• 2010 Reading List

    What I've read this year:

    "The Other Queen" by Phillipa Gregory (Rating: C)

    "The Welsh Girl" by Peter Ho Davies (Rating: A)

    "Mistress of the Sun" by Sandra Gulland (Rating: A)

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the power of dirt!

I was over at imaginechildhood today, and saw a photo of this amazing fort. Those little men have been working hard creating their own little spot in the world!

In the spiderweb that is the world of blogging, imaginechildhood led me to another new (to me) discovery. Are you familiar with the Children & Nature Network? I was not, but have already added it to my list of favorites! This website offers ideas for connecting children with nature, and even has an interactive map which you can use to search for groups and/or events in your area. This is a great resource for those who are interested in encouraging contact with the natural world, but don’t know where to start, as well as for those who already have nature as a major component of play in their family.

S. catching anoles

S. catching anoles

Raised by two naturalists, I led a very nature-rich childhood. I was aware that not everyone had such a strong relationship with the natural world, but it seems as though with each passing year, the majority of children are spending less and less time playing with sticks, dirt, bugs, leaves, flowers, etc.

I can’t tell you the hours my friends & I racked up playing “Little House on the Prarie.” Of course, we always had to clarify that whoever was Mary that day was allowed to play her BEFORE she went blind. (Otherwise, that person would get tired of keeping her eyes closed, and be ready to stop before everyone else!)  We would collect leaves, mud, flowers, etc., and create “soups.” We would stay in the woods for hours, running, playing, pretending, and loving every minute of it.

And did I mention that we were 11 years old? It is now the norm for 11 year olds to have a cell phone, to text continually thoroughout the day, and to spend hours in front of computers, televisions, and gaming systems. How did that happen?

I guess how it happened isn’t as important as “how do we change it?” Obviously, we start within our own family. But is that enough? We need to reach out to those families that don’t have the ability or desire to encourage their children to love being outside more than playing video games. Those of us who were raised in nature-loving families will pass it along to our children.

Last summer's beach trip

Last summer's beach trip

I remember working with children from inner city New Orleans when I was in high school, through the group Inner City Outings. We would take them 45 minutes outside of the city, into the beautiful, lush swamp. We let them fish, draw pictures of what they saw, climb trees, and be kids. For many, it was the first trip they took outside of the city. I remember one child being shocked, and actually uncomfortable, with the fact that there was no concrete. These are the kids we need to reach. Our local Sierra Club does not have an ICO group…maybe it is time to start one.

If you are looking for something to warm your heart, take a look at the slideshow of images from ICO trips. You will NEVER see a child smile so brightly when seated infront of a video game!


One Response

  1. Beautiful! I love getting the kids outdoors for a hike in the woods. Letting them just be, playing, unstructured. Ahhh…heaven!

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