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Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom


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How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children.

In this important book, author Angela Hanscom shows how outdoor play and the unrestricted freedom of movement are vital for children’s cognitive and physical development and growth, and offers tons of fun, engaging ways to help ensure that kids grow into healthy, balanced, and resilient adults.

Today’s kids have adopted sedentary lifestyles filled with television, video games, and computer screens. But more and more, studies show that children need “rough and tumble” outdoor play in order to develop their sensory, motor, and executive functions. Disturbingly, a lack of movement has been shown to lead to a number of health and cognitive difficulties, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotion regulation and sensory processing issues, and aggressiveness at school recess break. So, how can you ensure your child is fully engaging their body, mind, and all of their senses? Using the same philosophy that lies at the heart of her popular TimberNook program—that nature is the ultimate sensory experience, and that psychological and physical health improves for children when they spend time outside on a regular basis—author Angela Hanscom offers several strategies to help your child thrive, even if you live in an urban environment.

“Balanced and Barefoot offers new ways to see, solve, and prevent the reactive behaviors and emotions that cause kids to struggle and parents to worry. Full of practical ways to give kids the kinds of experiences that will help them thrive, this book is a must-read for parents and teachers alike.”

—Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline

“Angela Hanscom explains—beautifully and convincingly—why unrestricted outdoor play is essential to children’s healthy sensory, motor, social, and intellectual development, and she shows how we can enable such play in today’s world. I recommend this book highly to all parents, educators, and pediatric health professionals, and to anyone involved in making decisions that affect children’s lives.”

—Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, and author of Free to Learn

Want to know more? Head to our Eco Explorers bush playgroup page and read our latest article "5 reasons why you should let your child go barefoot" here or join a bush playgroup near you. 


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  1. A fascinating and revelatory read

    Posted by Penny Rowe on 24th Apr 2017

    I loved reading this book, and it is already having an impact on my parenting. So well written, with an engaging style, lots of evidence to support the ideas, and lots of ideas for helping kids.