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

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"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.

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. But it’s not only computers, television, and video games that are keeping kids inside. It’s also their parents’ fears of traffic, strangers, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus; their schools’ emphasis on more and more homework; their structured schedules; and their lack of access to natural areas. Local governments, neighborhood associations, and even organizations devoted to the outdoors are placing legal and regulatory constraints on many wild spaces, sometimes making natural play a crime.

As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attentiondeficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity.

In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.

Customer Reviews:

  • You'll Enjoy this Book if...
    You'll enjoy this book if:

    1. You work with children. Educators of all types will be inspired by this book. Teachers will be provided with firm reasons for taking their students outside for exploration, discovery and study. Teachers will also find the author's thoughts on the way nature is often taught now (as a crisis or a danger) fascinating. Scout leaders, after-school activity teachers, camp councilors, and daycare providers will be also be inspired to either continue the outdoor activities they already do-- or to add more nature exploration to their programs.

    2. You are a just "let them play" type parent. Parents who intuitively know that mud-pie baking trumps most other after-school activities will enjoy having words put to their intuition. This group of parents often feels a bit guilty because we don't sign our kids for daily structured activities and clubs. Our kids are just too busy digging up rocks, wandering the backyard, looking for earthworms and mud puddle jumping. It is, quite simply, a relief to know that these activities are not only fun and relaxing for the family, they are actually emotionally and mentally healthy!

    3.You are an environmentalist. Lastly, this book will provide conservationists with more evidence in their fight to preserve and protect natural areas. Often, conservations feel so much love for natural areas that they begin to feel that the need to preserve them is self-evident to everyone. Unfortunately, it's not! This book provides a myriad of concrete reasons for preserving natural spaces. The author also provides marvelous ideas for creating contact with nature in urban areas.

    P. Gould (author of Feeding the Kids: The Flexible, No-Battles, Healthy Eating System for the Whole Family)...more info
  • Important Work
    Whether you're an avid outdoor parent or family, this is an important read. If active in nature and its various outlets, it will validate your commitment with your family. If not, it will serve as a primer and, certainly, important motivation to incorporate the natural world in your child's upbringing. Nature, albeit remarkably complex, can also be taken in with simplistic beauty. I would recommend, first, a read of Rachael Carson's "A Sense of Wonder." Then Louv's narrative will provide the road map. His book is destined to be tagged with "classic" if it hasn't already. I cannot imagine a more important book for a family library....more info
  • Excellent
    Richard Louv puts into words all the theories that my husband and I have come up with all through the parenting of our kids. And being the parents of 25, 23, and 20 year olds, I can say that they have benefitted greatly from being in the real world -- the natural world. And we can't get one of them to come indoors -- he's an environmental scientist and we're all proud of it. By the way - he got the second copy of this book and concurs!...more info
  • A Must-Read for Anyone Who Cares About Children
    This is a critical issue and something we may not be thinking about on a regular basis, especially since our own lifestyles, as adults, have effectively eliminated our relationship with nature. We need to keep alive the memories of our childhoods... walking in the open fields,digging in the backyard, collecting bugs, taking hikes, etc... because we may be the last adults to pass them on to the children....more info
  • NeoPagans and Wiccan should read this book too!
    As a pagan parent, and as a life long environmentalist, and nature lover, I recommend that all Pagans should read this book. I often hear Pagan Parents asking each other, "What do we teach our kids?" I understand that we don't want religion taught to our kids the way it was taught to us. I suggest we start with the type of "Nature Reunion" that this book calls for. How can anyone child or adult understand an Earth Based Spirituality if they don't have a passion for the earth? How do you feel that connection with all the living things if you don't even know who your "Nature Neighbors" are? Let your kids build tree houses and get dirty, and get out a field guide and learn the names of the animals, birds, plants, and even bugs that live all around you! Now this book does talk about nature spirituality but it does avoid the topic of Paganism, and at times even makes statements against "nature worship" but I feel it's from a lack of understanding on the author's part, it is a main stream book after all. His message about letting our kids play outside is still valid. Please forgive him on his ignorance of our beliefs. ...more info
  • I'm a true believer
    Since I live in the woods and my grown children, with my grandchildren all live in the city, I purchased multiple copies of this book as gifts. Hoping to see them all more....more info
  • Last Child In The Woods
    If you have a child over one years old you should read this book! It reminds us as parents that we owe our children the right to explore nature. As busy parents we often tend to give our kids materialistic forms of entertainment while ignoring their need to connect with nature in order to fully understand the world they live in. I strongly reccommend this book, especially to those living in cities....more info
  • Sappy with no depth
    The book came quickly and was in the same condition described. I have no problem with the seller. But the content of the book is lacking. I was expecting depth and real data to support their claims. Instead it was just a bunch of feel good mumbo jumbo. I totally believe children need to spend more time in nature, but this book did not convince me of that....more info
  • No One Knows How to Play Kick the Can Anymore....
    Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv is a timely book that needed to be written.

