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How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature

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From the beloved host of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train, an easy-to-use guide for parents, teachers, and others looking to foster a strong connection between children and nature, complete with engaging activities, troubleshooting advice, and much more American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent rese From the beloved host of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train, an easy-to-use guide for parents, teachers, and others looking to foster a strong connection between children and nature, complete with engaging activities, troubleshooting advice, and much more American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent research indicates that experiences in nature are essential for healthy growth. Regular exposure to nature can help relieve stress, depression, and attention deficits. It can reduce bullying, combat illness, and boost academic scores. Most critical of all, abundant time in nature seems to yield long-term benefits in kids’ cognitive, emotional, and social development. Yet teachers, parents, and other caregivers lack a basic understanding of how to engender a meaningful, lasting connection between children and the natural world. How to Raise a Wild Child offers a timely and engaging antidote, showing how kids’ connection to nature changes as they mature. Distilling the latest research in multiple disciplines, Sampson reveals how adults can help kids fall in love with nature—enlisting technology as an ally, taking advantage of urban nature, and instilling a sense of place along the way.


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From the beloved host of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train, an easy-to-use guide for parents, teachers, and others looking to foster a strong connection between children and nature, complete with engaging activities, troubleshooting advice, and much more American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent rese From the beloved host of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train, an easy-to-use guide for parents, teachers, and others looking to foster a strong connection between children and nature, complete with engaging activities, troubleshooting advice, and much more American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent research indicates that experiences in nature are essential for healthy growth. Regular exposure to nature can help relieve stress, depression, and attention deficits. It can reduce bullying, combat illness, and boost academic scores. Most critical of all, abundant time in nature seems to yield long-term benefits in kids’ cognitive, emotional, and social development. Yet teachers, parents, and other caregivers lack a basic understanding of how to engender a meaningful, lasting connection between children and the natural world. How to Raise a Wild Child offers a timely and engaging antidote, showing how kids’ connection to nature changes as they mature. Distilling the latest research in multiple disciplines, Sampson reveals how adults can help kids fall in love with nature—enlisting technology as an ally, taking advantage of urban nature, and instilling a sense of place along the way.

