Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors

A trailblazing environmental educator raised his children in the heart of nature. His story shows other parents how they can counter today’s pervasive “nature deficit.”

Updated from the first edition with new chapters, foreword, and an epilogue

When David Sobel’s children, Tara and Eli, were toddlers, he set out to integrate a wide range of nature experiences into their family life, play, and storytelling. Blending his passion as a parent with his professional expertise, he created adventures tailored to their developmental stages: cultivating empathy with animals in early childhood, exploring the woods in middle childhood, and devising rites of passage in adolescence.

Wild Play is Sobel’s vivid and moving memoir of their journey and an inspiring guide for all parents who seek to help their children bond with the natural world. Through this family’s experiences, we observe how free play in nature hones a sense of wonder, provides healthy challenges, and nurtures earth stewardship. “Parents need to support kids’ access to independent outdoor play,” says Sobel. “Of course they should use judgment, but the benefits outweigh the risks.”

Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods identified the urgent problem of “nature deficit” in today’s children, sounding the alarm for parents, educators, and policy- makers. Wild Play is a hopeful response, offering families myriad ways to blaze their own trails.

Praise for the work of David Sobel

“The power of nature in children’s lives is inextricably linked to the power of story, and David Sobel, one of the pioneering voices in the children and nature movement, is a born storyteller. Wild Play is an invaluable, eloquent, and heartfelt contribution to the movement, and most of all to children and those who love them.”

Richard Louv, author ofLast Child in the Woods:
Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder

About the Author

David Sobel with friends. Photograph by Eamon Ward

David Sobel is senior faculty in the Education Department of Antioch New England University in Keene, New Hampshire. He consults and speaks widely on environmental education and child development and is the author of seven other books, including Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens: The Handbook for Outdoor Learning, Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators, Place-based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities, and Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education. He has also written many articles about children and nature that have appeared in Orion, Encounter, Sierra, Sanctuary, Wondertime, Green Teacher, and other publications. He has served on the editorial boards of Encounter, Orion, and Community Works Journal, for which he writes a regular column. Sobel was identified as one of the “gurus and rock stars of environmental education” in a feature article in Teacher magazine and as one of the 2007 Daring Dozen educational leaders by Edutopia magazine. He lives in Harrisville, New Hampshire, and has two grown children.


Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Category: Parenting / Parent & Adult Child / Nature
ISBN: 978-0-9962676-9-4   Price: 19.95
Format: Trade Paperback    Page Count:  248
Photography by:
Available from:  Midpoint, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Parson Weems

BISACS: FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Parenting / Parent & Adult Child

The author is available for conferences and workshops.
Review copies available upon request.

Available wherever books are sold & via Midpoint Trade.