    The author's point is that kids today are facing a nature deficit and that affects childhood obesity and even the potential for the next generation to appreciate the breadth of nature enough to want to preserve it. After all, if the local mall has an arboretum and that's all you know as nature, that's all you'll expect.

    The culprit is not news to anyone, nor to any parent with enough income to plug their kids into all manner of electronic gadgets. Videogames, TV, computers and the like have proved a powerful pull on today's children. The cost is a lack of simple play outdoors, exploring creeks, fields, rocks and trees (the author doesn't count organized sports as nature exploration and rightly so in my book). It is sad, but not surprising to ask any kids under age 16 or so if the know how to play "Kick the Can." Hardly any do, and even fewer have played.

    Louv offers a lot of data to back up the negative effects of this nature deficiency and some prescriptions to turn it around. While reestablishing phys ed in school will help, the answer is simple: parents, unplug your kids and kick them outside.

    Having said this, I felt the author could have made his points and supported them in a long magazine article. There really wasn't enough for a full book and Louv gets repetitive and even inserts lists of ways to address the problem. I found myself scanning some sections later in the book because the points in those pages had been made before or the prescriptions he was offering were simplistic and I didn't feel worthy of the full play he gave to some.

    That being said, important argument and point, I just wish I would have read this in about forty pages in a periodical.
    ...more info
  • expect to be more granola after this read
    This is an outstandingly researched book about the issues facing us as we increase our urbanization and decrease our access to natural spaces. It talks about the impacts on our children's development including the increase in ADHD and harm to creativity.

    I gave it four stars instead of five, because this is a call to action book with no clear path for someone compelled by the book to immediately go about making a difference in the larger world as a whole.

    It has already made a difference in our lives though. Last night, we dragged blankets and pillows outside as it turned dark to watch the stars and count the fireflies. The crickets sang our son to sleep and later I spent time on the internet looking up the National Wildlife Federation's backyard wildlife habitation....more info
  • The Last Child in the Woods
    Richard Louv has done an outstanding job stimulating discussions about the health and well-being of our children and nature. The Last Child in the Woods has a lot of current research to support why educators, scientist, parents and the community should come together and work towards a healthier and greener world. Louv gives several ideas and success stories of how organizations and education can unite and improve academic success along with healthier life styles in our children. I can see using Louv's book to start discussions between educational and community leaders to find a balance between nature, technology and environmental-based education reform.

    It is sad to see and read how today's children are so far out of touch with nature; and it is very disappointing to know there are generations of people who don't understand where the bare necessities of life come from and why we should protect our natural resources. Unfortunately this problem has been lost in the fast pace world of technology and has been building for several years.

    I recommend this book to be read by educators, politicians, naturalist and parents. Everyone should step outside in their habitat and explore their own niche to see what they can do as a society to preserve nature and our future. One last note: remember to always let the child out of yourself and share it with the children of today.
    ...more info
  • it works
    My wife and I played in the woods; we taught our kids to play in the woods; one is an environmental educator; one is an environmental biologist....more info
  • The Adventure Rabbi says
    Whenever someone does not understand what we do at the Adventure Rabbi program, I ask them to read this book! As Louv teaches, (an echo of Rabbi Ben Maimonides) outdoor time is essential for the spiritual development of even the holiest of people.

    - Rabbi Jamie Korngold, the Adventure Rabbi, author God in the Wilderness: Rediscovering the Spirituality of the Great Outdoors with the Adventure Rabbi...more info
  • One star off for...
    I loved this book, but...

