Here at Run Wild My Child, we don’t just encourage our boys to get outside. We want our daughters to have those same incredible experiences connecting with nature— wading through a muddy creek, collecting bugs, climbing trees, running through fields full of lightening bugs at dusk. We want to get girls outside and keep them there!
Inspiring our girls
The benefits of outside play are innumerable, and girls should have access to all of these advantages just like boys do. Children who spend time outdoors show better classroom performance, have longer attention spans, and show less aggression towards others. They develop better social skills and see a reduction in stress.There are even physical benefits beyond staying active and healthy, like an increase in vitamin D levels (which helps to prevent diabetes and heart disease and strengthen bones) and a reduction in myopia.
From studies done by organizations like the Girls Scouts and Girls on the Run, we also know that getting girls involved in outside activities results in a direct increase in confidence, connection, satisfaction, and environmental stewardship. And perhaps most importantly, it has been shown to directly encourage girls to participate in leadership roles.
But we need to do a better job of keeping our girls outside. As they grow up, female participation in sports and in outdoor fields drops off. Women are sorely missing from the outdoor workforce. They’re underrepresented in the forest services, biology careers, and in the environmental and sustainability field.
Seeing is Believing
That’s why we are so excited about the project from New Mirror Press that just launched on Kickstarter – Seeing Is Believing. They are offering beautiful personalized books that counter old-fashioned gender stereotypes and encourage children to pursue any path that they desire.
The strong visual images in the book are designed to help kids internalize the message that they can be anyone and do anything, and that includes inspiring girls to believe they could have a career in the many outdoor jobs that are currently dominated by men. The books feature your child’s own photo, incorporated into gorgeous watercolor artwork throughout the full-color pages. It’s more than just a storybook, it’s a beautiful keepsake that parents will treasure, with images sure to make children excited about reading!
Women are sorely missing from media and literature as strong figures in their own stories, and when little girls don’t see themselves in the picture, they can’t imagine the possibilities that are open to them. This book will bring to life all sorts of wonderful possibilities. Kids will see themselves flying through space as an astronaut, nursing patients back to health, or even running the country as the president!
Working through gender stereotypes
Gender stereotypes don’t just hurt girls. When little boys are told to “be a man,” they learn to ignore their emotions and to be stoic at all costs. That message is clear: do not care; do not cry; be tough. This robs our boys of the chance to develop deep and profound relationships. It prevents them from understanding and processing their feelings. It enforces toxic masculinity and encourages boys to solve their problems with physical violence. And it leaves boys who fall outside of traditionally male fields of interest (like athletics) to feel as if they are somehow less than.
Unlike many other personalized books, there is not one version for girls and a different version for boys. All children will receive the same book— same storyline, same colors, same message. The authors purposely used diverse careers that are often stratified by gender. This way boys and girls have a chance to see themselves in new and engaging ways. Just like girls need the opportunity to picture themselves as leaders or in STEM careers, boys need the ability to see themselves in nurturing/care-taking roles or working in the arts, allowing them to redefine what success and happiness can look like for a man.
Meet the team
The Seeing is Believing team consists of a mother and two sisters. Mom is the artist in the bunch. She creates in different mediums: paper, weavings, paintings. She brings the books to life in her studio in San Francisco. Altana has the mind for business, and she’s the one who’s figured out how to pull this project off. She signs contracts like a boss, and she also runs her own metalsmithing and jewelry design business in Oakland.
Cassandra is the one with the vision and the two cheeky small children who make every business meeting feel a little bit more like a playdate. She believe that life can be (and should) be beautiful, and she is passionate about leaving the world a better place. She’s also a very dear friend of mine from college and someone I greatly admire and respect. I’m so incredibly proud of her and this entire project!
Help fund this project
One of the biggest impediments to getting kids outside nowadays is finding a way to get them to put down their screens. This book is captivating enough to do that! It’s a perfect tool to engage children and families and help jump-start their imaginative play and drive them to outdoor adventures. Please check out the Seeing is Believing Kickstarter campaign and donate now to help bring these books to life!
You can donate without a reward, or choose from one of the multiple awesome packages. They’ve got everything: coloring pages, board books, classroom packages, personalized shirts and posters, early bird specials on the books, and party packs. There’s a level and an awesome reward for any amount you can give. They can’t do it without our support and this is a project worth funding!