Kenneth Thumasma

Resource Books for Parents

Babes in the Woods: Hiking, camping, and boating with babies and young children by Jennifer Aist (author was our childbirth educator and really knows her stuff–this is an excellent book!)

Nature’s Playground: Activities, crafts, and games to encourage children to get outdoors by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Campout! by Lynn Brunelle

Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Claire Walker Leslie

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison

Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places by Gary Paul Nabhan

Schools & Teachers

Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation by S. Danks

Coyote’s Guide to Connecting With Nature by Jon Young

Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education by David Sobel.

Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul by Rusty Keeler

Voluntary Simplicity, Green Living, and Books about Happiness

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown.

The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age by Richard Louv

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

What’s the Economy For, Anyway? Why It’s Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursing Happiness by David Batker and John de Graaf.

The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health–And How We Can Make It Better by Annie Leonard.

Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living by Rachel Kaplan and K. Ruby Blume

Favorite Websites

Nature at Home

Ideas on bringing nature home, from nature tables to finding nearby parks.