    The author advocates schools taking their kids to wild spaces. I've seen what happens. The kids run around in a loud, hyperactive mob, not paying attention to anything, and not really even catching more than fleeting glimpses of things because they have never been trained to be still and observe. The worst of the children destroy and maim while the overworked teachers and chaperones are busy elsewhere. The kids don't really learn anything even though they are ostensibly there to listen to the naturalist or ranger.

    In one year, intertidal creatures clinging to a large boulder and inhabiting a large tidepool were devastated by the influx of two or three bussloads of kids per day from spring all through the summer. To date, those spots have not recovered, and they are swiftly becoming barren due to the yearly hordes. Clearly, exposing children to nature en masse is doing more harm than good. It's best that parents provide "nature time," so that children are more closely supervised and can learn more.

    The author also urges schools to create natural spaces on campus. I don't think this would work in reality. Such spaces would be subject to vandalism, and would make great hangouts for bullies and drug dealers. Give me a clear field of view around the building any day.

    The author spends many pages on the positive benefits of children who have time alone in nature. Time alone in nature is not feasible for all kids in all situations. One of the primary jobs of a parent is that of bodyguard, and I'm sorry to say that the author makes light of human predators. Enough said.
    ...more info
  • Inspiring
    I think every single parent should read this book and think deeply about the education we are providing our children....more info
  • TEN Star Great book!!!!
    Cannot recommend this book enough whether you live in a city, suburb or rural area.

    Nature is all around you as the book says, and sadly to many children have no idea what trees are in their neighborhood, or what that flower called a dandelion is growing thru the crack in the sidewalk.

    If nothing else I hope the book will make parents/adults and children simply stop and look around and see what is growing or living around them. Would make a GREAT gift for any parent. So turn off the computer, tv and cell phone and get outside....more info
  • Affirmation
    This is an incredible book. I am 64 years old and have grown up and spent my entire life in rural and country settings. This book affirms almost all of my outdoor and nature related experiences. It makes me want to share what I have experienced with others....more info
  • Last Child in the Woods
    Every parent and teacher should read this book. It is excellent!...more info
  • This is good medicine
    I grew up in a semi-rural area in the 1970s and my friends and I rode bikes, built forts and dams, climbed trees and played outside all day long and far from home. The outside world was our entertainment. I was 12 before getting a video game (Atari 2600)and there were few TV stations to watch.

    For some reason, I don't feel like my kids have the opportunity, or their parents permission, to do as I did. However, I still try to get our kids out and away from the Nick TV and video games and head off to hike in one of our several nearby forest preserves.

    Parents need to "push" their kids out the door and leave them alone to explore in an unstructured way the natural world beyond their modern day cocoon. I recommend this book to any parent who wants to enrich their children's life in the easiest most affordable way; by opening the back door....more info
  • A Timely Book
    This is an interesting and timely book. I happen to be the parent of a 17 year old who is lucky enough to live on a large tract of land, but might as well be living in a New York high-rise for all the good it does him. When he seeks entertainment, it's usually electronic in nature--TV, computer, video games. When I was growing up, the outdoors was our entertainment and we didn't have all those modern distractions. Louv states his case eloquently and passionately: "Not only can nature teach kids science and nurture their creativity, but nature needs its children: where else will its future stewards come from?" One of the fourth graders he interviewed said "I like to play indoors better, 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." That's scary....more info
  • An Affecting Breath of Fresh Air
    I was lucky enough to have parents who gave us the oomph outside and didn't expect us back until my mother rang the dinner bell. Richard Louv takes us back to those days and makes a very strong and documented argument that, as a society, we have neglected to continue this healthy habit with the generation of kids today. The thesis that obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder and other maladies in children in the 21st century are due, in part, from our lack to teach the the age old joy of just getting outdoors is not a label nor accusation of this generation, but rather a motion for us all to help this growing generation appreciate the outdoors.

    As an alum from the U.S. EPA, and detailed with the Park Service in DC, I would love to place this in the hands of every teacher and parent I could reach. It's a fascinating picture of where we have been, and where we are going. Louv hopes we can change the latter, and makes a strong argument to do so.

