The National Wildlife Federation

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Connecting Today's Kids With Nature: A Policy Action Plan

  • Heather White
  • May 01, 2008

Recent research shows that children are spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago. Today’s kids spend six and a half hours a day “plugged into” electronic media.

Today’s kids suffer from a “nature deficit.” There are many contributors to nature deficit. Often parents’ fear of strangers keeps kids indoors. Some parents worry about bug bites, bee stings, and poison ivy. Many children simply do not have an “outside” to play in because of the lack of playgrounds, parks, and open space. Others cannot get to a safe outside area because of busy roads and intersections. Liability concerns have limited traditional outdoor play activities like climbing trees and building forts. Video games and other electronics lure kids inside. In some communities, kids are so overscheduled that they just do not have time to play unless it is through an organized sport.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is committed to connecting children to nature. Children should have access to and time for play in nature. A right for unstructured play. A right to create and explore. A right to experience the sense of wonder of being outside.

This report describes what is at stake, including the health of our children, the economy, and the future of American conservation efforts. It then offers solution to reversing the nature deficit and how to connect children to nature, including actions that can be taken in the home, in the community, and at the state and federal policy levels.

Connecting Today's Kids With Nature

The Connecting Today's Kids With Nature offers solutions to reversing the nature deficit and how to connect children to nature, including actions that can be taken in the home, in the community, and at the state and federal policy levels.

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