30 review for How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    Notes I took on the book are below, but basically the main point is: go outside, and take your kids with you. Benefits to an outdoor lifestyle range from brain development, health (both physical and mental), spiritual, sense of belonging in time and space, etc. There is no downside to spending time outside other than a larger pile of laundry to do when you get home. How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson Reasons for the movement indoors: • Screens • Parental fear (abduction, injury, etc.) • Liti Notes I took on the book are below, but basically the main point is: go outside, and take your kids with you. Benefits to an outdoor lifestyle range from brain development, health (both physical and mental), spiritual, sense of belonging in time and space, etc. There is no downside to spending time outside other than a larger pile of laundry to do when you get home. How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson Reasons for the movement indoors: • Screens • Parental fear (abduction, injury, etc.) • Litigation as a result of injury • Increased structured “playtime” as a result of fear of litigation • Less nature readily available (urban sprawl) • Biology becoming the study of genes and molecules rather than on whole organisms (pg. 43) “Beyond the obesity, stress and other negative effects of remaining indoors, recent research indicates that unstructured play in natural settings is essential for children’s healthy growth. As any parent or early childhood educator will attest, play is an innate drive. It is also the primary vehicle for youngsters to experience and explore their surroundings. Compared to kids confined indoors, children who regularly play in nature show heightened motor-control – including balance, coordination, and agility. They tend to engage more in imaginative and creative play, which in turn fosters language, abstract reasoning, and problem-solving skills, together with a sense of wonder.” Pg. 37 Chapter 1: Wilding the Mind: What is Nature, and Do We Really Need It? 1. A deep connection with nature doesn’t arise through periodic trips to national parks or other wilderness. While such trips can leave deep impressions, even more important are abundant experiences in wild or semi-wild places, typically close to home. • Make getting outside a habit; for children as well as adults • Use weekends for planned trips, night time walks • Invite nature into your yard; bird houses, logs, rocks, ponds, native flora and fauna • Make the schoolyard a classroom; relevant, hands-on learning Chapter 2: The Power of Place: Discovering Nearby Nature 1. A meaningful connection with nature does not arise in a single, emotionally charged event, no matter how powerful. Rather, it emerges organically and gradually over many years, the result of a spiraling feedback loop interweaving emotions with understanding. (pg. 57) 2. Three themes have emerged as being most critical in promotion nature connection: • Experience: • Mentoring: • Children tend to value what you value, so start noticing nature yourself, taking a few minutes each day to become more aware of the other-than-human world around you. (pg. 64) If you don’t value nature, your children won’t either (pg.76) • Mentors should: • 1) value the natural world and demonstrate that through their own actions 2) pay close attention to their mentees; How do they learn best? What are their interests? What are their strengths? 3) Active listeners and questioners; seldom answer givers • Activities: sit-spots to learn the language of birds, tell a non-fiction nature story from the day, nature journal with words, drawings, observations, questions, etc. • Understanding: what is interesting and meaningful for the child, as well as having and selectively doling out answers to children’s questions. Chapter 3: The Way of Coyote: Nature Mentoring Basics 1. Pay close attention to children’s interactions with nature and follow their lead. Tailoring experiences and questions to kids’ specific interests is the best path toward inspiring passion for the natural world. (pg. 91) Chapter 4: Hitched to Everything: Place-Based Learning 1. Place-Based Learning: Uses direct experiences in local landscapes to inform larger-scale explorations. Understand and intimately experience one’s local oak or fir forest (whatever the local environment has) before diving into books and videos about other environments. • Requires firsthand experience • Grounded in values such as community, sustainability, and beauty • Traditional schools can re-think their playgrounds to include vegetable gardens (which get used in the cafeteria), butterfly garden (plants), hummingbird garden, habitat for bees, pond and wetland that support dragonflies, frogs, water-striders and fish. Green natural playgrounds nurture wildlife as well as children; providing natural places to run and play, corners of solitude, shade to escape midday sun. Reduces uncivil behavior and stress while promoting focus. (pg. 113) • Begin with the big idea that everything (including us) is interwoven with everything else. Then seek out regular opportunities to feed the flame of wonder with this insight. We are part of nature, and nature is part of us! (pg. 119) • Try putting an imaginary “bubble” around a piece of nature. Experience what it experiences: what does it see, hear, small, touch, taste, feel? Why? • Discover the role that a certain organism plays, and how it interacts with other organisms: solar energy grabber, plant eater, animal eater, decomposer/recycler, predator/prey, pollinator, earth/animal pairings (worm, soil), how do farm animals and crops affect/integrate with the local ecosystem etc. (pg. 121) Chapter 5: Mothers All the Way Down 1) Mentors must tell indigenous stories, focusing on how everything is connected and related • First big idea: Ecology – the interconnectedness of everything with everything else; how nature works. • Second big idea: Evolution – how nature came to be • “Your mother wasn’t the only one responsible for your birth. It was your grandmother, and before that your great-grandmother and your great-great grandmother. Long before that, it was the long unbroken chain of mammal mothers, reptile mothers, and amphibian mothers. We also owe a deep thanks to our fish mothers and countless other sea creatures and bacteria that gave rise to them even further back in time. Earth Mother gave birth to the first life, and the Great cosmic Mother birthed the first stars. You can think about it as a huge family tree.” (pg. 141) • Everything around us is interconnected not just through the ecological flow of energy and matter, but also the flow of relationships through time. We’re surrounded by relatives, all of us intertwined in a grand, unfinished story. Understanding and experiencing this story can help foster deep nature connection. (pg. 142) Chapter 6: The Playful Scientist: Mentoring Young Children 1) Don’t let facts hinder the experience, because it’s in the experience that young children are likely to find the greatest understanding (pg. 151) 2) Children have “lantern consciousness” where many things are illuminated and considered. Adults have “spotlight consciousness” where focus is narrowly and specifically directed. 3) Psychologists tell us that real play is spontaneous, freely chosen by children and kid-directed. And play activities are intrinsically motivated, with no external goal or reward. (pg. 158) This means parents need to butt out. Unstructured means freeplay without ADULT GUIDANCE OR SUPERVISION. (pg. 170) • The best toys of all time according to WIRED magazine: 1) stick, 2) box, 3) string, 4) cardboard tube, 5) dirt! These “loose parts” can be anything, where as a toy car is always a car, a doll is always humanistic. (pg. 160) 4. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sixty minutes of unstructured free play per day to support children’s physical, metal and emotional health. (pg. 159) • Perhaps the greatest secret to being a nature mentor during the early childhood years is at once the easiest and most difficult thing to do. It is, simply, to get kids outside, get out of the way, and let ‘em play! (pg. 170) Chapter 7: The Age of Competence: Mentoring During the Middle Childhood Years 1) Nine to eleven year olds will start to want to experience nature farther away from the safety and security of mom and dad. • How do we stem the tide of children falling out of love with nature during middle childhood? One part of the answer may be communities formed around family nature clubs. • Children and Nature Network (online) • For children in middle childhood, tap into their longings by fostering nature experiences with plenty of exploration, autonomy, and demonstrations of competence. (pg. 196) • As children get older, increase the separation to give children the freedom to take some risks, make some mistakes, and deal with consequences. (pg. 197) Chapter 8: The Social Animal: Mentoring Adolescence 1. For youth today, the all-important impulse control and inhibition system, so highly dependent on experience is underdeveloped by the time adolescence strikes; teens are ill prepared to deal with risk and often end up making poor choices. Ergo, give them plenty of opportunities to make calculated risks during the middle childhood years so soften the transition to adolescence. 2. Put adolescents together in outdoor situations where they can take calculates risks with each other while demonstrating new skills and strengths. Make sure they have a deep degree of autonomy from adults and strong peer support. (pg. 208) 3. Create opportunities for regular time in wild nature where adolescents can engage in challenging, adventurous activities with one another (peers, not parents). (pg. 224) 4. To increase the chances of getting yourself outside (with your kids), pick something that you like to do. Pick something for each season so that you have something to do outside all year long. (pg. 225) Chapter 9: Dangerous Liasions: Balancing Technology and Nature 1. The hybrid mind is capable of switching back and forth between the digital and physical world. It doesn’t have to be all one or the other. (pg. 239) • Digital photography, videography, geocacheing, field guide apps, etc. 2. Biomimicry = no longer something to learn about, nature is something to learn from. The idea that nature has already figured out the solution to many of human problems; grab solar energy like a leaf, create color like a butterfly, recycle waste like a swap. (pg. 251) 3. Mentor the children in your life to embrace both technology and nature, to establish a balance where high-tech AND nature-loving become the thriving norm. (pg. 253) Chapter 10: The Re-wilding Revolution: Growing Nature Lovers in the Big City 1. Thrivability, not just sustainability 2. People are not likely to alter their behavior on global issues, if they’re not engaged locally. We may not be able to change global issues as individuals, but we can change local issues. Changing local issues leads to changing global ones. • Architects are designing “Living Buildings” that exist in harmony and partnership between human and nature’s needs 3. We no longer know what is “normal” for our area because we see our environment for a relatively short period of time in relation to how long the planet have been around – we’ve lost more than we can imagine without realizing it. • Going native with plants and animals helps to restore the ecosystem. 4. Rather than sharing knowledge and expertise, your chief goal as a nature mentor is to help instill a deep longing for nature. (pg.281)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tom Quinn