    If you enjoy the outdoors, this book will solidify the benefits you receive. If you are a parent whose child is spending too many hours in front of the tube, this will provide some help in getting them to enjoy spending time outdoors. As a teacher, it's a living, breathing lesson plan to help your classroom get back into nature and develop more of an appreciation of all it offers.

    Enjoy it!! ...more info
  • Exhausting but Interesting
    While this book produced great topics of discussion among my book club, the author's pedantic tone made me want to whack my head against a wall. He is clearly dedicated to his mission, and the book shows an impressive amount of research, but gets bogged down with anecdotes. Plus, if you are a parent,chances are good you'll walk away feeling like you've failed your child in new and creative ways by not exposing them to nature.
    The good news is it produced a lot of nostalgia for days spent playing unfettered in a creek/woods and does have some concrete suggestions for how to detach children from their Ipods and video games. ...more info
  • Inspiring and enlightening
    From the first chapter, this book has had a tangible impact on my life. I grew up in a rural area but now live in NYC and had sensed, but did not fully realize how important being in nature is for my physical, spiritual and mental health. This book has re-opened my senses to the truth that I am a part of nature and even though I live in a city, I have the obligation to care for the nature around me. I also work with children and am newly inspired to incorporate nature into all aspects of education.

    The only critique I have is that at times it feels like Louv is repetitive, and the directives about what can be done are sometimes broad, but the overall effect has been to inspire me to get out and DO something about the problem. ...more info
  • Have an exit strategy... buy this book and Sharing Nature w/Children at the same time
    This book and its author are inspiring and its publication has led to a nation-wide positive call to action-- namely the Children in Nature Network. For that, I have given it four stars. The book itself is really nothing new, but what it does do is provide the statistical backing for what you already knew deep down... that the current generation of children has a 'different', perhaps negative or lacking connection with nature than previous generations. I don't mean "nothing new" in a necessarily negative sense--as this book illustrates on a regional (global?) scale what is obviously happening... or, rather, not happening... in our own backyards. Finally, someone has put into written words what people have been talking about for years.

    The last few chapters of Louv's book unfortunately meander off onto tangents such as how green roofs save on cooling costs and help reduce global warming. But, the first few chapters are what make this book stand out.

    I highly recommend that you buy yourself a copy of Joseph Cornell's 'Sharing Nature with Children' if you are concerned about this issue. While Louv talks about the 'why', Cornell gives us the 'how' to get kids connected, with simple activities to do with children. So, buy both books, so you can move forward with knowledge of what's happening and with new tools for 'getting kids outside'....more info
  • Insightful, important book
    I whole-heartedly recommend this important book. Richard Louv's book sparked a movement that had been simmering under the surface for some time -- with the rapid growth of technology in recent years, our children are spending less and less time outside.

    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 to find the tools you need as a parent to help fight nature deficit disorder.

    Childhood obesity, ADHD, and basic developmental problems have been associated to this broken link with the outdoors.

    The new edition is great -- there are ideas in the back for getting kids outdoors...

    Anne Keisman
    Green Hour...more info
  • Excellent for Environmental Educators and Especially Parents!
    I am a naturalist who works primarily with educating children about nature, so I bought this book. It is excellent and has inspired me to one day run a facility involving nature therapy. I am looking into selling this book at our nature center because I believe any and all parents should read it for the health and well-being of both their children and the planet.

    The book is easy to read, I finished it reading casually in about a week, but it has many great insights as well as helpful statistics and other information relevant to "nature defecit"....more info
  • Get the latest edition.
    Make sure you pick up the lastest edition of this book because Richard Louv added a large afterward with a whole section of useful tips and strategies for kids, parents and teachers....more info
  • My Mission in Life
    I am a naturalist and have seen the effects that little to no exposure to the out-of-doors is having on children. I would put this book right next to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring for its eye-opening subject. It does not take a crazest environmentalist to enjoy this book and feel like they can make a difference. I have seen many of the negative examples found in the book in action and work on a daily basis to provide opportunities for kids to get outside. After reading the book, it only made my job all the more important. I find it hard to imagine a person who would not be affected by reading the book....more info
  • Excellent book for an environmentalist!
    The book was in mint condition and arrived just in time to be given as a Christmas gift!...more info
  • Leave No Child Inside
    This is a very important book for parents and those in the educational system to read and heed. This book has started a national conversation on what we can do to get our children outdoors and into nature....more info
  • Highly Reccomended!
    Have you ever wondered how modern life impacts our thoughts, our health or our values? "Last Child in the Woods" begins to examine how children, our future, have and are being impacted by growing up in a society of technology, cities, lawsuits and schedules.
    I believe anyone would benefit from reading this book. Whether you agree fully with Louv's hypotheses or not, it is worth contemplating.

