DNR Reconnecting Children and Nature
Top ten reasons to be concerned
1. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 years spend an average of nearly 6.5 hours a day
with electronic media - Rideout, V. and Hamel, E. (2006). The Media Family: Electronic
Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Their Parent. Kaiser Family
Foundation. (Note: Remember this was published in 2006 think of how much bigger
Facebook, iPhones and iPads have become since then)
2. Children under 13 spend only 30 minutes per week in unstructured play time outdoors –
Sandra Hofferth and J. Sandberg (1999), Changes in American Children’s Time, 1981-1997,
University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
3. In one generation, the percentage of people who reported that the outdoors was the most
influential environment of their childhood dropped from 96% to 46%. – Rachel Sebba (1991).
The Landscapes of Childhood – The Reflection of Childhood’s Environment in Adult
Memories and in Children’s Attitudes, Environment and Behavior, Vol 23:4
4. Children who play outside in natural settings are less likely to suffer obesity and less likely to
contract diabetes. - Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2007. CDC funds
registries for childhood diabetes. Press Release from CDC/ National Center for Chronic
Disease Prevention & Health Promotion.
5. Studies have shown that stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces. Even a
view of nature helps reduce stress in highly stressed children. Children with these views also
demonstrate increased attentional capacity - Wells, N.M. & Evens, G.W. (2003). Nearby
nature: A buffer of life stress among rural children. Environment and Behavior (32) 6, pp775-
6. Children who have regular opportunities for free/unstructured play in the out-of-doors
demonstrate greater levels of creativity, cooperation, conflict resolution and leadership. -
American Institutes for Research, (2005). Effects of Outdoor Education Programs for
Children in California. Submitted to the California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA
7. Students who play and learn in outdoor settings perform better on tests, have higher grade
point averages (GPAs) and cause fewer classroom disruptions. - Chawla, L & Escalante, M.
Student (2007). Gains from Place-Based Education. University of Colorado at Denver and
8. Ninety percent of active adult outdoor participants were introduced to outdoor activities
between ages of 5 -18. Outdoor Industry Foundation (2004), Exploring the Active Lifestyle
9. A positive experience in nature was a significant factor for those who choose to be active
conservation stewards. Louise Chawla (2006) Learning to love the Natural World Enough to
10. People who are active in outdoor recreation tend to be happier than those who are not.
USDHHS (2002), Physical Activity and Fitness: Improving Health, Fitness, and Quality of Life
through daily physical activity. Prevention Report, U.S. Department of Health and Human