September 13, 2006

German children playing with fire!

Another article on the "nation(s) of wimps" theme, this one from Maclean's.

It's all working to keep kids from doing what they've done since humanity began: going outside into spaces where they can jump streams, climb trees, use sticks as swords, and do unjust things to ants and flies. According to a decade's worth of largely overlooked research, this free play is key to developing physical, mental and emotional skills -- such as self-reliance, risk-taking, altruism and delayed gratification -- that help children form into competent, functioning adults. "We seem to need to get our hands dirty and our feet wet from time to time," says Richard Louv, author of last year's landmark Last Child in the Woods, which compiled the mounting evidence supporting the need to reconnect kids to the outdoors. "We don't fully understand why that's necessary to our mental and physical health, but there does seem to be something there."

Hat tip: Cronaca.

UPDATE: A related piece from the BBC. Have we reached meme status yet?

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