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How do you grow an environmentalist? If we want kids to care about preserving the natural world, should we teach them about the destruction of the rainforest or about endangered species dying off?
Research, and possibly your own personal experience, agree on the same answer — no!
One of the very best ways to help kids grow into adults who care about the environment is not to scare them or depress them, but to allow them to love nature. And the best way to do that is to give them free, unrestricted play time in nature.
Think back to your childhood. Do you have treasured memories of playing outside? What did you like to do?
Alan Kirk and others in Los Alamos used to carve tracks for their Matchbox cars into the tuff. Others had BB gun wars in the canyons and caves.
Right now there’s a group of kids who have their own society in one of the canyons in Los Alamos, with houses, jobs, a currency and more.
People who grew up back east might remember playing in streams, catching tadpoles and watching them grow into frogs, or decorating mud cakes with ferns.
Those who grew up on the coasts probably have lots of memories of building with sand and collecting and creating with shells.
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