    Dr. Scott, delightful dork of Dinosaur Train, is here to play Mr. Wizard to the newest generation of couch-potato kids (and their parents, too). 3 stars. Part nature memoir, part environmental treatise, part parenting guide. Little new in the way of suggestions, but the author's enthusiasm is catching. Dr. Scott, delightful dork of Dinosaur Train, is here to play Mr. Wizard to the newest generation of couch-potato kids (and their parents, too). 3 stars. Part nature memoir, part environmental treatise, part parenting guide. Little new in the way of suggestions, but the author's enthusiasm is catching.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kirby

    I ran into the same problem I come across in most parenting books- too much background information and scientific evidence, not enough practical advice. It feels like preaching to the choir when the author spends 90% of the book trying to convince me how important nature is. I already know. That's why I picked up this book! I would recommend "There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom's Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids" instead of this book. I ran into the same problem I come across in most parenting books- too much background information and scientific evidence, not enough practical advice. It feels like preaching to the choir when the author spends 90% of the book trying to convince me how important nature is. I already know. That's why I picked up this book! I would recommend "There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom's Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids" instead of this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Europaea

    How To Raise A Wild Child is a very thorough, well-written piece that is a must read for any parent, caregiver or educator. Scott D. Sampson expresses beautifully how important having a nature mentor is for children in a highly driven technology-focused world. I can already hear the critics getting ready to balk at the thought of having to put down their smartphones, but wait-for-it... Sampson doesn't down-play the need for technology in this digital age we find ourselves in. Instead he pr How To Raise A Wild Child is a very thorough, well-written piece that is a must read for any parent, caregiver or educator. Scott D. Sampson expresses beautifully how important having a nature mentor is for children in a highly driven technology-focused world. I can already hear the critics getting ready to balk at the thought of having to put down their smartphones, but wait-for-it... Sampson doesn't down-play the need for technology in this digital age we find ourselves in. Instead he presents ways to encompass both nature and technology for unforgettable experiences in every stage of life from infancy to adulthood. Mentor the children in your life to embrace both technology and nature, to establish a balance where high-tech and nature-loving become the thriving norm. Personally, when I first received this book I was skeptical of what I would find. I thought it would be another ultra-hippy-granola take on abandoning the ways of the 21st century to embrace a more prehistoric/minimalist lifestyle but it is just the opposite. It is an excellent guide for modern day parents, caregivers and educators to really learn to explore and appreciate the nature around you whether you live in large city or rural area. ...the greatest secret of being a nature mentor during the early childhood years is at once the easiest and most difficult thing to do. It is simply, to get out of the way, and let 'em play. Sampson shows how to impart that love and wonder of nature that came easy for the older generations onto impressionable youth. He encourages simple ideas like story-of-the-day, coyote guidance, hummingbird parenting and so many other easy to employ tactics to pass down a deep connection with nature for our next generations. Sampson understands that sustainability for our planet is nothing compared to the thrivability we can achieve if humans come to understand and love each part of our ecosystem.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Haley