    As a young adult I have already witnessed the truth of what Louv writes in my life and in the life of those around me.

    ...more info
  • Great read
    Having grown up outdoors most of my life, I thought this book was insightful and a signpost to stop and think about my own daughter and how she'll grow up appreciating outdoors the same way I do. ...more info
  • Last Child in the Woods
    Last Child in the Woods provides an essential argument for parents, educators, and adults who have been influenced by nature deficit disorder. This book outlines the harm our society faces due to a lack of exposure and appreciation for our outside world. As we continue to place utmost importance on technology our children are being deprived of a childhood spent outdoors, even in their own backyard. Our society has made parents fearful of allowing children to play in their own backyards and parks without complete supervision, which is often not possible due to busy schedules. This fear is depriving our countries' children the opportunity to discover and explore the world around them, use imagination turning sticks into swords and flowers into crowns, and build a strong self-esteem by problem-solving. The final and most important argument this book makes is that if our children do appreciate the world they live in, they will have no reason to fight to save it in the next 50 years. The issues are world faces will become the responsibiltiy of today's children and their children and if they don't have a reason to fight for it, who will?...more info
  • A Book Everyone Should Read
    This is a book that delves into the importance of getting kids outside learning about their environment through all types of play. It is not a book that preaches to save everything, but encourages experiencing nature in a way that preserves it. It also sites the usefulness nature has on kids with ADD/ADHD. A surprising read....more info
  • very important reading for parents but a bit dry
    Although I personally believe this book covers a very important subject, I found the book to be a bit academic & dry. Does contain many sources of further readings, ideas to improve upon city & suburbian planning for increased green spaces & resources for additional information.

    This book highlights the very important fact that kids are spending more time indoors and experiencing minimal outdoor life. Because of this, there is little connection to the natural world. The author proposes that eventually this nature-deficit will lead to a lessened concern for the environment. This in turn will "disconnect" them from nature and effect future political & societal envirnonmental movements, as the majority of people will have spent minimal or almost no time outdoors in their youth.

    The book also cites very compelling evidence through numerous studies that strongly suggests that many kids' physical and mental illnesses are connected to lack of exposure to nature. Additionally, the author discusses reasons parents are reluctant to allow their children to play outdoors.

    I can't quite imagine parents that do not enjoy the outdoors purchasing this book-for they probably don't acknowledge that they & their children need to spend time outdoors- but there are suggestions on activities to introduce one's kids to outdoor activities.

    ...more info
  • Every parent should read
    This book is a must for every parent to read. As a retired preschool teacher, I can tell you that children must get connected to their outside world if we expect it to be cherished again. Children must, on the other hand get disconnected from screens to reactivate their senses, their aesthtics and their creativity and imaginations.

    This wonderful book tells you how to start....more info
  • Last Child in the Woods
    Awesome! A must read for the "Green Revolution" and as importantly for your "heart & soul"!!!...more info
  • The Importance of Nature
    Richard Louv makes many great points in his book, Last Child in the Woods. I love that he discusses the fact that nature can help people to be less socially awkward and more confident. All in all, nature can just make people into healthier beings. It is also really neat that he talks about how important it is to stay in touch with nature because it brings us closer to God. If people keep ripping out the nature that God puts there, it is like we are saying that what we create is better than what God can create. In essence, we are making ourselves out to be above God by ripping out His creation and putting our own in its place. There have been times in my life where I have had the opportunity to just sit back and enjoy nature for what it is. This sounds cheesy, but I could simply listen to the birds chirp and wind rustle through the leaves of the trees. This helped me to relax, unwind, and forget about all of the worries that I have. If people work and work all the time, then they will just snap under the pressure. It is so important to have those times in your life to reflect upon the issues that matter the most to you. I strongly feel that nature is the best outlet for this and can heal so many things. People should realize that the connection with nature needs to start with childhood because that is the time when you develop the most. Parents are so afraid to let their children out into the woods for fear of things such as strangers, dangerous vehicles, and nature in general. In all reality, it is very improbable that these factors will harm children. The only reason we think that this stuff is so prevalent is because these are the things that the news teams cover. But really, the pros outweigh the cons when letting children explore and enjoy nature. ...more info
  • Parents NEED this, take it from a forest kid
    I'm young enough that I still get called "kid" by my friends' parents, and when I saw the cover of this book in the store, with the kid holding a frog, I instantly felt like this book was about someone just like me. When I started reading, I felt so even more.

