Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

by Richard Louv
4.3 45

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Overview

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression.

Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind.

Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they're right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development—physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Yet sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time, of course, but it's also our fears of traffic, strangers, even virus-carrying mosquitoes—fears the media exploit—that keep children indoors. Meanwhile, schools assign more and more homework, and there is less and less access to natural areas.

Parents have the power to ensure that their daughter or son will not be the "last child in the woods," and this book is the first step toward that nature-child reunion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781565123915
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 04/15/2005
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.28(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.23(d)

About the Author

Richard Louv is a journalist and the author of seven books about the connections between family, nature, and community. His most recent book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, has been translated into nine languages and published in thirteen countries. Louv is the chairman and cofounder of the Children and Nature Network (www.childrenandnature.org) and was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society, in 2008. Find him online at www.richardlouv.com.

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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great! Having grown up in such a nature loving family, I find it extremely important that children are exposed to nature as much as possible. I'm really glad I didn't attend the college that the reviewer below me teaches at. I stopped reading the review after "I think Obama is the greatest President of my lifetime thus far."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hugely influential to me in my parenting journey. I loved it. It is dense, but very beautifully written for nonfiction. Everyone with kids needs to read this book for an eye-opening realization of the importance of nature in a child's life and the scary implications of the diminution of nature in American society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have said to myself, friends and family for years that our children are living a life to distant from the natural world. This book not only discusses the subject but provides research into the consequences to our children who grow up in a man-made world. I recommend this book to all parents and to anyone interested in the environment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a child, I recall fishing, hiking and riding our horses through the woods. It added so much flavor and richness to our lives that I couldn't imagine not passing it on to our own children. Building memories with our children in the outdoors and teaching them the beauty of playing outside has helped shape them into healthier and happier people. I was thrilled that Richard Louv wrote this book! His interview on NPR convinced me even more that he is sincere in wanting to help generations of children and their parents to see how nature can serve to enrich our lives. Chrissy K. McVay - author of 'Souls of the North Wind'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everything that the author informs us about through this brilliant book is true! Just thinking about how rare ADD, depression in children, etc. was when I was a child (whose parents MADE me play outside often!) is amazing compared to today's kids. Very insightful, helpful, and important information. I recommed this book to ALL parents and anyone remotely interested in outdoor activities!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Louv compellingly explains the trend that many of us have noticed without quite articulating it. It's a fascinating look at how our culture and our children have changed, and what this means to us. He explains what we're losing, why and why it matters. But he has solutions and optimism and a faith that if parents know that they can gain and the research supporting outdoor play, they will get them hiking and roaming and exploring. As an example, he says, let your kid play in the woods, just give him a cell phone. Not a bad solution for our fearful, high-tech times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an educator, I would like the above professor to please post the university he/she work at soI can advise students not to attend such a biased narrow minded place. I LOVED the book! Any educated person can see how it relates to modern society.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The calmness of nature is a key to our human well being.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This topic is fascinating to me, but I simply could not make it through this book. It wasn't very well organized, and was very hard to follow. I got the feeling the same info could have been organized and condensed into a book half the size. I recommend it for the subject matter, but not for style.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this age of over-indulgence, a child's every whim can be commercially satisfied. Meanwhile, our youth's connection to the natural world has become over-structured and minimal at best. This book brings to light the dire situation,as well as, hope- filled alternatives. A must read for parents, teachers, grandparents, and anyone who cares about a child!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is SUCH a good book for any parent or even people who love the outdoors. The statistics of America's future generations are apalling. It's definately a wake up call. Every now and then you here this blurb about 'oh, your kid probably watches to much TV, this is why it's not good for them....' or 'oh yep, child obesity, it's a problem...' but Richard Louv hits the nail right on the head with this book. I'm addicted to it. I'm in love with this book. Kids are obese and bored for a reason. They play video games for a reason, its an escape. Escape outside, together, do your kids a world of a favor, give them memories of you, let them know that there is something better out there. Right outside your back door.