web site hit counter Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Availability: Ready to download

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature def "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they're right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development—physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature. Yet sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time, of course, but it's also our fears of traffic, strangers, even virus-carrying mosquitoes—fears the media exploit—that keep children indoors. Meanwhile, schools assign more and more homework, and there is less and less access to natural areas. Parents have the power to ensure that their daughter or son will not be the "last child in the woods," and this book is the first step toward that nature-child reunion.


Compare

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature def "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they're right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development—physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature. Yet sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time, of course, but it's also our fears of traffic, strangers, even virus-carrying mosquitoes—fears the media exploit—that keep children indoors. Meanwhile, schools assign more and more homework, and there is less and less access to natural areas. Parents have the power to ensure that their daughter or son will not be the "last child in the woods," and this book is the first step toward that nature-child reunion.

30 review for Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

  1. 5 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    This is typical sentence from Last Child in the Woods: "he offered no academic studies to support his theory; nonetheless his statement rang true." That about sums up this book: it's not empirical, but, nonetheless, it rings true'"more or less. Louv draws his conclusions far too widely and gives too much credit to what nature will do for kids, but the general idea rings true. Kids should play in nature '" not because (as Louv questionably implies) it will cure ADHD, make them better athletes, in This is typical sentence from Last Child in the Woods: "he offered no academic studies to support his theory; nonetheless his statement rang true." That about sums up this book: it's not empirical, but, nonetheless, it rings true'"more or less. Louv draws his conclusions far too widely and gives too much credit to what nature will do for kids, but the general idea rings true. Kids should play in nature '" not because (as Louv questionably implies) it will cure ADHD, make them better athletes, increase their math and language test scores, prevent depression, or guarantee great creativity '" but because it's fun, it's freeing, it's healthy, and they're kids, and that's what kids have done for centuries. The author takes an unfocused and largely anecdotal approach to supporting his argument that playing in nature makes kids better off in a myriad ways. He dubs the results of modern lack of contact with nature "nature deficit disorder." He cites some studies but often ignores the maxim that "correlation does not necessarily imply causation." A typical support goes something like this: look at all these creative people. They used to play in nature as kids. Playing in nature must make people creative. It's rather like picking the most creative people of the current youngest generation and saying '" look at all these creative people. They used to surf the internet as kids! Surfing the internet must have made them creative! It makes sense, however, that nature would have a calming effect on kids; that balancing on fallen trees as you cross the creek would build coordination, that spending time imbibing the wonders of the great Creator would inspire human creativity. And I join in a feeling of sadness for a world that is largely gone; I want my children to have the childhood I had, spending hours after school exploring the creek with friends, building forts from scratch in the woods, catching waterbus and tadpoles and butterflies, digging pits in the earth, and engaging in neighborhood-wide, week-long war strategy games from patch of woods to patch of woods. I don't necessarily agree with all of his solutions, and I don't think he realizes how large a share of the problem is owing to private familial choice and not external circumstances, but I dearly want my kids to play in nature. Louv has ideas for improving the problem, but, as is true of most people making public policy proposals, he doesn't really consider the cost or practicality of implementing them. And ultimately it isn't schools or poor city planners that keep kids from nature, it's family culture. And he does mention this: the overscheduling, the fear of allowing children to wander off on their own to explore, and the permissive use of electronic entertainment. But roaming freely in packs from school until dinner time is the way children have always explored nature, so until you change that private family culture of fear, structure, scheduling, and plugging-in, no amount of city planning or tinkering with the public school curriculum is going to address the problem of "nature deficit disorder." This is why I think this is much more a private family issue than a public policy issue, and while I think this book is a good kick in the pants to parents (including me), it's not necessarily a good springboard for policy making, being based almost entirely on emotion rather than reason and lacking sufficient empirical verification of the claimed benefits of free play in nature or evidence that the particular policies he supports really would sufficiently increase free play in nature. The truth is '" nature is still there. Development has made the areas smaller, but they're there. The very same creek I explored as a child is right where I left it. The question is '" are we individual parents going to allow our kids to explore it on their own and encourage them to? Or are we going to say, I want you home after school, in your room, studying until basketball/football/piano/band practice? Even the author of this book doesn't let his kids explore the canyon behind his own backyard without taking their cell phones, and he has taught them to be appalled by hunting. Some questions I wished he'd addressed better (or at all): (1) How much of our perception of the problem might be connected to mere romantic nostalgic longing for our own pasts? I was not born into a world of personal computers (though I got my first in 4th grade) or of the Internet (which I didn't use until college); the world has changed irrevocably, and there is more difference between the childhood lifestyle of my children's generation and my own generation than there was between the childhood of me and my parents, or even me and my grandparents. The talents the future world will demand will be different; we have to acknowledge this and prepare our kids for it. (2) How much of it is that nature has a calming effect on children, and how much is it that in open spaces, adults are more tolerant of children acting like children? (3) I want my kids to explore nature on their own, but I did this with friends as a kid because this is what kids did. Now, how will my children make and maintain friends spending most of their time doing things most other kids simply aren't doing?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Johns