    I've lived in forests and next to creeks all my life, but today, I look around at my friends and I see that most of my generation wasn't as lucky as me. They're all scared of bugs, (even moths!) they adamantly refuse to swim in the lake, (won't even touch salt water) they pick their way slowly and clumsily through the bushes trying not to touch anything... one friend brings an entire fold-out kitchen with her whenever we go camping. (At least she actually goes.) They call me "extreme", when all I did to become this way was catch some frogs, build some stick forts and flip over a few rocks to see what lived underneath.

    It took the contrast of moving to the city to show me that there was a problem. I'm not a parental person, but looking around at my friends and peers and seeing them nature-handicapped.. it sucks. I don't want more people to have this problem. And though I haven't finished the book, every sentence has really resonated with me. This is extremely valuable information.
    Kids have to know what frogs smell like, where to find snails and snakes, how to hop down a wet trail without getting muddy, or climb up a steep slope in the forest; they have to feed squirrels in the park and learn to fall down and not notice they've scraped their elbow. They should be learning to build things out of branches and leaves and rocks. They should be watching the animals. They need a secret place.

    The memories I have of playing on the wilderness are some of the best I have. If they don't learn how now, they'll be too afraid to try later! And then Wall-E happens....more info
  • Last Child in the Woods
    As humanity goes deeper and deeper into materialism and our children are displaying symptoms in their emotional, behavioral and physical health, this book brings us back to the understanding that children are not little adults and human beings are not machines. The importance of self-discovery is being undermined through our over intellectualization on one side and on the other side the over protectionism of little ones. This surpresses the development of the imagination and intuition, which is so needed if our society is to refocus on humanity instead of amassing material good and consumption!!

    Thank you Professor Louv for your timely and VERY important book!!...more info
    Parent or child, young or old, EVERYONE can benefit from this book (for parents, it should be a must read, though). We are a culture that has gone astray from nature, and are hurting as a result. The statistics are astonishing at first, but they are really not that hard to translate into our current state of emotional, physcological, and physical health. Effective at shining light on today's ills (ADD, Autism, Depression, Obesity, etc...), this book also expertly weaves in the solutions, showcasing encouraging examples of people all over the country achieving spectacular results simply by getting connected with nature. No gimmick, nothing to buy, no pills to take, just simply spending more time outdoors does wonders. We all need nature - much more! So let's get it before it's all gone, and maybe even help preserve some of it, if for nothing else then to make ourselves feel better!...more info
  • Must read
    This is a must read for every parent with children. We remember our connection with nature and yet our children have lost it. Without our conscious effort to reconnect them with nature they will move further and further away....more info
  • Important Book
    This may very well be one of the most important books I have read this year ... or the past few years.

    I purchased "Last Child in the Woods" right after I heard Richard Louv interviewed on a local radio program. I was so moved by his message and impressed with the breadth of his knowledge and depth of experience. And it all translates well in the book.

    "Last Child..." feels more like a conversation than a text(book). It's just that comfortable and open. Yet it very strikingly paints a picture of what is currently happening to children and our world as well as what may yet happen if nothing is done to reverse "nature deficit disorder". But, more importantly, there are also bright examples of hope and suggestions as to what we can do, as individuals and in larger groups, to cultivate appreciation of -- and cooperation with -- the natural world.

    Anyone who wants to awaken a love of nature in their kids, or simply deepen their own nature walk, should give this inspiring book a chance. ...more info
  • A little too pessimistic and a bit too incomplete
    True, today's computer use by kids has in too many cases divorced them from the real benefits of being outdoors and understanding the need to interact with Nature in all its various forms.