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be many things - a call to attention, a warning, an explanation, and a prescription for a problem affecting many in today's world. The implications for children are tremendous and any parent, educator, or other person working directly with the public (especially the young) will benefit from the core message of the book: it is time to go back to nature. So, put down that electronic game, turn off that computer, grab the kids and GO OUTSIDE! Play in the mud, hunt for bugs, build fortresses, learn the names of what's growing near your home. Parents and children alike will feel better, think better, and be better for it - all the better for tomorrow's world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent and highly readable book, a modern classic in the movement toward restoring nature education and experience for our children. The Nook Book copy was easy to read while I was working out at the gym several times a week and gave me lots of ideas about what I might do as an individual and as a grandparent to help get children back in contact with nature. After finishing it I bought three hard copies (one for me, one for my church library, one for my son) plus another book by Richard Louv. I recommend this book to anyone who cares about our future as a nation and as a species.
photoart1 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for parents and all educators. Our children think that the world is big video game. It is time to get them outside where they can learn an grow. This book is a great help to those that want to really educate children.
teachtome More than 1 year ago
I was very pleased with book and service. The book was purchased for a gift and do not have feed back on content but it was highly recommended to me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Last Child in the Woods is extremely inspirational, and as a young adult myself, this book motivated me to get out of the house and into the forest. The book covers many different points on the controversy of being out in nature unsupervised and free. It also covers the mental, emotional, and social healing capabilities nature offers, especially learning disabilities like ADHD and ADD. I enjoyed how the author used personal examples to back up scientific researches and statistics. How the book was organized lead me effortlessly into the next chapters with startling and fascinating factoids. Richard Louv wrote this in a captivating and interesting style, and I was unable to put the book down. It made me realize that we as modern day citizens, adults and children alike, have been so dramatically affected by electronics and drawn to their alluring lights, we just don't realize it. As Louv quotes, we have moved from "loving streams to loving screens." Last Child in the Woods points out this may very well not be an evolutionary leap. When you read this book, you will gasp out loud, or nod in agreement, for all the facts stated throughout the text are astonishing. I particularly found the effects a nature free environment had on people very interesting, including stress, depression, and in a sense, claustrophobia. Reading this book awoke the wild thing that's in all of us. This book is not just about children. I recommend this book to parents, book clubs, teenagers, environmentalists, and especially those who feel like they are missing out on life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an inspirational, motivational, and informational book that should be required reading for all reguardless if your going to be around children or not. Adults and children will benefit from knowing that nature can reduce the severity of mental/behavioral problems. I beleive we all have this voice inside of us that crys out for nature (I hear it everyday)but some never seem to listen to it or are so busy they can't hear it. Richard Louv points this out very clearly. This book can open your eyes to the peace that nature can bring to you if you only are still enough to listen. Our family has traveled to many National Parks across the United States and have seen the beauty and awesomeness. You feel the peace when your there and we often recall those memories of the hikes we took almost daily and it helps us to make it through the everyday hum-drum. Loaded with unbelievable statistics that makes you stop and think why we have continued on this path of destruction of our sanity. Children and adults have become prisoners to the technology of today and for what reason? Entertainment? Closeness with others? Peace? It's nothing but time consuming and creates more loneliness. The resources in the back of the book are great, I've checked out nearly all of them. Great Information. Come on people...let's jump on that band wagon and make a difference. I'm a homeschool mom and this was one of the major reasons we decided to homeschool...so we could be outdoors more and not so confined and imprisoned by the ever growing need to think we have to be tested, compared to others, and restricted. This book will surely change the way I teach next year. I plan on using this book as a cirriculm option. And also plan on reading many of the books Richard Louv had recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book rang so true for me. I enjoyed how it stired childhood memories while validating what i feel as a mom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books for personal discovery I am aware of. Louv brings a truly missing link to adult life. 
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Loved it. While things may not be as dire as the author depicts them, it is not far off. My kids are encouraged (forced) to play outside as much as possible with very limited digital interactions. I highly recommend this book for any parent, educator, or just anyone.
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