    So first a disclaimer: I did not actually read every page of this book. I read several chapters and skimmed others, but I feel as though I did read enough to write a fair review. Part of my reason for disliking this book is my own fault. I focused much more on the first part of the title ("How to Raise a Wild Child") than on the second part ("The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature"). I was searching for a book with practical lessons about how to introduce my kid(s) to nature, with per So first a disclaimer: I did not actually read every page of this book. I read several chapters and skimmed others, but I feel as though I did read enough to write a fair review. Part of my reason for disliking this book is my own fault. I focused much more on the first part of the title ("How to Raise a Wild Child") than on the second part ("The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature"). I was searching for a book with practical lessons about how to introduce my kid(s) to nature, with perhaps some background. This book was 95% background/science with a few tips and anecdotal stories sprinkled in. I gave two stars: one for good writing (though dry, in my opinion, since I was hoping for a tutorial and instead got a science textbook) and one for the practical lessons and tips that WERE included. In particular, parts of the chapters that discuss nature by age were helpful. But, I couldn't give any more stars. Partly because of what I've already explained (that the book was much more science and research-based than I was hoping for). Partly because, not only was the book all about science, it was written by someone who has a completely different view of our development of humans (i.e., evolution) and the creation of our world (i.e., old earth, big bang), than I do. And so many of the things he would say were predicated on those issues, and so it made it a bit difficult for me to connect. Let me be clear, I understand that many intelligent scientists hold those world views and their books are still worth reading. But since this book was SO focused on the science part, and since evolution, etc., were SO important to the author's arguments and discussions, it made it a very difficult book for me to use. That being said, I did read several chapters, but I just couldn't make myself continue. As a good friend recently said, if you actually WANT to do the dishes more than you want to pick a book up to read another chapter, it's not going to be a winner for you. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Dude, I entered the giveaway for this back in December. How did I not notice that he is a dinosaur paleontologist and vice president of research and collections for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, as well as host of the PBS children’s series “Dinosaur Train”??? This is when I wish I loved closer to town. I'd never make it home and then back down here in time. How to help kids fall in love with nature at the next 'Colorado Matters at the Tattered' Dude, I entered the giveaway for this back in December. How did I not notice that he is a dinosaur paleontologist and vice president of research and collections for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, as well as host of the PBS children’s series “Dinosaur Train”??? This is when I wish I loved closer to town. I'd never make it home and then back down here in time. How to help kids fall in love with nature at the next 'Colorado Matters at the Tattered'

  7. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    If your kids ever watched Dinosaur Train on PBS then they probably already met Dr. Scott. This book is often for sale in the Kindle store store and I highly recommend parents pick it up. Paleontologist Scott offers practical advice for providing a nature education for children of all ages in all locations based on lots of research and personal experience. My kid and I often do a “sit spot” during our nature walks and it’s been wonderful. The boy and I have both learned to exercise patience and l If your kids ever watched Dinosaur Train on PBS then they probably already met Dr. Scott. This book is often for sale in the Kindle store store and I highly recommend parents pick it up. Paleontologist Scott offers practical advice for providing a nature education for children of all ages in all locations based on lots of research and personal experience. My kid and I often do a “sit spot” during our nature walks and it’s been wonderful. The boy and I have both learned to exercise patience and listening skills. In addition, we’ve taken the time to ask questions when we see nature “clues” to guess what the local animals and plants are up to. Indeed my kid’s interest in nature is pretty fervent now. Every few months, he makes me help him clean up our local trail because he fully realizes the impact of litter on animals, plants, and the environment. Act locally, think globally seems innate to him. And I think this book has helped in shaping this nature steward.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Mills