    However, the author errs when he puts forth the premise that todays activists are interfering with the kids' rights to interact with nature - NOT SO!!! Hunting and fishing will ALWAYS be with us -- and RESPONSIBLE hunting and fishing should be the core of every sportspersons' agenda. Not everyone wants to hunt and fish -- so those who just enjoy hiking and camping should be aware of and follow the rules and responsibilities of careful stewardship of the earth (bring your trash OUT of the wilderness with you-- be extra careful with camp fires, etc etc)

    Not one word of his book mentions Humane Education, or the GREAT work that Humane Educators, especially the Institute for Humane Education -- are doing to re-acquaint children with the ecology (animal vegetable and mineral) that surrounds them and their responsibility toward this ecology that is EVERY individual's birthright. I would HOPE that the next revision of this book WILL discuss the great contributions of these Humane educators and organizations.

    Neither does the author mention the efforts on the part of major religious organizations to make their members aware of the need to respect, preserve and maintain God's gifts of flora and fauna and verything that makes up this big beautiful earth.

    Growing up in the Big City -- as a child, I visited the MANY FREE places open to kids of all ages in New York City -- namely the zoos and botanical gardens that are still there today. These organizations appeal to children and have programs specifically aimed at all children, and ARE visited on a daily basis by children who attend the local schools.

    All is NOT lost -- computer can never supplant the "real Thing" -- but many children still need to acquaint themselves with Mother Earth and their responsible relationship to her. With some improvements, this book can help re-acquaint all of us to the beauty of nature and the need to preserve it (without bashing any of the groups out there who have their own specific philosophies about other living beings) and can act as a beneficial guide to parents and children alike....more info
  • Excelent Book
    Anyone who has kids, works with kids or ever was a kid (yes I mean everyone) should read this book! ...more info
  • Excellent Book. . . Now Go Outside!
    Louv claims that children spend less and less time outdoors because of parental fears, electronic toys and a variety of other reasons. He explains what the implications are for children and adults: attention problems, disconnectedness with the world, lower productivity. Louv makes the case for why and how parents, teachers and others should help children connect with nature. I really liked the book overall, although I felt like some of the chapters could have been more concise. The second addition has an appendix with a concise practical list of things parents can do....more info
  • Required reading for parents
    Every parent who grew up in the outdoors should read this and remember what it meant to be a child. Generations are loosing their connection to the land and the land is what made America great. Read it and get back out there with your children, or simply get back out there yourself....more info
  • Reclaiming Childhood
    I grew up in a very small and rural town. Growing up I was surrounded by nature and even though video games were popular neither my siblings nor myself nor any of our friends ever had to be forced to spend more time outside. We liked being outside. We enjoyed playing in the fields, woods, yards, and vacant lots that were around. Having become a secondary teacher and also having spent many summers working at a summer camp, I have noticed that many children and young people no longer have the same connection to nature that I had as a child. There are some who may ignore this shift in child development and reason that it's not significant and is simply an expected result of an increasingly technologically based society. But, as Richard Louv points out in LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS, such an attitude is severely misguided and ignores the disturbing consequences of what can happen if children aren't connected to nature. Though scientific in nature, the book is written for lay people. Therefore, the text is fairly easy to read and comprehend. Highly recommended for parents and people who work with children....more info
  • The Future is Now!
    Richard writes with a determined, but quiet passion about the disconnect between our children and nature. You don't have to look very far to see how true and profound that disconnect is. See parents eating dinner with their children who are mindlessly thumbing their GameBoy or lost in their iPod; watch as young children repeal from the feeling of grass on their toes and teenage boys who don't want to get their sneakers dirty. These are but small, every day examples of how we are becomming plugged in and tuned out.
    I would encourage you to stop reading this, click on the link buy the book,and read it, RIGHT NOW! Share it with someone. Share the message with your kid's teacher/principal, school board, city council, anyone and everyone, start a revolution. Make a personal promise to take your kids fishing this weekend, take a walk in the woods, listen, smell, share. The future is now, Louv has provided all of us with the most poignant of wake up calls.
    Take your kids and GO OUTDOORS NOW!...more info
  • Eye opening
    This book engages one to think about the subject of how to bring a child up in this world without preaching. It presents facts, and it presents the shortcomings of the information it has available, but asks the question what would be wrong with trying to change.

