Friday, May 02, 2008

My friend Amy is the regional director for the Children and Nature Network. She's "the twins'" mom if you've heard me talk about her before. (Nick and Mia are her twins in Dane's class, and they live near us with Amy and Chris, their parents, on a houseboat.)

Last night, Amy took me to hear her "boss," Richard Louv, who wrote the book, Last Child in the Woods. His book has sparked a whole movement that focuses on getting kids outdoors -- which led to the creation of Amy's network -- and it was exciting to listen to his ideas and plans.

His basic message is that children need to be connected to the outdoors -- in ways that our current American culture doesn't promote -- if they're going to be connected as human beings and as future stewards of our world.

This means spending a lot of time in dirt, in forests, on trails, building forts and tree houses, getting dirty, breathing fresh air -- feeling comfortable in, and finding solace in, our natural environment. Along with this, he claims kids need unstructured playtime, where they're using their imaginations and playing and thinking creatively.

Virtually everything he said affirmed my own thinking about how kids grow up healthy and happy, and I'm excited to read his book and think more deeply about how we're raising our kids.

Side note: Amy works hard with the network, but she's managed to do so part-time, so she can still ride bikes to school once a week with her kids, take them on hikes, and spend time with their class in small school garden groups. I like how she takes the message of her job seriously. (Click on the Beach or Friends label below to come across some photos of her and her family with ours.)


Anonymous said...

Exactly!! Having the best fun ever.

SFNielsens said...

I love it, I love it, I love it! I want to read that book. Somedays I sit and dream about having a back yard where we can go out and just lay on our backs and watch the clouds. Than I realize I should go out and do it now. Being outside just makes my boys so happy. I love it!