    I love parts of this book. As a child development grad, nature educator, and mom to six, I agree wholeheartedly that free play is where connection happens. Experiences and environment shape us. I also agree that technology can be a valuable tool to connecting with nature, in moderation. Sampson rightly asserts that we don’t have to know it all but we do need to MODEL a love for nature and inquisitiveness in finding out. He describes how important it is not to lead or quiz but ask open questions t I love parts of this book. As a child development grad, nature educator, and mom to six, I agree wholeheartedly that free play is where connection happens. Experiences and environment shape us. I also agree that technology can be a valuable tool to connecting with nature, in moderation. Sampson rightly asserts that we don’t have to know it all but we do need to MODEL a love for nature and inquisitiveness in finding out. He describes how important it is not to lead or quiz but ask open questions that further inquiry and communication. There are excellent suggestions/ideas in this book that include • Telling nature stories (parent and child telling) both personal, the written word, and of the Universe) • Watching sunsets, having nature experiences with this child • Journaling or recording nature with more modern means • Importance of green and nature play spaces • Following children’s leads in interests Sampson mentions Anna Comstock my woman naturalist/educator hero. How could a nature nut NOT geek out over all of that? But then... For a guy who obviously understands the nature of the universe he also falls into assumptions which fail to look at the world complexly, or acknowledge varying degrees of resources and flexibility. For example, the author suggests that for connection to be made that DAILY free play time in nature is necessary. What is that you say? You don’t have time with adult responsibilities to be out there with your kids every day? No worries! Mr. Sampson’s idea of free play is both unstructured AND unsupervised! Even for very young children! In the introduction he blames technology, fear of stranger abduction, urbanization, and litigation for children’s lack of unstructured unsupervised time outdoors. There ARE safety concerns outside abduction AND parents get reported to cps for ignoring them. Regardless of whether concerns are valid, this is no longer societally acceptable. On the flip side, many children in urban environments need MORE time with encouraging adults, not less. It is entirely possible to have unstructured time that also includes supervision for safety’s sake. Perhaps Sampson understands this as he goes on to make many suggestions where adult supervision IS present. Yet even so, time outside for free play in natural spaces is not something that is attainable daily for most parents, or teachers for many reasons, most of which are out of their control. A teacher cannot say, “Screw teaching to the test! I’m taking these kids outside!” and expect to keep getting a paycheck. A working parent (especially lower income without M-F 9-5 hours) often doesn’t have the resources in terms of time, or energy. Another issue, is that like kids in nature book authors before him, there is a casual linking of children’s mental disorders to too much time indoors. Of course ADHD gets mentioned without any real understanding of the nature of the disorder. I would suggest, as a scientist, he have a good look at those “studies” and consider their small sample sizes and lack of follow up. I also wish he would go out to his nature spot have a good think about the danger of this irresponsible linking in terms of stigmatizing kids who live with childhood disorders, and their caregivers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Lindsay

    I received an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review...and while the book hasn't been "offically released"(it comes out Monday, March 24th 2015), it appears as if my five-star review falls slightly above where other reviews have placed it. That said, if you read the reviews the others share, there *are* a few reasons why it may not exactly be 5-stars for you. It's a bit redundant. The author's daughter is a tree-hugger. All I can say is: big deal. I happened I received an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review...and while the book hasn't been "offically released"(it comes out Monday, March 24th 2015), it appears as if my five-star review falls slightly above where other reviews have placed it. That said, if you read the reviews the others share, there *are* a few reasons why it may not exactly be 5-stars for you. It's a bit redundant. The author's daughter is a tree-hugger. All I can say is: big deal. I happened to have LOVED this book. "Dr. Scott the palentologist" from PBS KIDS's DINOSAUR TRAIN takes us on an unforgettable journey through the woods, stomping through marshy areas of ponds, and sitting alongside the flotsam and jetsam of the California coast. Sure, he loves nature and so does his daughter, Jade but what better person than a nature-lover to show us parents (and educators), how to roll up the sleeves and immerse oneself into the nature around our little corner of the world. And that may be the challenge. In today's world, we're so connected that we're disconnected. Follow me? Because of all of our screen-time, we *think* we are staying connected to our jobs, our friends, our family, the things we care about, but in reality, we are alienating ourselves from nature. One particular "sticking point" from HOW TO RAISE A WILD CHILD was this: Think about a special childhood place...smell it, feel it, hear the sounds, are you alone--or with someone? Got your place...okay, now were you inside or outside? Most baby-boomers will indicate an outdoor location. Those born in the late 1960s and 1970s, might as well. Maybe they have both, an indoor and and outdoor location of childhood specialness. If that's the case--great. Dr. Scott goes on to say that children born after this time period *may* not associate their happy childhood place as an outdoor location. The result: they may look back on their childhood years as being happy in front of screen. Yikes! HOW TO RAISE A WILD CHILD delves into ways to bring technology and nature together. Love photography? Gotta a kiddo who does? Why not take nature-inspired photos and make a slide show? Greeting cards? Magnets? Give them as gifts. Other ideas: grow a garden, join a co-op, develop a nature club, etc. There are *countless* suggestions in this book to inspire, educate, and promote being one with nature. Dr. Scott also brings much educational research to the table, indicating that time in nature actually bolsters performance in the classroom, and why. The educator in mean loves that, the mom in me appreciates it, and the writer in me has made me want to get out of my comfort zone (behind the laptop) and get out in nature. I think it will you, too.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Jacobson

    The first half of this book was awesome! So much great insight into the importance of nature and how to raise a generation of kids who love and respect it. I agree that we need to better understand and have a connection to nature if it has a hope of survival in the future. I especially appreciated the tidbits about mentoring, as I think that is really best way to teach children. BUT, you can stop reading at page 145. The last two sections are pretty much useless and a repeat of what has already The first half of this book was awesome! So much great insight into the importance of nature and how to raise a generation of kids who love and respect it. I agree that we need to better understand and have a connection to nature if it has a hope of survival in the future. I especially appreciated the tidbits about mentoring, as I think that is really best way to teach children. BUT, you can stop reading at page 145. The last two sections are pretty much useless and a repeat of what has already been said. Part III breaks down ways to teach children of different age groups, which is a good idea, but I feel it was actually well covered in the first half of the book, and there was no need to break it down like that. Section IV confused me. Why? It just dragged on. But I will stop complaining about it because the first half was so inspiring. I have quite a few quotes I will keep. And I will still recommend this book, with the caution as stated above. Oh, yes! And the other caution. The author is a scientist who believes in the Big Bang Theory and that humans evolved from monkeys. The evolution thing comes up twice and is quick. There is heavy emphasis on the rest of evolution, which I think is real and fits with a Christian view of creationism. I also don't think his view that we evolved from monkeys takes anything away from what he is saying. The Big Bang Theory is discussed at length, but again, not a distraction and not completely at odds with creationism. Just a heads up for anyone interested in those things.