    I would give this a 3.5 rating if I was allowed. After that caveat, I have to say that overall this book left me feeling sad, a little hopeless, nostalgic, grateful, and angry. I had a childhood spent outside; in the fields and woods behind our house and on camping and fishing trips with my Dad. I know how formative these experiences were to my personality, spirituality, politics, and attitude about so many things. I have always pictured my child/ren having a similarly intimate relationship with I would give this a 3.5 rating if I was allowed. After that caveat, I have to say that overall this book left me feeling sad, a little hopeless, nostalgic, grateful, and angry. I had a childhood spent outside; in the fields and woods behind our house and on camping and fishing trips with my Dad. I know how formative these experiences were to my personality, spirituality, politics, and attitude about so many things. I have always pictured my child/ren having a similarly intimate relationship with the natural world. But after reading this book I realize that for the most part that ideal world where children run free in fields, vacant lots and woods all over America is no more. We have killed it with fear, legislation, litigation, and sprawl. We have removed the natural world from our classrooms to make room for science and environmental education that alienates our young people from their own habitat, both local and global. We have taken the children out of the world and have only caused them harm because of it. You have to read the book to really get the myriad ways we have disadvantaged our children spiritually, psychologically, intellectually, and physically by bringing them inside, in front of screens. Louv goes into great detail about all the ways this has happened, in schools, neighborhoods, parks, backyards, etc. I skimmed some parts because I couldn't really make myself care. But he also gives concrete and reasonable examples of people and programs helping children know and love nature. Personal stories about childhoods spent in nature also weave the different topics and sections together. The mix of personal stories and journalism give the book a heart, where it might just have been dull and overwhelming. A book to be read by everyone who cares about children and the future of our world. So, that should be everyone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    With its heart in the right place, this book needs an editor--it reads like a rambling, book-length review article. I don't dispute the message and there were nuggets of interest (how do we allow for rambunctious play that doesn't hurt habitat?). However, if I were against this or didn't believe the premise, I don't think Louv would have changed my mind. He doesn't makes a strong argument (the evidence is circumstantial and sentimental)--just a long one. You don't need to read this book to know With its heart in the right place, this book needs an editor--it reads like a rambling, book-length review article. I don't dispute the message and there were nuggets of interest (how do we allow for rambunctious play that doesn't hurt habitat?). However, if I were against this or didn't believe the premise, I don't think Louv would have changed my mind. He doesn't makes a strong argument (the evidence is circumstantial and sentimental)--just a long one. You don't need to read this book to know we all need to be outside more and engaged--observing, resting or playing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nell

