Today, a question…

Today, we want to tap into the amazing experience and philosophies of the many moms and dads who send their kids outside everyday (and who read this blog).  So we’re asking a simple question.  We hope you’ll take the time to answer it, and ask your friends to stop by our site and answer it too!  Tomorrow, we’ll post the results…

There’s three methods by which you can answer this question:

1)  If you’re friends with us on facebook (, you can pop on over there and answer the survey question we’ve posted.

2)  You can leave your answer, with any additional comments you’d like to add, in the comments section below.

3)  You can go here, and fill in the bubble.


So here’s the question:

Is experiencing the natural world important to a child’s development?

In your opinion, which is more important to a child’s well-being:  Being Outside, wherever that may be, or Being Outside in the ‘Natural World’?

  • Just being outside is what’s important.  It doesn’t matter if it’s at a concrete skate park or at a trail head in the mountains just so long as the kids are outside and active.
  • Being outside is important, sure…but it isn’t enough.  Children need to experience nature.
  • Neither is really necessary—a child can develop just as healthily when they spend the majority of their time indoors.


Looking forward to your thoughts!



7 Comments so far

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  1. We pick the first one. We go out into the natural world as often as possible, because we think it is important in many ways. However, we cannot always make it out into the wilds, and will often play in our yard, on the driveway, at the zoo, the playground, wherever we can get to be outside. The benefit to places like the zoo, playgrounds, parks, etc. is that they are more accessible to to some of our friends who may not be as adventurous as us with there kiddos, and generally there are many more social opportunities at those urban outdoors locations. Ideally we would go hiking and/or camping all the time with friends who have children as well, but for us (two full-time jobs) it’s hard to plan for that. You gave us an idea for a new post. This weekend we had to move out of our house so we can have all our wood floors refinished, then next weekend we have to move back in. We still found time for outdoors and social fun, but they were definitely more urban due to our time constraints. Our daughter was still able to be outside, be with friends, and contact a lot of great learning opportunities.

  2. I feel like I need to explain my comment. I chose number one. Mostly I did this because I think if kids are outside, they will gravitate to nature. I think so many parents get bogged down with teaching the kids something everytime they’re outside that the kids just end up staying in the house. Just turn them loose – they’ll probably experience cooler things on their own than we could show them sometimes.

  3. Great point BTK! We totally agree. Active engagement doesn’t require lesson plans and elaborate tasks lists…it just requires fun :-)

  4. Becky

    I read a book many years back, nearly 20 now, called “Good Housekeeping” I think. There is one thought in the book that I have gone over in my mind many times since then. The main woman in the story, a little strange by others reckoning, lived with her doors and windows open pretty much all the time weather permitting. She talked about her home being a continuation of nature – of the out of doors. Our home is like that – wide open whenever possible. Why? So we can always feel a breeze, unexpected guests are regular visitors, it is never quiet for bird songs. Why do I mention this in answer of this question? I guess it comes to mind because I think it is most important to just feel a part of more than four walls however you manage to accomplish it. If, even in our most native environment, our own homes, we don’t lock nature out, then a multitude of outdoor environments feel more open to our exploration. You’ve got to let the wind mess our hair up first before you’ll want to chase it up a mountain and back down again.

    • Becky,
      My goodness what a poet you are! I’m going home to open my windows right now, just based on your description of the wind! You are so right on, too. Letting nature invade our inside lives is a great way to narrow the gap between our indoor and outdoor selves–to remind us of how we and nature are connected. Walls and windows make it to easy to forget about that other place… opening a window is such a simple way to get a little bit of nature every day!

  5. Wow great question and comments. I did the online poll and picked #2. I live at the base of the San Juan Mts here in SW Colorado. It’s a town of 800 people with very little to do besides go out into nature. That being said it’s AMAZING to me how many families here have never taken their kids into the mountains. It’s a 15 min drive to a remote wilderness trailhead to hike or xc ski, a 1/2 hour bike ride to secluded bike trail, a 10 min walk to the Uncompaghre river where bald eagles hang out all winter. Even here parents get stuck in the rut of thinking it’s enough to just let the kids play in the fenced backyard, the park, or their friend’s house. I would encourage families to get out into “true nature” as much as they can.

    • Jen,
      You live in such an amazing place, and I’m so happy to hear that you and your kids take advantage of it, and don’t take it for granted. I’m sure someday your kids will appreciate the upbringing they’re being provided. Best of luck encouraging others in your neighborhood to take advantage of the incredible natural opportunities that come with living in a place like that!


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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