  11. 4 out of 5

    nicole

    It all started when our daughter wouldn't stand on grass. I - an urban, indoor kid - married an outdoorsy man who has fond memories of all kinds of outdoorsy things I'd only read about in books. We both really want to give our daughter a childhood that looks more like his, but I noticed that over the summer we tended to gravitate more toward things from my childhood - mom & me classes, errands, and air conditioning. I turned to this book hoping to find a way to bridge that gap. The writing was a b It all started when our daughter wouldn't stand on grass. I - an urban, indoor kid - married an outdoorsy man who has fond memories of all kinds of outdoorsy things I'd only read about in books. We both really want to give our daughter a childhood that looks more like his, but I noticed that over the summer we tended to gravitate more toward things from my childhood - mom & me classes, errands, and air conditioning. I turned to this book hoping to find a way to bridge that gap. The writing was a bit more verbose than I expected and went in tangents that made me set it down for long stretches. But I appreciated the underlying message - be a nature mentor, give your child space to explore while serving as a guide, learn to hummingbird parent. Some parts are so overwhelming in their earnestness - place based learning, rewilding - but a lot of it spoke to me not only as a parent but an educator. I wish wholeheartedly to be more like the person he describes in this book (that I read, largely, indoors). For us, this meant incorporating more nature walks as a start - we did one as a family and it was really fun! I've also started to point out more things as we walk to our car. There's a family of hawks that lives in our apartment complex and we stopped to listen/watch them yesterday morning. We pause to watch the early fall wind blow through the trees. Small steps for all involved.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    What a wonderful book--and wonderfully written, too. I have had this topic in mind for a long time for my own kiddo, and this book enhanced and deepened my understanding of both why, and HOW, to "re-wild" our children in general, and help them develop a love for wild nature in all its forms--the galaxy, the planet, wild places, close-by places, our backyard. At about the half-way mark, I also realized that the advice given were in many ways ideas for me to reconnect with nature and wildness myse What a wonderful book--and wonderfully written, too. I have had this topic in mind for a long time for my own kiddo, and this book enhanced and deepened my understanding of both why, and HOW, to "re-wild" our children in general, and help them develop a love for wild nature in all its forms--the galaxy, the planet, wild places, close-by places, our backyard. At about the half-way mark, I also realized that the advice given were in many ways ideas for me to reconnect with nature and wildness myself. The tips given for various age levels are excellent; I will want to return to this book at least two more times, when my kid is in middle school, and then again in high school.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Freeman

    5 moons for a book that speaks to one of my greatest passions. It has a lot of good suggestions for folks trying to make wild places a part of their family culture. I was reading this when I was diagnosed with cancer, so more than anything: it served as an assurance that I have done some good in my life thus far. (A comforting thought in a trying time.) Even though we have already incorporated many of these tactics in our family, I was still able to find new ideas we could use to get deeper into 5 moons for a book that speaks to one of my greatest passions. It has a lot of good suggestions for folks trying to make wild places a part of their family culture. I was reading this when I was diagnosed with cancer, so more than anything: it served as an assurance that I have done some good in my life thus far. (A comforting thought in a trying time.) Even though we have already incorporated many of these tactics in our family, I was still able to find new ideas we could use to get deeper into nature. I also walked away with a substantial list of books to read, which sound yummy. 🌙🌙🌙🌙🌙

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Kamm

    It's hard for me to give stars for most nonfiction books because I usually have to slog through them, but this one was pretty good--I'd give it somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. While I didn't agree with everything Sampson had to say about raising a wild child (I am more traditional in how I approach education), I thought he did a great job of providing examples of ways to get kids out and about if you aren't necessarily a nature lover yourself, and also of discussing how to embrace technology It's hard for me to give stars for most nonfiction books because I usually have to slog through them, but this one was pretty good--I'd give it somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. While I didn't agree with everything Sampson had to say about raising a wild child (I am more traditional in how I approach education), I thought he did a great job of providing examples of ways to get kids out and about if you aren't necessarily a nature lover yourself, and also of discussing how to embrace technology and nature, two fields that are often pitted against each other. Worth a read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book had great potential. Sadly, it just repeated the same message in different ways. I gave up 3/4 of the way through. There are only so many ways that you can say “take your kids outside and encourage their natural curiousity.” If I had a take away other than “just go outside” it would be this: You do not have to be a nature expert to instill a love of nature in your children. Being curious with them is half the fun. That’s about all I have to say about this book. Shall I do what the auth This book had great potential. Sadly, it just repeated the same message in different ways. I gave up 3/4 of the way through. There are only so many ways that you can say “take your kids outside and encourage their natural curiousity.” If I had a take away other than “just go outside” it would be this: You do not have to be a nature expert to instill a love of nature in your children. Being curious with them is half the fun. That’s about all I have to say about this book. Shall I do what the author did a repeat myself a dozen times? 😉🤪

