Review: Nature Play Books

walking in secret gardenGrowing up in rural Western Australia I was always playing in the bush, building cubby houses and riding my bike down dirt tracks.  Now I am a mother living in the city I have noticed that my children don’t have as much freedom or easy access to nature as what I had as a child.

I am not sure if it is because times have changed or this is just the way it has always been growing up in the city. Personally, I need my regular nature fix and I am happiest when I am outdoors.

Noticing the difference between my upbringing and my children’s upbringing it got me thinking about nature and how it affects children. I have read two books below which highlights just how beneficial it is to expose your children to nature on a regular basis.

Balanced and Barefoot

Balanced and Barefoot explains how unstructured play, freedom and nature play helps children grow up to be balanced and resilient adults.

I must admit I struggled with the first chapter as many of the statistics relate to American children. The figures blew me away and I am sure Australian children get outdoors a lot more as we have the weather for it, but I could be totally wrong! I mean I am noticing more and more how many children are on electronic devices when they are out and about. Instead, they should be noticing the world around them.

Balanced and Barefoot

After the first chapter, I found the book easy to read and very informative. It is interesting to learn that so many things children do naturally have a purpose. Like spinning helps stimulate the Vestibular System (balance) and walking on uneven surfaces like we find in nature helps to develop muscles.

The book is all about parents backing off and letting children play on their own. Let them use their imagination, invent games, challenge their body by climbing in a natural environment and reduce structured activities.

It is an easy read and the moral is to get your children into nature early to help children with their development. She believes unstructured play will help to grow stronger minds and bodies.

If you are interested in purchasing this book you can do so here or visit your local library and borrow a copy.

Last Child in the Woods

Richard Louv was inspired to write Last Child in the Woods after his ten-year-old son asked him “how come it was more fun when you were a kid?” It made him realise how there has been a shift with our relationship to the natural world. Generations before knew their local woods, creeks and fields. Many of today’s children would not have explored the woods in solitude.

Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the Woods is well researched and interviews people from all walks of life. Not only experts give their opinion in this book so do everyday people.

ADHD, obesity, anxiety are things that may be linked to not having enough time in nature. Creativity is also increased when you spend time in nature. The book raises lots of interesting points that will get you thinking about our connection to the great outdoors.

This book has been well researched and it highlights all the dangers regarding children, nature and education.

If you want a copy of this book you can buy it here and help save your child from nature deficit disorder.

Children need contact with nature. Get them unplugged and outdoors! Like mum always used to say “go outside and play.”

Can you recommend any books that highlight the importance of nature play? If so leave me a comment below.

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7 thoughts on “Review: Nature Play Books

  1. Like you I remember always being outdoors. I’m not sure what it is about our society where that has changed so markedly. Maybe our eternal busyness? Although that’s certainly no excuse.


  2. I don’t know of any books about this subject but I’m a firm believer in kids getting outdoors and down and dirty. We always encouraged our kids to play outdoors and like yourself we did a lot of camping adventures with our kids. There’s far too much indoor play and computer games for the kids of today. #TeamLovinLife


  3. I’m afraid I can’t offer up any books but I remember appreciating the notion of Pokemon Go when that craze appeared as it got people (kids) out and about so something interactive like that – that’s relevant for kids today, and their interests – would be wonderful. #teamlovinlife


  4. This is such an important topic Anne. We can’t have kids missing out on being in touch with the earth. We all need to spend more time outdoors and away from the cities. Just to sit on a rock and take it all in. I grew up in the country in the fifties, yet went on to spend a life working in IT. Now I feel as though I’m making up for lost time and I’m never happier than out in the bush in my favourite old jeans and a flanno, slopping about like an old bullfrog in the mud.


  5. I remember being outdoors a lot. Running through the bush (on my own). Being in a huge backyard even had its adventures. We try to get back to nature but it’s probably a little too structured and the city variety of nature rather than really getting down and dirty and woodsy. I hope my kids don’t have nature-deficit-disorder. Oh well, their old enough to do it on their own now. They do love being outdoors so I suppose that’s a good thing. Interesting topic …


  6. As a personal trainer who became interested in holistic health when my daughter developed chronic fatigue at 18, I think it’s fabulous that there are resources like these for kids! There are soooo many benefits to barefooting and being in nature 🙂


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