    The idea that struck me the most is that it is not just good for children to be outside in the grass, in the trees, in the creeks, wandering and unstructured--it is vital, as necessary every day as is food, water, and sleep. The accounts of how disconnected today's society has become from nature were dispiriting, although there were also many examples of communities and schools striving to reconnect children to the natural world. I also enjoyed the arguments against several things that drive me The idea that struck me the most is that it is not just good for children to be outside in the grass, in the trees, in the creeks, wandering and unstructured--it is vital, as necessary every day as is food, water, and sleep. The accounts of how disconnected today's society has become from nature were dispiriting, although there were also many examples of communities and schools striving to reconnect children to the natural world. I also enjoyed the arguments against several things that drive me nuts: over-scheduled children, housing association rules/city codes that discourage free use of public green areas, schools that are cutting back on recess, and kids that are kept inside because of parents' fear (of predators or the idea that nature is dangerous or whatever). And, of course, there's the whole subject of ADD, which I won't even get started on. Several of the studies the author referred to showed a marked improvement in concentration, centered-ness, etc. amongst people that had been outdoors or even just exposed to views of trees and growing things. Fascinating stuff...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    This book has been criticized because it doesn't really offer empirical evidence, but I think for those of us who spent time wandering the woods (we had 40 acres that I knew like the back of my hand) as kids, we know what a gift that outdoor time can be for kids. That's why this book is a must-read for parents and educators, I think -- to remind us of what's out there and possible and what we've forgotten. It may be that "nature" therapy can work as a form of behavior therapy for ADHD kids -- an This book has been criticized because it doesn't really offer empirical evidence, but I think for those of us who spent time wandering the woods (we had 40 acres that I knew like the back of my hand) as kids, we know what a gift that outdoor time can be for kids. That's why this book is a must-read for parents and educators, I think -- to remind us of what's out there and possible and what we've forgotten. It may be that "nature" therapy can work as a form of behavior therapy for ADHD kids -- and that's fine. But the point that's most important here is that there's a huge world out there that our kids should be experiencing first-hand whenever possible, rather than through a computer screen.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Rarely do I quit a book - but I did so with this one. I get what Louv is saying - it would be fair to say he is preaching to the choir. I appreciate the real and rugged outdoors as well as unstructured outdoor play for children. I guess I'd rather read something that challenges my perspective. Unfortunately, that was not what forced me to put this book down. If the babyboomers (that is the author's generation)spent so much wonderful time running around in the undeveloped landscape, how did they Rarely do I quit a book - but I did so with this one. I get what Louv is saying - it would be fair to say he is preaching to the choir. I appreciate the real and rugged outdoors as well as unstructured outdoor play for children. I guess I'd rather read something that challenges my perspective. Unfortunately, that was not what forced me to put this book down. If the babyboomers (that is the author's generation)spent so much wonderful time running around in the undeveloped landscape, how did they grow up to be the business people that took these lands away from their own children for the sake of profit? How is it that they have lead our country to be the world's most wasteful and polluting nation in the world? What did running around like Huck Finn do for them? Yes, kids need to be outside, using their imagination and engaging with nature. But they also need to be raised to be mindful and conscientious citizens. Letting them run around outside will not work wonders on it's own, as Louv and his generation have so tragically proven.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The author had me at, "Nature offers healing for a child living in a destructive family or neighborhood." As this is true of my own experience and to this day I revel in the healing properties of walking through woods. "Given the chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it at the creek, turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion." I made fairy dells. I still imagine fairies when I see toadstools in the woods. I will be forever grateful to The author had me at, "Nature offers healing for a child living in a destructive family or neighborhood." As this is true of my own experience and to this day I revel in the healing properties of walking through woods. "Given the chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it at the creek, turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion." I made fairy dells. I still imagine fairies when I see toadstools in the woods. I will be forever grateful to my mother who inspired in me the love of dogs and woods and provided me with the opportunity to walk in such places as bluebell woods (I learned later that it's official name is Badbury Clump), and Savernake Forest. Nature is a wonderful playground for children and a place to explore and free their minds to imagine and create. The author has done a good job in inspiring us to get outside and into nature and more especially to get our children outside and has provided reasoning as to why it is so vitally important to our whole health.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    What a significant piece of literature. At first glance, and even through the first chapter, one could confuse Louv for an overaggressive hippie whose soul purpose is to let mankind wander barefoot while living solely off fruits and berries. Instead, however, Louv has masterfully woven together monster topics such as parenthood, education, diet, relationships, and even religion--all in one book. This book should be read by all human beings, and I do not mean that in a hyperbolic way. At the very What a significant piece of literature. At first glance, and even through the first chapter, one could confuse Louv for an overaggressive hippie whose soul purpose is to let mankind wander barefoot while living solely off fruits and berries. Instead, however, Louv has masterfully woven together monster topics such as parenthood, education, diet, relationships, and even religion--all in one book. This book should be read by all human beings, and I do not mean that in a hyperbolic way. At the very least, it's a must-read for parents and teachers. Louv's research is exhaustive in every single area, and no aspect of our society goes untouched. With so much information packed into one book, though, it makes me wonder if the book would be better served as 3-4 different shorter works. I rarely make time for books that are not fiction, but Last Child in the Woods is making me reconsider this approach. This has made me think differently about how I raise my children, teach my students, feed myself and my family, and my relationship with God.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Henry