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hillary Watson

    We are big fans of Dr. Scott and Dinosaur Train in our house, so I was very excited to find that Dr. Scott wrote a book. This book inspired me to put a greater emphasis on outdoor play for my children. It also helped me realize how some of my biggest interests (gardening and native plants) can be used to my children's advantage. While some of the suggestions for incorporating nature into your life were too involved for me, he had plenty of simple suggestions that I feel I can implement. I'm exci We are big fans of Dr. Scott and Dinosaur Train in our house, so I was very excited to find that Dr. Scott wrote a book. This book inspired me to put a greater emphasis on outdoor play for my children. It also helped me realize how some of my biggest interests (gardening and native plants) can be used to my children's advantage. While some of the suggestions for incorporating nature into your life were too involved for me, he had plenty of simple suggestions that I feel I can implement. I'm excited to get outside with my kids, get into nature, and make our own discoveries 😊

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristen L

    While initially purchased as a parenting book, I quickly found that it applies to people beyond those dealing with parenthood. This book gives the outline for all those who love nature and how to pass that love down to subsequent generations, regardless of relation, as nature mentors. Sampson gives research and applications throughout each chapter and I found myself taking a few tips and practicing them for personal gain.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angi Campbell

    I’m sure this book would be great for someone who lives in the city, but we have always implemented a way more rigorous nature connection with our kids than this book even touches on. So this is good for those who are nature-clueless but very basic and vanilla for people who are already into nature and an outdoor lifestyle.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz Strawser

    There were parts that I really enjoyed, but I think the book would have been better if it were about 1/3 as long.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    4.5 This might be my favorite parenting book so far! It's major flaw is a lack of clear organization, leading it to be repetitive at times and quite a bit longer than it probably needed to be. The title might also be slightly deceiving... overall this book talks about how to encourage a love of nature in children and why it's important for our physical, mental and emotional health as well as the future of our planet. But this book is probably 70% or more 'why' and only 30% 'how'—which is not what I 4.5 This might be my favorite parenting book so far! It's major flaw is a lack of clear organization, leading it to be repetitive at times and quite a bit longer than it probably needed to be. The title might also be slightly deceiving... overall this book talks about how to encourage a love of nature in children and why it's important for our physical, mental and emotional health as well as the future of our planet. But this book is probably 70% or more 'why' and only 30% 'how'—which is not what I expected given the title. There are a lot of good 'how to' nuggets though. And many of them overlapped with other important ideas I've been learning about/practicing lately, such as mindfulness and how to love where you live. (Although that's probably what drew me to this book in the first place, right?) I also really loved learning about Sampson's vision of the future, in which we bring nature back to urban areas as a way to combat climate change and species extinction. It sounds very idyllic. As a side note, I really appreciated the inclusivity of this book. The author very often (always?) used, 'she' when referring to the generic child instead of the often standard 'he'. Which makes a difference in my opinion. Would recommend from even a non-parenting perspective.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elsie

    Go outside! Take your daughter, son, grandchild, nephew, niece and/or companion with you. This wasn’t necessarily a remarkable read but the information and suggestions are great. This is almost a parenting book with child development education all oriented toward protecting and restoring the environment. It could have been more concise but definitely something we all need to consider and apply daily to make the world a better place on so many levels.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I have read a number of books about the importants of raising children with a connection to the natural word. This one is probably the best. Dr Scott (known to many parents and children from PBS’ Dinosaur Train) lays out the problems, gives actionable solutions then gives you reference if you want to do more reading on any particular idea. Well done.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    Solid research, a good basic introduction to understand the importance of he natural world, ways to get kids interested, and the research explaining nature deficit disorder. I particularly liked the focus on attending, related to tv and screens. All children can attend, but engaging is more difficult now.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex Harker

    I feel so inspired to play with my son outside at all times of year because of this book! This was a great mixture of science, research, and practical ideas for getting kids to love nature. The phases of childhood chapters were my favorite by far.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shayla

    So well researched! I definitely believe the need for this push, but it will push me outside my comfort zone to personally be out in nature more so that my kids will.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Jensen

    Sadly DNF. Successful in its attempt to inspire outdoor play, but unsuccessful at being interesting. Slow & dry.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adam Jones

    So insightful. Dr. Scott gives an very in-depth solution to a very real problem, not just in the United States, but in the rest of the world. Take the kids outside, find a sit spot and let them ask questions.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Honor

