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How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature
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How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,533 ratings  ·  225 reviews
From the beloved host of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train, an easy-to-use guide for parents, teachers, and others looking to foster a strong connection between children and nature, complete with engaging activities, troubleshooting advice, and much more

American children spend four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors—90 percent less time than their parents did. Yet recent rese
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published March 17th 2015)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  1,533 ratings  ·  225 reviews

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Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Notes I took on the book are below, but basically the main point is: go outside, and take your kids with you. Benefits to an outdoor lifestyle range from brain development, health (both physical and mental), spiritual, sense of belonging in time and space, etc. There is no downside to spending time outside other than a larger pile of laundry to do when you get home.

How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson

Reasons for the movement indoors:
• Screens
• Parental fear (abduction, injury, etc.)
• Liti
Tom Quinn
May 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Dr. Scott, delightful dork of Dinosaur Train, is here to play Mr. Wizard to the newest generation of couch-potato kids (and their parents, too).

3 stars. Part nature memoir, part environmental treatise, part parenting guide. Little new in the way of suggestions, but the author's enthusiasm is catching.
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I ran into the same problem I come across in most parenting books- too much background information and scientific evidence, not enough practical advice. It feels like preaching to the choir when the author spends 90% of the book trying to convince me how important nature is. I already know. That's why I picked up this book!

I would recommend "There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom's Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids" instead of this book.
Melissa Haley
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
So first a disclaimer: I did not actually read every page of this book. I read several chapters and skimmed others, but I feel as though I did read enough to write a fair review.

Part of my reason for disliking this book is my own fault. I focused much more on the first part of the title ("How to Raise a Wild Child") than on the second part ("The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature"). I was searching for a book with practical lessons about how to introduce my kid(s) to nature, with per
Mrs. Europaea
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How To Raise A Wild Child is a very thorough, well-written piece that is a must read for any parent, caregiver or educator. Scott D. Sampson expresses beautifully how important having a nature mentor is for children in a highly driven technology-focused world. I can already hear the critics getting ready to balk at the thought of having to put down their smartphones, but wait-for-it... Sampson doesn't down-play the need for technology in this digital age we find ourselves in. Instead he pr ...more
Dec 15, 2014 marked it as to-read
Dude, I entered the giveaway for this back in December. How did I not notice that he is a dinosaur paleontologist and vice president of research and collections for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, as well as host of the PBS children’s series “Dinosaur Train”???

This is when I wish I loved closer to town. I'd never make it home and then back down here in time.

How to help kids fall in love with nature at the next 'Colorado Matters at the Tattered'
Amanda Mills
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: recycle-bin
I love parts of this book.

As a child development grad, nature educator, and mom to six, I agree wholeheartedly that free play is where connection happens. Experiences and environment shape us. I also agree that technology can be a valuable tool to connecting with nature, in moderation. Sampson rightly asserts that we don’t have to know it all but we do need to MODEL a love for nature and inquisitiveness in finding out. He describes how important it is not to lead or quiz but ask open questions t
Leslie Lindsay
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review...and while the book hasn't been "offically released"(it comes out Monday, March 24th 2015), it appears as if my five-star review falls slightly above where other reviews have placed it.

That said, if you read the reviews the others share, there *are* a few reasons why it may not exactly be 5-stars for you. It's a bit redundant. The author's daughter is a tree-hugger. All I can say is: big deal.

I happened
Ashley  Jacobson
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first half of this book was awesome! So much great insight into the importance of nature and how to raise a generation of kids who love and respect it. I agree that we need to better understand and have a connection to nature if it has a hope of survival in the future. I especially appreciated the tidbits about mentoring, as I think that is really best way to teach children.

BUT, you can stop reading at page 145. The last two sections are pretty much useless and a repeat of what has already
Sep 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
It all started when our daughter wouldn't stand on grass.

I - an urban, indoor kid - married an outdoorsy man who has fond memories of all kinds of outdoorsy things I'd only read about in books. We both really want to give our daughter a childhood that looks more like his, but I noticed that over the summer we tended to gravitate more toward things from my childhood - mom & me classes, errands, and air conditioning. I turned to this book hoping to find a way to bridge that gap.
The writing was a b
Rachael Kamm
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's hard for me to give stars for most nonfiction books because I usually have to slog through them, but this one was pretty good--I'd give it somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. While I didn't agree with everything Sampson had to say about raising a wild child (I am more traditional in how I approach education), I thought he did a great job of providing examples of ways to get kids out and about if you aren't necessarily a nature lover yourself, and also of discussing how to embrace technology ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book--and wonderfully written, too. I have had this topic in mind for a long time for my own kiddo, and this book enhanced and deepened my understanding of both why, and HOW, to "re-wild" our children in general, and help them develop a love for wild nature in all its forms--the galaxy, the planet, wild places, close-by places, our backyard. At about the half-way mark, I also realized that the advice given were in many ways ideas for me to reconnect with nature and wildness myse ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book had great potential. Sadly, it just repeated the same message in different ways. I gave up 3/4 of the way through. There are only so many ways that you can say “take your kids outside and encourage their natural curiousity.”
If I had a take away other than “just go outside” it would be this:
You do not have to be a nature expert to instill a love of nature in your children. Being curious with them is half the fun.
That’s about all I have to say about this book. Shall I do what the auth
Tiffany Freeman
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 moons for a book that speaks to one of my greatest passions. It has a lot of good suggestions for folks trying to make wild places a part of their family culture. I was reading this when I was diagnosed with cancer, so more than anything: it served as an assurance that I have done some good in my life thus far. (A comforting thought in a trying time.) Even though we have already incorporated many of these tactics in our family, I was still able to find new ideas we could use to get deeper into ...more
Angi Campbell
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m sure this book would be great for someone who lives in the city, but we have always implemented a way more rigorous nature connection with our kids than this book even touches on. So this is good for those who are nature-clueless but very basic and vanilla for people who are already into nature and an outdoor lifestyle.
Liz Strawser
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
There were parts that I really enjoyed, but I think the book would have been better if it were about 1/3 as long.
Kristen L
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While initially purchased as a parenting book, I quickly found that it applies to people beyond those dealing with parenthood. This book gives the outline for all those who love nature and how to pass that love down to subsequent generations, regardless of relation, as nature mentors.