    "Yes, how true!" I found myself agreeing with the author' illustrations time and again. For my part, I would never challenge his premise is that kids belong outside. But if someone was skeptical, they would not find Mr. Louv providing the evidence to be convincing. But who cares? He is right! How our culture of coddling has drained childhood of the thrills and risk of exploring and discovery. I realize even now all the adventure I found in the ravine behind our rental house, and am richer for it "Yes, how true!" I found myself agreeing with the author' illustrations time and again. For my part, I would never challenge his premise is that kids belong outside. But if someone was skeptical, they would not find Mr. Louv providing the evidence to be convincing. But who cares? He is right! How our culture of coddling has drained childhood of the thrills and risk of exploring and discovery. I realize even now all the adventure I found in the ravine behind our rental house, and am richer for it. Wish that for every generation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    This was another book that is based on a great idea that I believe in, but didn't hold my interest. I felt like the author kept leading me along, implying that there was something interesting or substantial coming ahead but it never arrived (at least, not in the first half of the book). The book talks about how children don't have unstructured outdoor playtime anymore and what impact that may have on them. The author explores many different aspects of this, but everything in the book was anecdot This was another book that is based on a great idea that I believe in, but didn't hold my interest. I felt like the author kept leading me along, implying that there was something interesting or substantial coming ahead but it never arrived (at least, not in the first half of the book). The book talks about how children don't have unstructured outdoor playtime anymore and what impact that may have on them. The author explores many different aspects of this, but everything in the book was anecdotal and I often felt that the quotes and stories were a bit of a stretch to make them apply to his cause. He states over and over again that there just isn't any scientific data out there on what impact playing in nature has on us. Then he proceeds to try and imply what impact it has through literary quotes and anecdotes. I really found myself yearning for him to tell us what scientific data there is...there must be at least some...instead of quoting yet another literary work that mentions nature. I was disappointed. I didn't finish the book. I made it about 7 chapters in and then started skimming ahead to the more interesting sounding headings. Then I had to return it to the library.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Charlotte Mason got it right. Children need the outdoors. It turns out the outdoors also need children. Richard Louv points out the incongruity behind the environmental extremists who want to set aside nature without allowing mankind to interfere, and the fact that our children aren't experiencing nature first-hand, since they aren't getting the chance to play, live and explore the outdoors unencumbered by interfering adults. This, he says, results in children who have no love for nature and thus Charlotte Mason got it right. Children need the outdoors. It turns out the outdoors also need children. Richard Louv points out the incongruity behind the environmental extremists who want to set aside nature without allowing mankind to interfere, and the fact that our children aren't experiencing nature first-hand, since they aren't getting the chance to play, live and explore the outdoors unencumbered by interfering adults. This, he says, results in children who have no love for nature and thus no need to protect it. One of the many examples he gives is of a young John Muir who spent his childhood shooting his toy gun at seagulls on the beach. How many naturalists would allow such a thing today? Yet, it is precisely this sort of "destructive" play (like digging holes, building tree houses and killing bugs) that give children a love of the outdoors and a love for nature. I confess to being guilty of the "fear of the outdoors" he sees as one of the problems facing children today. I'm afraid to let my kids wander off, unaccompanied by adults, to explore the woods. But I want them to experience it and have deep and lasting memories of a childhood spent with nature.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I think every parent and educator should read this book or at least hear the thesis and give it some thought. The point is that children need nature--especially free play where they can roam and discover and create in the wild and that we, as a society have instilled too much fear of nature in our children and also outlawed a lot of free play and the changing landscape and culture have moved children into cities and away from farms. The author also claims that this "nature-deficit disorder" is r I think every parent and educator should read this book or at least hear the thesis and give it some thought. The point is that children need nature--especially free play where they can roam and discover and create in the wild and that we, as a society have instilled too much fear of nature in our children and also outlawed a lot of free play and the changing landscape and culture have moved children into cities and away from farms. The author also claims that this "nature-deficit disorder" is responsible for some behavioral problems in children and certain over-medicated conditions such as ADHD. The thoughts are not earth-shattering. Of course. Children need to be outside. I did not like the way the book was laid out. There was a lot of repetition and some of the conclusions he draws form (often un-related and shoddy) research are unsupported. Also, I think he is a bit condescending in some of his conclusions--preferring certain outdoor activities to other others (bad: hunting, any outdoor activity aided by a machine; good: fishing, building tree houses). On the whole, however, I agree with his thesis and the book and the research he cites are very informative. I think a lot of problems with inner-city youth stem from this separation from nature and of course the childhood obesity epidemic and the boredom of children everywhere can be blamed on this. I am often a little skeptical of books that want to just go back to the good-old days because I think a lot of that time is gone and if we try to raise our kids on farms, it's manufactured (no pun intended) and false. So we have to embrace technology and all the good that comes with it, but I think he allows for a compromise and he lets us live in our cities and gives some great tips on how to get out. Since I read this book, I have been very aware of allowing my children free nature play and I have seen how they really embrace it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    S. R.

    Now, any book that insists kids should be spending more time playing outside than in front of a screen is, in my case, preaching to the choir. I don't need to be convinced. I need data and ideas and backup. Louv makes many interesting observations and provides some references to research that supports his claims, but not much in the way of in depth examinations of those studies. (I am a skeptic even when presented with data that backs up my beliefs.) I would have liked to see more of that, but ap Now, any book that insists kids should be spending more time playing outside than in front of a screen is, in my case, preaching to the choir. I don't need to be convinced. I need data and ideas and backup. Louv makes many interesting observations and provides some references to research that supports his claims, but not much in the way of in depth examinations of those studies. (I am a skeptic even when presented with data that backs up my beliefs.) I would have liked to see more of that, but appreciate that the conversational tone was probably better suited for intended audience- ie, those who are trying to figure out how to get their kids outdoors and connected to the real world around them. He does provide a number of interesting ideas and examples, including ways to involve schools and communities. I found the chapters on HOA restrictions and legal complications of outside play especially informative. Louv addresses the pervasive but illogical "stranger-danger" paranoia that keeps many kids from exploring their own backyards, let alone the neighborhood, and suggests that more community involvement is the best way to combat these particular issues.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marita

