Earth Rangers: Bringing Children Back to Nature

Many of us have treasured memories of
exploring the natural world as children and want
to share nature’s beauty with the children in our

But these days, children seem far removed from the
outdoors. In Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children
from Nature-Deficit Disorder, author Richard Louv tells
of the many barriers we face in bringing children back to
the wilds: extended hours of “screen time,” lack of physical
activity, and a general alienation from nature. While most
parents and educators acknowledge this situation, many are
confounded as to how to bring children back to nature. They
might think, “I’m not a naturalist. I don’t even know the
difference between a spruce and a pine tree!” They might
lament, “Even if I owned a compass, I wouldn’t know how to
use it.” They feel the urge to help children make a connection
with the natural world, but feel powerless to facilitate that
connection. Perhaps you feel the same? Luckily, you do not
have to be an accomplished naturalist or wilderness survival
expert in order to be the conduit for children’s discovery (or
rediscovery) of nature. All you need is sheer will and some
activities to awaken kids’ senses, minds and hearts.

The following activities by nature educator Joseph
Cornell are fun, engaging and easy to do, yet touch children
deeply. Parents, teachers, community leaders, and anyone
who lives, works or volunteers with children will find that
such activities can greatly enhance any outdoor adventure.

Science Topics
Biology, Ecology
Early Childhood, K-6, Middle School, Educator
Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade
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“Bringing Children Back to Nature”, by Janet Barlow

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