New American Girl Doll Encourages Healthy, Outdoor Play

Filed under: In The News

Meet Lanie, American Girl's 2010 Girl of the Year Doll. Credit: American Girl

On January 1, American Girl will debut Lanie, its blond-haired, hazel-eyed 2010 Girl of the Year doll. Lanie Holland, who will be available for one year only, will launch with a collection of clothing and accessories, along with the books "Lanie" and "Lanie's Real Adventures." The books will introduce 10-year-old Lanie, who loves wildlife and the outdoors.

Lanie was created to help encourage girls and their families to spend more time outdoors and connect with nature, regardless of where they live. Inspired by a visiting aunt, Lanie learns to connect with nature through everyday experiences -- growing a garden, bird-watching, camping in her backyard, and creating a butterfly habitat -- and discovers that there's a wide, wonderful world right outside her door.

Studies like the 2009 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report show that kids are spending less and less time outside, while related research has linked the amount of time children spend outdoors with conditions that affect physical, mental, and emotional health.In his book "Last Child in the Woods," author Richard Louv coined the term "nature-deficit disorder" to describe what happens to young people who become disconnected from the natural world. Louv faults the amount of time spent indoors plugged into electronic media and links this lack of time spent outdoors to rising levels of childhood obesity, attention deficit disorders, and depression.

American Girl designed Lanie precisely to help reverse the negative effects of these alarming trends, and has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in support of the organization's Be Out There campaign, which connects families to the outdoors in an effort to help them raise healthier, happier kids and encourage a lifelong appreciation of nature. American Girl has also worked with NWF to develop free classroom curriculum materials for grades 3 to 5, which can be downloaded from the 2010 Girl of the Year Web site starting January 1.

To celebrate Lanie's arrival, American Girl stores will host special launch events on January 1 and throughout the weekend, which include books signings, craft activities, the announcement of Lanie's Backyard Photo Contest, and more.

Do you think nature-themed dolls and toys inspire your kids to spend more time outdoors?

Related: Combat Nature-Deficit Disorder In Kids

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.