    Lots of great information, which I appreciated After reading, I am hovering somewhere between joyous inspiration and the sadness of despair. I agree fervently with the premise that we as humans need more immersion in nature, but sometimes the prospect seems daunting and overwhelming. Still, I come away resolved to be more intentional, more purposeful to interact with my environment and to enjoy nature even this week. Also to up my game and get serious about incorporating nature study in our homesch Lots of great information, which I appreciated After reading, I am hovering somewhere between joyous inspiration and the sadness of despair. I agree fervently with the premise that we as humans need more immersion in nature, but sometimes the prospect seems daunting and overwhelming. Still, I come away resolved to be more intentional, more purposeful to interact with my environment and to enjoy nature even this week. Also to up my game and get serious about incorporating nature study in our homeschooling. This was an important book and I'm glad I read it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Lundell

    I feel like this is a book every parent should read. Personally, I ate it up because he explained in words what I have always felt and wanted for my children. He does back up some of his ideas with research, but also with a lot of anecdotal evidence. I did a lot of underlining and I like to keep the book handy to remind me to make sure my kids get dirty during plenty of unstructured outdoor time.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anna Mussmann

    Reading this book made me more grateful than ever to look up and see my children playing in the bushes. We love our yard, but I’ve tended to take outdoor time for granted--after all, I grew up digging holes in the dirt, exploring tidepools, and going camping with my family. It’s both startling and horrifying to be reminded that thousands of American children have no idea what such a life is like, not just because they are cooped up in cities but because they have been indirectly taught to avoid Reading this book made me more grateful than ever to look up and see my children playing in the bushes. We love our yard, but I’ve tended to take outdoor time for granted--after all, I grew up digging holes in the dirt, exploring tidepools, and going camping with my family. It’s both startling and horrifying to be reminded that thousands of American children have no idea what such a life is like, not just because they are cooped up in cities but because they have been indirectly taught to avoid nature as either boring, dangerous, or both. Louv argues that modern society suffers from a “nature-deficit disorder.” He points out the combination of forces that separate today’s children from meaningful interaction with nature, and argues that this is harmful both to children as individuals and to society as a whole. He also offers a range of ways in which the problem could be remedied. Louv’s solutions include the lifestyle of individual families, but the majority of his focus is on ways schools, towns, and society as a whole could help citizens center our lives around the enjoyment of nature. I appreciate many of Louv’s points, especially his discussion of the indirect ways that time in nature shapes human beings and helps us in other endeavors. I had to laugh, though, at his cry that scientists need to spend more time rigorously studying the impact of outdoor play on children, because human beings shouldn’t need scientists to tell us obvious truths before we can consider them true. Seriously, people! On the other hand, he is right that the allocation of money and governmental resources are heavily influenced by data. In some ways, Louv echoes concerns that have been discussed by writers like Anothony Esolen, but this book is much more progressive-friendly and will be palatable and accessible to readers who reject anything that smacks of mere conservative nostalgia for the past. Even though I winced at the suggestion that readers should increase our homeowners’ liability insurance so that they can let children engage in nature play and tree house building, perhaps that’s helpful advice, especially for folks who wouldn’t otherwise dare let kids in trees. Overall, an inspiring thesis and very important message for modern American parents to consider.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I did not enjoy this book although the idea of kids spending more time with nature is laudable and incontrovertible. I found the book a little preachy and poorly written. Reading the prose felt like I was reading a series of presentation slides some of which were grammatically incorrect. The author's message that kids have too many electronics and marginal time communing with nature is certainly true for most. However it shouldn't require 300 pages to make this point. The book is formulaic in na I did not enjoy this book although the idea of kids spending more time with nature is laudable and incontrovertible. I found the book a little preachy and poorly written. Reading the prose felt like I was reading a series of presentation slides some of which were grammatically incorrect. The author's message that kids have too many electronics and marginal time communing with nature is certainly true for most. However it shouldn't require 300 pages to make this point. The book is formulaic in name dropping an education or environmental expert with only a paragraph of detail or a quote. So the book is basically a serial of quotes and vignettes mixed with platitudes. I disagree with the book jacket's statement that this book rivals Rachel Carson's A Silent Spring. The Last Child in the Woods is not a science book. I did not learn any scientific facts about nature or the environment. The author pines for those good ole days when everyone was more active in the woods. When I was a child the smoking rate of adults was 3x that of today, masking obesity rates. In aggregate adults were not so fit 40 to 50 years ago. Not many adults regularly exercised then (or could hike 5 miles into the woods). So the health situation today is not as dire as portrayed in this book. I will acknowledge that we need more scientists and nature experts. I upgraded my rating of this book from two stars to three because of the following: 1. The author has a laudable mission so two stars seems harsh. 2. There was a very poignant story about the author's son meeting Mr. Rogers 3. The author provides a useful list of 100 nature activities for children and families that is thought provoking.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Do not let the title of this book deceive you. Your children do not suffer from "Nature-Deficit Disorder." In fact, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, admits his unease with the appropriation of medical science jargon, but says that “parents and educators†understand the term very clearly. Unfortunately, that alone does not justify such disingenuous, hyperbolized nomenclature. It does, however, set the tone nicely for his argument that the senses of young Americans are being unn Do not let the title of this book deceive you. Your children do not suffer from "Nature-Deficit Disorder." In fact, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, admits his unease with the appropriation of medical science jargon, but says that “parents and educators†understand the term very clearly. Unfortunately, that alone does not justify such disingenuous, hyperbolized nomenclature. It does, however, set the tone nicely for his argument that the senses of young Americans are being unnaturally dulled by a lack of exposure to the wilds. Frankly, the arguments put forth to make such a case were very weak and disorganized. Louv is a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune and this book had all the factual basis that one would expect in a standard sized op-ed piece. The book is full of pull out quotes from seven year olds and grandmother naturalists alike and light on cultural analysis. And where he does pull together more credible academic research, he consistently fails to provide any sort of critical analysis beyond the same headline producing conclusions that we could expect to read about in a daily newspaper. While he frequently caveats his citations with notes that the research is not definitive or ongoing, he rarely talks about the shortcomings of the works he is relying upon. He utterly neglects the possibility that his views as a cultural commentator are just that, the product of a very specific American, middle-class culture. He frequently discusses the restorative power that nature experiences have on inner-city youth, never realizing the patronizing tone of such value projection. Meanwhile he bemoans the loss of the privileged places that natural historians and scout masters once occupied in the hierarchy of the American psyche. His ongoing nostalgia with the tree-houses of his own childhood came across as very generationally specific and I briefly wondered how many grandparents purchased this book impulsively for their own grown children. And finally, at its heart, this book was profoundly anti-urban. Louv's recipe for an ideal childhood is wholly exurban; the bigger the lot, the better. He claims the environmental high ground without acknowledging the positive effects of density. The real problem for kids today is not a nature-deficit, but a generation of adults that buys into the simplistic argument that doing things differently than they were done 'back when' is inherently inferior. (C)Jeffrey L. Otto, October 23, 2007

