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Getting Lost in the Great Indoors
Washington Post ^ | Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Donna St. George

Posted on 06/20/2007 3:00:42 PM PDT by fgoodwin

Linda Pelzman appreciates the beauty of the outdoor world, sometimes pulling her children into the yard to gaze at a full moon or peer into a dense fog. An educator and founder of a summer camp, she only wishes her enthusiasm was fully shared.

"Kids don't think about going outside like they used to, and unless there is some scheduled activity, I don't think they know what to do outdoors anymore," Pelzman said.

"I'm not saying that a child who grows up without nature is going to have terrible problems," Louv said, "but if you look at the studies that show what nature does give kids, it's unfortunate that so many children are missing out on that."

Experts suggest a major factor in the decline of outdoor time is parental fears about leaving children unattended -- aggravated by excessive media coverage of horrific crimes.

Changes in family life have also had an influence: more mothers in the workforce, more structured playtime, more organized sports. Fewer hours are left for kids to slip out the back door and play hide-and-seek, catch fireflies, skip stones, create imaginary worlds around makeshift forts.

"The kids are all physically active in sports, but when they come home, it's inside time," Paula Hefner said.

That changed two months ago, when Paul started hiking with his Boy Scout troop and his parents noticed how much he liked it. Mom and son decided to start hiking in the nearby national park every Monday, when Paul's school lets out early.

"I like seeing the falls and stuff," Paul said.

Paula said, "It's a great time, not just for the green time" but also for the time together.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Education; Health/Medicine; Outdoors; Society
KEYWORDS: agoraphobia; louv; naturedeficit; playtime; richardlouv

1 posted on 06/20/2007 3:00:48 PM PDT by fgoodwin
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