KIDS – go outside and get into nature!

August 5th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

Most kids can identify 1000 corporate logos, but know the names of fewer than 10 plants or animals native to their own backyards. It’s NDD – nature deficit disorder.

Average middle-school aged children spend 30 hours a week looking at TV or a computer monitor. Outdoor educators, including the No Child Left Inside Coalition, encourage kids to get outside and experience nature face to face.

“If you sit in the classroom and open a book and say, here’s the food chain, they may understand it but they don’t really care,” says one teacher who takes students outside for lessons. “I want them to love it! Outside, I see excitement. Their eyes open.”

A recent study by the California Department of Education found that children who learn in outdoor classrooms increase their science scores by 27%.

“Why not make outside part of your classroom? If you’re doing measurement, why not measure for a garden? If you’re doing descriptive writing, why not go outside and look at something real to describe and use adjectives? If you’re doing science it’s a natural tie, but if you’re doing social studies and you want to find out how this area has changed over time, how has the environment changed over time, why not use the environment as a context for that learning?”

If the kids are touching, smelling, seeing, tasting… that’s the way they learn the best.

National Association for Interpretation
No Child Left Inside Coalition
California Regional Environmental Education Community
“Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder”

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love;
we will love only what we understand;
and we will understand only what we are taught.”
– Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist

2 Responses to “KIDS – go outside and get into nature!”

  • from GGA says:

    We love the National Wildlife Federation and subscribe to all three of your children’s magazines: Ranger Rick, Your Big Backyard, and Animal Baby. We also just signed up for your newest publication, coming next January, Just for Fun. We also refer to your Activity Guides and Online Resources for Educators, but hadn’t heard of Green Hour before now! I’m so glad you wrote, Anne.

    For fun, engaging, educational ways to connect kids to nature, the National Wildlife Federation is the most wonderful resource.

  • I work with Green Hour, a campaign of the National Wildlife Federation, that aims to inspire parents to encourage their kids to turn off the computer, ipod and tv and GET OUTSIDE! Check out http://www.greenhour.org to find the tools you need as a parent to help fight nature deficit disorder.