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This one is a must read for anyone with children of their own, children in their life, teachers... Actually this is for all humans who grew up with or without nature... It shows the shift in how children were relating to the outdoors 40 years ago and how they are today. It explores the effects that technology and too much time inside is having on young lives and on the life of the planet.... It is hart warming and funny, it will bring you to tears and make you get outside yourself and take some This one is a must read for anyone with children of their own, children in their life, teachers... Actually this is for all humans who grew up with or without nature... It shows the shift in how children were relating to the outdoors 40 years ago and how they are today. It explores the effects that technology and too much time inside is having on young lives and on the life of the planet.... It is hart warming and funny, it will bring you to tears and make you get outside yourself and take some children along for the adventure... I highly recommend this book. It is Saturday evening September 27th and I am just back from Richard Luv's lecture at CCRI.. I was just wonderful. This is one of the most profound books and topics that should be on all of our minds. We all see the effects of nature neglect in global warming (among other things).... As Richard Louv said tonight with much hope "everything must change, Architecture, urban planning, education...." We can all make small steps by getting outside ourselves and sharing that with the children in out lives. Our children are the future stewards of the land.... we have to give them the experiences in nature that will allow them to grow, and care for it and themselves in the kindest of ways.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fox

    I stand right on the edge of being the generation talked about in this book. I am young enough that I can remember a time without a computer in the house, where I wasn't hooked up to the internet the way I am now. I can remember a time before wireless phones, caller ID, cell phones, and all of that. I'm old enough to be a bit concerned when I see kids spending all of their time in social gatherings on tablets, but also young enough that I'm sure I was That Kid only on a cellphone rather than a t I stand right on the edge of being the generation talked about in this book. I am young enough that I can remember a time without a computer in the house, where I wasn't hooked up to the internet the way I am now. I can remember a time before wireless phones, caller ID, cell phones, and all of that. I'm old enough to be a bit concerned when I see kids spending all of their time in social gatherings on tablets, but also young enough that I'm sure I was That Kid only on a cellphone rather than a tablet. It's an interesting conundrum. All of that being said, as I read this book I understood the problem that Richard Louv is diagnosing when he talks about Nature-Deficit Disorder. I've talked to people only a little bit younger than me about nature and been mildly horrified when they've expressed not only zero interest in the environment, but also zero concern about it or desire to do anything to improve it. The notion of stewardship over local ecology is one that came to me naturally, something ingrained in me growing up gardening alongside my mom and exploring the forest behind our house before it got developed to be turned into another suburban community. I still feel the loss of that forest, where although I was terrified I climbed fallen trees. I still feel a draw to it, even though it's gone. It's part of why I live out in the middle of nowhere now, to be reconnected to the land. Hell, it's part of why I want to call Montana my home once more. Richard Louv makes a lot of bold claims in the book about the benefits that being in nature instill in children (and people in general.) He claims that being in nature helps restore focus to children with ADHD (to a decent extent, although acknowledges continued medication is likely needed), that it offers up a kind of secular spiritual experience, helps children develop confidence, curiosity, and a sense of place nothing else quite replaces. I can track how being in nature helped me develop, and I can say that learning about it is something that I'm still passionate about today. I can also note how relationships with animals and a closer attachment to nature has helped me with mental health problems of my own, and others I know. Maybe there's something there to it? Yet it's difficult to test. All in all, this book is an interesting one that also paints a road forward towards a better relationship with nature. The book postulates an optimistic vision of the future - nature centric experiential learning in schools, less laws prohibiting natural play, green urbanization, and more sustainable living practices. I would like to see this come to fruition, though it would require a drastic paradigm shift in our current culture not only here in the West but in the world in general. Still, it is possible. We just need enough people to try. This book gave me a lot of ideas for how to build my own little rescue and how I talk to kids and what experiences I can offer them when they come to my meet and greets. I can say that just last week, handing a child a disarticulated rat skeleton to play wish, I saw her work with it with a sense of wonder that was truly unique. To think she was trusted with something so delicate, and that she could manipulate it and see how it worked... it was something cool, and something I hope to bring to others more often. So, yes, if you're the parent of young children or someone who works with them often - give this book a try, or at least a flip through. It might give you more ideas about how to interact with them and new ways to expose them to the natural world on their own level. Also, keep telling them to go play outside and encourage their unstructured play. Someday, maybe they start and they won't want to stop.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Howard

