Up Close and Personal with Nature

Jun 13, 2023
Hedda Sharapan


It’s summertime, and that usually means more time outdoors. But in today’s world, it seems that “outdoor time” has come to mean “playground time.”  I remember reading Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, and being reminded that there is a difference between “outdoor time with nature and “outdoor time with slides and swings.” 
In his book, Louv helped us understand the important benefits of outdoor play in nature.  He also wrote about what happens when children don’t have that kind of free time to explore, discover and just “hang out” in natural surroundings.  He coined the term “nature-deficit disorder,” and he believes that it’s responsible for obesity, attention disorders and depression.  His perspective has helped many of us in early childhood look for ways to encourage nature-based outdoor time.

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