Sampson gives research and applications throughout each chapter and I found myself taking a few tips and practicing them for personal gain.
Hillary Watson
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
We are big fans of Dr. Scott and Dinosaur Train in our house, so I was very excited to find that Dr. Scott wrote a book. This book inspired me to put a greater emphasis on outdoor play for my children. It also helped me realize how some of my biggest interests (gardening and native plants) can be used to my children's advantage. While some of the suggestions for incorporating nature into your life were too involved for me, he had plenty of simple suggestions that I feel I can implement. I'm exci ...more
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read a number of books about the importants of raising children with a connection to the natural word. This one is probably the best. Dr Scott (known to many parents and children from PBS’ Dinosaur Train) lays out the problems, gives actionable solutions then gives you reference if you want to do more reading on any particular idea. Well done.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Solid research, a good basic introduction to understand the importance of he natural world, ways to get kids interested, and the research explaining nature deficit disorder. I particularly liked the focus on attending, related to tv and screens. All children can attend, but engaging is more difficult now.
Alex Harker
Feb 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
I feel so inspired to play with my son outside at all times of year because of this book! This was a great mixture of science, research, and practical ideas for getting kids to love nature. The phases of childhood chapters were my favorite by far.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
So well researched! I definitely believe the need for this push, but it will push me outside my comfort zone to personally be out in nature more so that my kids will.
Ariel Jensen
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: family
Sadly DNF. Successful in its attempt to inspire outdoor play, but unsuccessful at being interesting. Slow & dry.
Adam Jones
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So insightful. Dr. Scott gives an very in-depth solution to a very real problem, not just in the United States, but in the rest of the world. Take the kids outside, find a sit spot and let them ask questions.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I usually avoid “parenting” books like the plague but I am interested in the topic, having two little kids in nature-centric Seattle, so I thought I’d give this a skim. Wow. I was not expecting to find this book so emotional and moving. Yes, the book is about making the case that connecting children to nature is important for their health and well-being. But what I found to be the most powerful message in this book is the idea that a deep connection with nature can give us a profound sense of id ...more
Lilith Day
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will sadly admit, my girls are not around nature much. I grew up mostly indoors and have little exposure to nature where we live. As I was looking for a place to get started, this was the perfect book.

The first thing I liked was it was not written in a judgemental way. It covered many important ways to get started without having to much background information.

I also liked how some of the ideas can be used both in a city and nature areas. I think my favorite idea was for a sit spot. (You will
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book enough, whether you just gave birth to your first child, or your youngest just started high school. The "nature deficit" is very real and our kids are the ones who have it the worst. There is a ton of practical advice in the book, as well as powerful and inspiring stories showcasing how things can be different if we fall in love with nature. I really enjoyed the writing as well, it was engaging and emotive, pulling me in and giving me something to invest in. This book ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
I was looking for a book to really encourage me to get my child into nature and practical ways to do so. While this book touches on that, it almost read like a textbook at times. I felt like it was written more for an educator than a parent. There was a lot of research and scientific information that I wasn't really interested in and not as many practical ideas as I had hoped. The major theme is how important it is to take your child out into nature and have them just explore and engage in it. I ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
I agree with pretty much everything Dr. Scott (from Dinosaur Train - my son is a fan!) says in this book. He is an outstanding advocate for children (and their parents) experiencing and falling in love with nature. If his ideas were implemented in our country, childhood and public education would both be transformed into richer experiences, I'm sure.

I just couldn't read it any longer. Unfortunately, it got repetitive and it sort of meandered. I heard the call from the many other books waiting i
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I found this to be a well-written book with very helpful strategies for raising children who thrive outdoors in nature. The author is, of course, an evolutionist, which informs his philosophy to a level that reaches devotion. Christian creationists like myself will find an interesting - and enjoyable - challenge thinking through the material from a truly biblical standpoint (e.g. not one the vilifies the natural world, as the author alleges). I'll be reaching for this title again as our family g ...more
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