    I have never read a book before that made me think as much as this book did. It rekindled old memories of childhood that were almost forgotten, it encourage me to strike up conversations with strangers who asked what I was reading about, and it converted me into an almost preacher for this book.

    The book is not a non stop page turner, but it was fun to read; made my eyes well up with emotion several times; and most of all encouraged me to think about a subject that I did not realize had so much meaning to me.
    ...more info
  • Finally, a ray of hope
    Until I read Richard Louv's book, "Last Child in the Woods," I only had two books on my shelf that merited permanent allegiance: Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac (Outdoor Essays & Reflections)" and Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." Both works were thoughtful and intelligent observations on the natural world and how we affected, and were affected by it. But they also left me slightly depressed. I felt hopeless and unsure of how to regain the ground we had lost. Although "Last Child" has numerous examples of what we've lost (including old-fashioned goofy play outdoors and an early-learned appreciation of nature), his research and interviews also focused on ways individuals and communities are turning dire predictions into positive ways to return childhood to children, and nature to families who have forgotton, (or maybe never learned,) how much we need it to survive and be healthy. Louv gathered and stitched together ideas that previously many others have tried to communicate, and this book is now my backup when I am trying to explain why I am hopeful about the future. What started as a catchy phrase ("nature deficit disorder") has morphed into a growing movement, and maybe this time the children will lead us all back into a more healthy and balanced way of living. ...more info
  • Too much of the same thing
    The whole concept is an interesting one but the book drug on with the same message....more info
  • Definite pass along book
    The author is passionate on his subject and the passion is infectious. He interviews authors who have done research in the area: viewing greenspace helps you recover from injury, unstructured outdoor play helps children's concentration and impulse control and so on. I was inspired by his many helpful suggestions for family activities and by his descriptions of locally focused environmental education. He also provides many useful outside readings and links to like-minded organizations. You will find this book very useful!...more info
  • Good book, good ideas
    The book has excellent information and a an better message that I agree with wholeheartedly. The only problem is that it is written with fairly complex psychological information which is hard to follow at times. Otherwise, I liked the book. ...more info
  • Just the beginning
    I agree with another reviewer, who wrote that anyone buying this book already feels the pull to nature. And frankly just reading some of the other reviews helped solidify my own belief of how valuable nature time is for children.

    And some attention to how communities and groups can re-establish the pathways to nature are good to bring out the activist in ourselves.

    What those of us nature-cravers need most, though, are some how-to's. The section of the book "The Nature-Child Reunion" is fabulous for this, and continues in the theme that the contact with nature should be unstructured.

    There is a long list of books at the back for further reading, fortunately cataloged in the Amazon citations list so I can click to check it out....more info
  • Persuasive and impassioned, though with some evidentiary gaps
    Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
    This book makes a convincing case that many of our children are suffering from a deficit of nature in their lives. He connects this nature deficit to a variety of modern plagues, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, stress, depression, anxiety disorders, and childhood obesity. The evidence tends to be more anecdotal than systematic or experimental, but the cumulation of such evidence becomes persuasive.

    He attributes this deficit to many causes, including a loss of public spaces, the testing climate in public schools reducing recesses, the growth of organized youth activities at the expense of just messing around in vacant lots, parents' fears for safety, fears of litigation making cities reduce parks and playgrounds, electronic games and television, and various other ills. The causal links here are even more speculative but again, the story coheres well from an accumulation of circumstantial evidence.

    Louv's solutions seem to address symptoms, not underlying causes. Many are wishful thinking - - with so many social and economic pressures taking our kids away from nature, we need a significant restructuring to get them back. I'm not sure how to do this, but this important book certainly does a good job raising the issues.
    ...more info
  • please don't let it happen!
    moving urgent plea to give today's kids the healing and stimulating outdoorness we all grew up with--bought extra copies to give to others--a really important book for anyone who cares for a child or even someone like me who only worries about them in general--great thought and action provoking book which is also easy to read and full of action to help....more info


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