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Publisher's Summary

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 J. Hanscom offers several strategies to help your child thrive, even if you live in an urban environment.

With this book, you'll discover little things you can do anytime, anywhere to help your kids achieve the movement they need to be happy and healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

©2016 Angela J. Hanscom (P)2016 Tantor

What listeners say about Balanced and Barefoot

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Good information, challenging to listen to as it refers to itself often.

This book is full of important information. However listening to it in audio format was a challenging experience. I also recommend checking out books by people referenced in barefoot and balanced, especially Peter Gray.

4 people found this helpful

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Poorly-Researched, Poorly-Narrated

Anecdotal evidence is the basis of most of the author's sweeping conclusions. At best, tiny sample sizes. The dogma and poor reasoning of this book is revealed halfway through when the author romanticizes the playground equipment of the 80's, She describes horrific injuries suffered by children on that antiquated equipment, and then attributes the ensuing safety improvements to "litigation" rather than a reasonable intent to prevent those injuries.
Worst of all, the narrator is stilted and robotic.

3 people found this helpful

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Game Changer

I feel like this book is a game changer. I wish I could get all of my parent friends to listen to it.

3 people found this helpful

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One sided

This book is an encouragement for parents to have children play in natural landscapes, yes this is important. Children benefit from these activities by learning problem solving, physical well-being, communication strategies and self confidence. Although as a reader I am left to question how these practices can be instilled in families where outdoor natural play is not available. Consideration needs to be voiced for families who live in an area where safety is a concern, or natural play habitats are not present. The author made clear that artificial play environments will not meet the needs of Unrestricted Outdoor Play therefor what are the outlets for families who are not middle and upper middle-class. This book is great for families of resources, but does not provide alternatives for families without means, transportation, safety in their neighborhood and so forth.

4 people found this helpful

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A very good book!

I really enjoyed this book. It really supports the way I treat my kids in my school.

1 person found this helpful

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Very informative

I couldn’t stop listening to this book! It was filled with so much good information, studies, and ideas for getting out more with kids and the benefits! 100% recommend!

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Read while pregnant!

I wish I read this book while I was pregnant. As much as it talks about older kids and toddlers, it also has great information on newborns and babies❤️

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Hope and practical steps to getting outside

The content of Balanced and Barefoot provided hope for an alternative to our tech-filled lives. Filled with practical steps to prioritizing outdoor time, Angela makes this task approachable and doable.

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A must listen for every care giver

Absolutely loved this book as encouragement for our parenting journey. My husband and I listened to it together. Rebecca Mitchell did an amazing job narrating, but really wish Angela J. Hanscom would have after listening to her passion on the subject during a podcast.

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Nature Play Expert and Advocate

The book has a combination of research, data, opinions, and tips and suggestions that advocate for nature play from an Occupational Therapist, Mother, and founder of an outdoor forest school. I recommend the book for Elementary teachers and administrators — as well as advocates for OPAL - Outdoor Play And Learning.

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  • LD
  • 03-09-20

Robotic

Great book and information that has positively affected how I parent but it sounds like it’s being read by a robot!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 09-07-21

Highly repetitive

I saw this book recommended on a number of blogs and websites so had reasonably high expectations that it would provide some interesting information, reference specific scientific studies, offer practical suggestions, etc. Unfortunately, instead I found the book disorganised, highly repetitive, condescending, and many of the "practical" suggestions completely unrealistic for the vast majority of people.

Disorganised- the author likes to talk about a topic, throw in an unrelated point, go back to the previous topic, switch to a different topic, then add another point or two about the earlier topic.

Highly repetitive- she makes the same points over and over (and over and over) again throughout the book. I'm not talking about giving different examples that demonstrate the same principle in multiple ways; she just repeats the same words again and again.

Condescending- obviously there are times that an author will need to explain a technical term to make it more accessible to the average reader, but this author takes it to the extreme and explains EVERYTHING. For example, she felt it necessary to explain that the "flight" in fight or flight means run away. The tone throughout the whole book often made me feel like she thought her readers were complete idiots. This is made worse by the horrible, almost robotic narrator (I found reducing the playback speed slightly made it marginally more tolerable).

Many of the "practical suggestions" were things like if you are struggling to find time to let your kids play outside, try playing outside after school or on the weekends… gosh, I never would have thought of that on my own. The suggestions that weren't completely obvious were often completely impractical. After going on at length about how many schools and cities have removed merry go rounds because they are deemed too dangerous and fear being sued if a child got hurt she suggests building your own using tutorials from the internet. Or in the chapter about schools she states that children in urban schools can get out just as often as children in rural areas because they can walk to the local opera house… really? Time and time again she makes the assumption that everyone has ready access to huge gardens/yards and wooden areas where children have licence to roam free/build forts/etc. (often not the case in public spaces, national parks, etc.)

I wouldn't recommend wasting your time with this book.

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  • Justyna A
  • 05-26-21

Informative and practical

Must read for all modern parents. Time have changed and as much as we remember how much we enjoyed the freedoms of our own childhood we don't really think about the impact the lack of such freedoms have on the kids of today. This book will change the way you look at your kids.

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  • Gary
  • 04-06-21

Recommend!

Loved it! Enlightening look into alternative ways for kids to grow and learn. Every parent should read this!

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  • Nathaniel Colquhoun-Butler
  • 02-20-19

a must read for any human

seriously vital information in an age of poor connection with nature and the outside world

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-26-20

excellent well needed read for parents

I make custom training equipment and I resonate with many of these points. kids today need a challenge and chance to grow, explore and develop. the world we live in isn't worse than it was decades ago. I can only hope to give my daughter the same experience and better than I had. thank you #endlessengineering

1 person found this helpful

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  • Josie
  • 09-14-20

Audio voice is awful

This sounds like it is being read by a computer. It is really hard to listen to. It is too fast, so I slowed it down, still awful. I am only part way through the book, and don’t know if I can force myself to listen to this. The material is ok so far, a bit too many personal observations rather than science so far, but we will see. Might have to buy the kindle book to find out the rest.
If you want this book, get the kindle version, Do Not Get The Audiobook!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-21-20

Buy the paperback

This book was full of interesting points, mostly aimed at parents or teachers who aren’t already immersed in the world of open ended, outdoor play, and the like. As someone who has already done some reading in this area, and is a firm believer in letting kids be kids, playing outside, simplifying childhood, etc. the contents of the book was kind of just reiterating what I already know to be true. If you were just beginning to dapple in this area, I would recommend reading this book as an entrance point. I would not recommend listening to this audio recording though. The reader sounded robotic and I had to double check I didn’t have my timing on 1.5x or something as it sounded unnaturally fast. It made it somewhat painful to listen to and took me many months to work through an otherwise good book. In retrospect, I would have much rather spent the extra money and got the book in paperback (or better yet, just borrowed it from somewhere - as I don’t think this is a book I would read again any time soon).

1 person found this helpful

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  • Romana
  • 03-28-22

Great facts and lots of information

feel very encouraged by all the facts and research to keep my parenting style and even add some of the suggestion. Great read. lots of information.