A fantastic article encouraging kids (and their adults) to immerse themselves in nature, make mud pies, build forts, and climb trees. Nature can take it, and the love they develop for nature as a kid will foster environmentally friendly behaviors as an adult. Hands-off environmental studies programs may not do it… plus catching frogs is way more fun!
Herein lie my two main points. First, environmental educators need to allow children to be “untutored savages” for a while. Nature programs should invite children to make mud pies, climb trees, catch frogs, paint their faces with charcoal, get their hands dirty and their feet wet. They should be allowed to go off the trail and have fun. Second, environmental educators need to focus way more on hands-on experience with children and way less on systematic knowledge. Or at least understand that systematic knowledge can emerge organically from lots of hands-on experience. Between the ages of six and twelve, learning about nature is less important than simply getting children out into nature.