No Child Left Inside: the Children and Nature Network

The Children and Nature website has a wealth of resources, providing “access to the latest news and research in the field and a peer-to-peer network of researchers and individuals, educators and organizations dedicated to children’s health and well-being. ”
It tracks discussions of outdoor play in the popular news media as well as books and scholarly journals (look under ‘news’, then ‘research and studies’ for most of the popular press articles, including a Daily Mail piece on How children lost the right to roam in four generations).
The research section has abstracts (with links to full-text) of scholarly studies.
Here is where you’ll find the hard data you need to convince your boss/councilman/pastor/principal/board president/client
NOT to install a typical off-the-shelf playground.
(click on ‘publications’, then ‘research’, then ‘Volume 1’ or ‘Volume 2’)
A sampling of topics:
Unstructured Free Play Brings Cognitive, Social and Health Benefits
Naturalized School Grounds Benefit Children and Communities
Design Cities Where Children Can Play and Learn Independently
Children’s use of space has changed from being primarily outdoors to indoors and supervised.
Children playing in urban areas may experience lower levels of biological diversity
and my favorite:
Children know more about Pokémon than common wildlife
There’s been a strange disconnect for me in the strident advocacy of dense urban living by some in the environmental movement…it can result in children who are near completely severed from the natural environment their parents hope they will grow up to protect. And people rarely protect what they don’t know.
Set aside a chunk of time to do some enlightening reading at this site…you can also join to get regular updates by email.

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