    I usually avoid “parenting” books like the plague but I am interested in the topic, having two little kids in nature-centric Seattle, so I thought I’d give this a skim. Wow. I was not expecting to find this book so emotional and moving. Yes, the book is about making the case that connecting children to nature is important for their health and well-being. But what I found to be the most powerful message in this book is the idea that a deep connection with nature can give us a profound sense of id I usually avoid “parenting” books like the plague but I am interested in the topic, having two little kids in nature-centric Seattle, so I thought I’d give this a skim. Wow. I was not expecting to find this book so emotional and moving. Yes, the book is about making the case that connecting children to nature is important for their health and well-being. But what I found to be the most powerful message in this book is the idea that a deep connection with nature can give us a profound sense of identity and connection within our local communities and - it follows - within the cosmos. Chapters 4 and 5, in particular, make the case for focusing on your family’s specific place in the world, observing and being in it, telling stories about this place, about and of your own ancestors and of the people who came before your ancestors. This kind of natural, child-eyed exploration of place, self and culture nurtures the innate connection kids have to nature - because our connection to ourselves and our humanity is what nature is. By understanding nature, we understand ourselves and our bigger purpose. This may be obvious to some people but I’d never really thought about it before. On a more practical level, going local is the easiest way to delve into the great outdoors - better to get to know your local forest rather than wait for the day you can snorkel some distant reef. The fact that this book is also filled with plenty of tips and tricks beyond tackling these philosophical questions is a big bonus, of course. The chapter about wandering and sit-spotting was particularly useful, giving me the idea to start my kids nature journaling and organizing their sticks, stones and flower “collections”onto a nature table for further study (instead of just tossing them out when they aren’t looking.) Since I have young kids who still have that wondering reaction to being in nature, this book actually made me realize that it’s more about me encouraging and participating in this stage rather than trying to organize some big projects. I actually found myself taking notes with this book because the author mentions so many other books and resources that piqued my interest - from picture books for the kids to nature clubs. Very inspiring. The author is a good writer and passionate. He is obviously an academic as well - sometimes the writing is a bit weighed down with references to studies and research that back up his claims. The first chapter in particular, which sets out to prove why getting your kids into nature is so important kind of dragged for me. I don’t really need to be convinced. But all in all, it’s hard to complain about the author wanting to support his claims with real evidence and science - better than being too vague and making broad, unsupported claims. Just be prepared that this book is a bit academic and serious - it’s not like a glorified Pinterest list or whatever. There are no sidebars or illustrations. Also, the structure is a bit strange - it took me a while to realize that each chapter had a kind of mini summary at the end. I kept thinking I’d lost my place and was re-reading something by accident. Overall I found this book both practical and profound.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lilith Day

    I will sadly admit, my girls are not around nature much. I grew up mostly indoors and have little exposure to nature where we live. As I was looking for a place to get started, this was the perfect book. The first thing I liked was it was not written in a judgemental way. It covered many important ways to get started without having to much background information. I also liked how some of the ideas can be used both in a city and nature areas. I think my favorite idea was for a sit spot. (You will I will sadly admit, my girls are not around nature much. I grew up mostly indoors and have little exposure to nature where we live. As I was looking for a place to get started, this was the perfect book. The first thing I liked was it was not written in a judgemental way. It covered many important ways to get started without having to much background information. I also liked how some of the ideas can be used both in a city and nature areas. I think my favorite idea was for a sit spot. (You will have to read the book to find out more :) I was also a fan of how this book set up a guide to questioning children. I do this naturally, but I did learn one more trick I will be adding so this was great for me. While this book is the perfect book for the beginner, I felt that the author went a little too deep into his passion of evolution. While I know this is important, I felt this book may not have been the best place to bring up the topic. For me, I would have rather more tips and tricks to connect with nature. Overall, great read. I am very happy to have read it. As a beginner, I finally have a place to get started. I know some questions to ask and plan on getting more books to expand my knowledge. This is the perfect beginner book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine and were in no way influenced by outside sources. For more information, feel free to visit me at LittleLadyPlays

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I can't recommend this book enough, whether you just gave birth to your first child, or your youngest just started high school. The "nature deficit" is very real and our kids are the ones who have it the worst. There is a ton of practical advice in the book, as well as powerful and inspiring stories showcasing how things can be different if we fall in love with nature. I really enjoyed the writing as well, it was engaging and emotive, pulling me in and giving me something to invest in. This book I can't recommend this book enough, whether you just gave birth to your first child, or your youngest just started high school. The "nature deficit" is very real and our kids are the ones who have it the worst. There is a ton of practical advice in the book, as well as powerful and inspiring stories showcasing how things can be different if we fall in love with nature. I really enjoyed the writing as well, it was engaging and emotive, pulling me in and giving me something to invest in. This book is going to change the way I parent. I've always valued unrestricted play outdoors for my kids, and this kicks it up a notch. The author made a believer out of me.

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