    While the information was very insightful and made me want to be engaged more in nature and not be just a spectator, the chapters at times felt disjointed and some information almost out of place with the rest of the information. Overall I learned a lot about getting back into nature and it’s overall healthy effects on our bodies both physically, mentally and emotionally.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tony Cohen

    A book I strongly recommend, although I wish the information/research/extrapolation was farther long the developmental cycle. In a nutshell, the author coins the term 'nature deficit disorder' was some sort of easy-to-use term to somewhat anchor his still developing notions that children need unfettered time in un-organised nature. They need to be able to play in the margins, where the truly interesting stuff is happening (one study among scant few mentioned [for reasons that I will discuss late A book I strongly recommend, although I wish the information/research/extrapolation was farther long the developmental cycle. In a nutshell, the author coins the term 'nature deficit disorder' was some sort of easy-to-use term to somewhat anchor his still developing notions that children need unfettered time in un-organised nature. They need to be able to play in the margins, where the truly interesting stuff is happening (one study among scant few mentioned [for reasons that I will discuss later] was that children in the rubble of WW!! Europe preferred the wild spots to the undamaged concrete) The book is riddled with anecdotes about the changes in youthful patterns of interaction with nature, and the scary declines in that area: how children who once grew up with time alone in nature now spend it near the ubiquitous and ESSENTIAL electrical socket. Of course, there is a cavalcade of potentially damaging implications to our behavioural changes, few if any of which have yet been subjected to strict scientific rigor. There is some further effective commentary on the potential problems with development when we minimize our sensory input solely to the visual medium, which is the ever-increasing and general trend of our societies. There is also further tidbit relating to learning effectiveness and behaviours when there is a more ecological bent, and the scary decline in peoples' knowledge of the natural sciences (again a symbol of early play with nature) in lieu of a more recent molecular dominance. As vignettes go, one particularly memorable one was how, do to our society's fears and litigiousness, we have actually, legally, made it very hard to have unfetterd play with significant potential monetary penalties upon whose land fun can be had, which is a trend that we clearly need to reverse! It is a strong book, but there is not enough hard science to back up all the interesting (and there are many of them) theories, but this book is important because it is putting the ideas out there. Along a paradigm, the early adopters will have to be preaching into an unknown before what they consider common-sense is put to the hard science test. I do feel that many of these ideas, and damning trends the author warns about, will one day be reversed when the science manages to catch up a bit more with what can only be fairly described now as very intelligent conjecture. In general, Americans should be worried, and Singapore should be absolutely shitting themselves; it is hard to even conceive of a place which more marginalizes 'wild' nature in lieu of a nicely manicured lawn.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    As a reader, a would-be environmentalist, and a mom, I felt like Richard Louv was writing this book for me. Like so many other former kids who remember lazy days of running free through the woods, wading in streams, and catching toads and butterflies, I am saddened by our current video-game culture in which kids have more electronics than they know what to do with and yet are utterly bored (I have a teenage nephew; I've seen it with my own eyes). I hate the fact that parents can no longer let th As a reader, a would-be environmentalist, and a mom, I felt like Richard Louv was writing this book for me. Like so many other former kids who remember lazy days of running free through the woods, wading in streams, and catching toads and butterflies, I am saddened by our current video-game culture in which kids have more electronics than they know what to do with and yet are utterly bored (I have a teenage nephew; I've seen it with my own eyes). I hate the fact that parents can no longer let their kids run free because of (a) concerns that pedophiles might lurk behind every tree or (b) concerns that other parents will think they don't care that pedophiles might lurk behind every tree. Because Louv thoughtfully describes our current "nature deficit disorder" crisis and provides real ways we might lure our kids back to the woods, I highly recommend this book. I couldn't give this book five stars, however, because of Louv's overly academic approach. The subject matter evokes wonder and delight, and yet the book buckles under the weight of Louv's substantial research and scholarly writing style. Yet, the moments when Louv describes his own nature rambles with his two sons are extremely moving and relatable. A one-page anecdote with TV's Mr. Rogers toward the end of the book is worth all the academic pages that come before it, and the last chapter had me in tears, counting the moments before I could take my son outside.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    I can only echo what other reviewers have said. He brings up an important issue, but does a miserable job of it. Louv bases most of his arguments on "intuition" and terrible logic. The worst of his arguments is that a)children with autism and ADHD can control their behavior and symptoms better when they're outside. b)there's a lot more autism and ADHD than there used to be. c)we don't play outside as much as we used to. d)not playing outside CAUSES autism and ADHD. ????? That's a characteristic argum I can only echo what other reviewers have said. He brings up an important issue, but does a miserable job of it. Louv bases most of his arguments on "intuition" and terrible logic. The worst of his arguments is that a)children with autism and ADHD can control their behavior and symptoms better when they're outside. b)there's a lot more autism and ADHD than there used to be. c)we don't play outside as much as we used to. d)not playing outside CAUSES autism and ADHD. ????? That's a characteristic argument from the book. Similarly incoherant is his assertion that fishing is acceptable, but hunting isn't. He implies that even bicycles and playgrounds interfere with experiencing nature, and that the only way we can raise healthy, well-rounded children is to send them out into untouched fields. Anything less is a failure. And it's sad, because instead of convincing people that we need to get away from the computer and play outside, he convinced me that he's a fanatic and a really bad writer. I'd rather read Emerson.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bambi Moore

