The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook


The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook

NAAEE is proud to be a partner in a national coalition to help lawmakers advance legislation that get kids outside to learn and thrive. The recently launched Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook shares bipartisan policy initiatives and resources to support statewide efforts to increase youth education and engagement in the outdoors.

Lawmakers across the U.S. are increasingly aware that playing and learning outdoors is critical for children’s health, well-being, and academic success. They also recognize that children’s connection to the natural world is tied to the future of their states’ outdoor economies and natural resources. The playbook shares bipartisan policy initiatives and resources to support statewide efforts to increase youth engagement in the outdoors.

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook’s policy and investment recommendations reflect the understanding that community well-being, social and environmental justice, and health of the natural world are inextricably linked. Connecting youth to regular, high-quality outdoor learning experiences and environmental education has proven benefits for public health, education, workforce development, youth leadership development, economic development, and conservation. 

The Playbook is designed to share the knowledge and experience of outdoor engagement and education champions to drive new, innovative ideas. Playbook users will benefit from:

  • A framework of guiding principles for effective policy initiatives
  • Expertly curated research that helps make the case for youth outdoor engagement
  • A library of successful and emerging policy initiatives that connect kids with nature and support environmental education
  • Opportunities for cross sector leaders to connect.  

The Playbook was designed by a national coalition that includes the Children & Nature Network, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, North American Association for Environmental Education, Outdoor Alliance for Kids, and Meridian Institute. We encourage you to share insights that you gain from resources in the Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook by tagging @TheNAAEE and using at least one of the following hashtags:

  • #youthoutdoorpolicy
  • #vote4kidsoutside
  • #optoutside
  • #rethinkoutside

Looking for something to post with it? Consider posting about eeWORKS to share evidence that shows the positive influence of environmental education:


Dear Sarah,

Congratulations on the Youth Outdoor Play Policy Playbook. Both the coalition and content are so important and can hopefully make a real difference for children. The policy of my granddaughter Emma's pre-school was to go outside every day, rain or shine and she just loved it. Now in Kindergarten at a very good public school in Connecticut, the school day is more structured and cross-sectoral outdoor play is more limited. Learning to live in harmony and to understand the natural world is key for all of our children. Thanks so much for sharing this important work. I look forward to using the Playbook in my work.