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Nature Can Be as Engaging as Video Games — How to Help Kids Fall in Love With the Outdoors

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Growing up, Scott Sampson — the paleontologist and CEO of Science World in Vancouver, Canada — went on annual camping trips to the Rocky Mountains with his family. However, “this was not where I fell in love with nature,” he recalls in a TEDxLangleyED talk. “That happened close to home — looking for rocks in the backyard, playing kick-the-can in the neighborhood, bushwhacking in the local forest.” Sampson, who grew up in Vancouver, says, “I still remember my mother kicking me outside on a Saturday and telling me to come back in when the street lights came on. I’m pretty sure I remember hearing the door lock behind me as I walked away.”

Even though he knows it’s not possible for today’s children to have that freedom, he encourages parents to help kids fall in love with nature just like he did: through direct experience. He recommends three steps that we — along with the children in our lives — can take to connect with nature.

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Illustration by Justin Tran 

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