    The best thing about this book is the title and quote from a child who said he likes to play inside because "that's where all the electrical outlets are." As a Christian my motivation for the children in my life to know the wonder of God's creation, is in order to glorify Him more, give Him praise for all that borrows life from Him, and see His great power and might in all of creation. Not bond with an iceberg (yes it really said that somewhere). There were some interesting studies regarding ch The best thing about this book is the title and quote from a child who said he likes to play inside because "that's where all the electrical outlets are." As a Christian my motivation for the children in my life to know the wonder of God's creation, is in order to glorify Him more, give Him praise for all that borrows life from Him, and see His great power and might in all of creation. Not bond with an iceberg (yes it really said that somewhere). There were some interesting studies regarding children's creativity and intellectual capabilities being greatly affected by the amount of time they spent outdoors, and some cool comparisons of schools in Finland. I made it to the end but skimmed the last couple chapters, I just didn't really care that much about all the studies and theories.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    I picked this book up at Mt. Rainier while I was waiting in line to pay for a National Park passport for Rebecca. One of my biggest struggles living in Indiana has been having the knowledge that outdoor opportunities for Rebecca are much more limited in scope than that which I grew up with. The environmental ethic is much different and ultimately I want more for Rebecca than what she is being exposed to. I've tried, to the best of my ability, to provide her with opportunities and think given my I picked this book up at Mt. Rainier while I was waiting in line to pay for a National Park passport for Rebecca. One of my biggest struggles living in Indiana has been having the knowledge that outdoor opportunities for Rebecca are much more limited in scope than that which I grew up with. The environmental ethic is much different and ultimately I want more for Rebecca than what she is being exposed to. I've tried, to the best of my ability, to provide her with opportunities and think given my limited resources, have done well so far. I'm only 40 or so pages into the book so far, so in no way is this a comprehensive review - but, at least initially, it's confirmed for me that my feeling I need to continue to seek out opportunities to get Rebecca outside is the right thing to do.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Denise Spicer

    Discussion of why our children no longer play outside, the health (physical and mental) benefits of interacting with nature and ways to encourage kids and communities to reconnect with and the outdoor world. Lots of anecdotal comments to prove his points along with the legal aspects that must be considered nowadays. The author gives examples of natural schools and urban wild spaces. The author does show his political and philosophic biases (environmentalism, feminism, socialism) but overall this Discussion of why our children no longer play outside, the health (physical and mental) benefits of interacting with nature and ways to encourage kids and communities to reconnect with and the outdoor world. Lots of anecdotal comments to prove his points along with the legal aspects that must be considered nowadays. The author gives examples of natural schools and urban wild spaces. The author does show his political and philosophic biases (environmentalism, feminism, socialism) but overall this is a very interesting book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Arielle

    Sobering and inspiring in equal parts. A little too focused on the United States for me to totally relate (examples of canyons etc had to be translated in my mind into more familiar territory, which made it a slow read in the end) but overall this is a very necessary read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carol Jensen

    This was a good book. I had it in the car and read it when I went to pick up my daughter. It was disturbing, but I think the author was right on with everything he sited.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Excellent, excellent book that I strongly believe every parent needs to read.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.