DInsects: The Animals That Rule the World

When it comes to learning about nature, one type of critter that young naturalists will not have trouble finding are insects. Insects are the most numerous of all life forms on earth. Which is why it's especially important that your child get to know them!

 

Decoding Birds

To the budding naturalist, paying attention to the daily behaviors of birds is one of their first and most vital lessons— and an excellent investment of time. Decoding some of a bird's everyday behaviors will help your child see the outdoors in a new and exciting way.

 

Nature Journaling for the Mini Naturalist

Nature journaling is hailed by many nature educators as an ideal way to help the outdoors come to life for your child, sometimes for the first time. Learn why and how to start here!

Nature Beneath the Surface: Sampling Soil

One of the richest habitats on Earth is right under our noses (and feet!). Five to 10 tons of animal life can live in an acre of soil. Help your child explore this hidden world of critters with our new soil sampling activity!
Learning about what lives in the soil is a great way for a child to engage with and learn about nature.

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The Importance of Being a Butterfly

Beloved by children and adults alike, butterflies make our world come to life. But they also play a crucial role in a healthy ecosystem. Making it not only fun but also vital that our children get to know them.

The Best Tree ID Apps

Like many of you, we've used some of the most popular nature ID apps from time to time, with mixed results So we decided to write a piece about our results after putting a few tree ID apps to the test. Can an app really give an accurate ID or are old-fashioned field guides and knowledge better? Learn what we discovered in our latest post!.

We've put together this "bucket list" of nature-based summer activities for the whole family to take part in . These activities are sure to leave you with precious memories, not to mention a range of other benefits for your kids (and you) to be outside.
Our hand-selected roundup of US nature-based, rugged camps that are sure to bring out the wild in your child.
Follow our tips below to unleash your child’s inner lepidopterist (person who studies butterflies) and soon enough they will be identifying Long-tailed Blues, Red Lacewings and Orange Sulphurs (of course depending on where you live in the world!).
Sadly, many children’s childhood memories will be made indoors, away from nature, and dominated by screen time. It’s easy to point fingers at parents who are “allowing” this to happen. But, we’re all trying our best. And with some tips or tricks (as we like to call them) you can transform your reluctant nature kid into a full-fledged wild child. Here's how to turn the toughest indoor kid into a nature lover.
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6 Magnificent Reasons for Kids to Appreciate Trees

 

The truth is we don’t pay much attention to trees. Chances are, neither do our children. But they should. Besides keeping us and our planet alive, trees offer so many amazing benefits to us and to kids, with more benefits uncovered all of the time. Here are just a few.

Make a Tree Smile (or Snarl)

Help your child see trees in a new way by letting them imagine a tree's face. Made from mud and simple natural objects found in nature, tree mud faces can be made by kids of any age (adults too) and can range from very simple expressions to works of art.

Become a Tree Friend

Befriending a tree is a great way for your child to learn about one of the most important living things on this planet— and one that is likely just outside their door. By becoming a friend to a tree, your child can learn not only about the vital role of trees, but they will develop an appreciation for these dependable but dynamic organisms. Visiting their tree year-round and noticing how it changes from season to season, will also help them tune into local ecology as well.
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Lavishing our Attention on Leaves: Leaf ID Journaling

Help your child discover the fascinating role and world of leaves by encouraging them to start a leaf identification journal. This is a great way for your child to take notice of leaves, identify trees in your area, or place you visit, make scientific observations about a leaf’s environment and condition.

How to Determine the Age of a Tree

There are so many reasons to appreciate trees and many ways to show appreciation including befriending one, photographing them, decorating them with a mask, to taking a forest bath. Here, we introduce a simple way to learn more about a tree by discovering its age without (gasp) cutting it down to count the tree rings.

 

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Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Kids

Earth Day is always an excellent time to help kids focus on nature and the importance of a healthy relationship with the Earth. This year's theme "Restore Our Earth" is an important one, considering the state of our planet. While the global pandemic has made gathering in large groups for community park clean-ups or school garden pollinator plantings unlikely in your area, there are many meaningful ways to celebrate Earth Day with your child. Here are a few.

Being Mindful in Nature

One way to help children cope with the stress of their lives is actually a gift they can use throughout life—mindfulness. And one of the best places to practice mindfulness: in nature.

Let’s Go on Spring Bloom Hunt!

We're rounded up a gallery of common spring beauties– blooming flowers we hope you will explore with your children this season.
Plus, be sure to download and print our Spring Blossoms Scavenger Hunt so your child can keep track of the many different types of blooms they see this season!

Head out on a Hanami and Stop & Smell the Flowers

Teach your children a lesson from cultures such as the Japanese culture, where spring blossoms are celebrated with the traditional custom of Hanami, which means ‘flower viewing.’ Choose an arboretum, local park, a walk around the neighborhood but this time, don’t walk past the flowers but be intentional about absorbing the beauty of spring blossoms.

All We Need is Love (for Bees)

Tthe heavy lifters of pollination, pollinating a third of our crops and 90% of all flowering plants. And yet a glimpse of them makes us jump and run. We’re talking about bees. And rather than run from them, we need to show them some appreciation and some love.
 

Why Your Yard Needs More Caterpillars

They're fat, colorful, and full of carotenoids. And they may just be the key critter that your #yard needs to boost its biodiversity. Yes, we’re talking caterpillars. Learn why they are such a key species in the ecosystem. This one comes with a BONUS— a FREE field notes download! 

Your Child, Nature Poet

When we take our children outside, we need to help them absorb it like a sponge, soaking it in, so they can take the benefits of nature with them wherever they are. One way that we love to soak in nature with our kids is through nature poetry. 

Is a Nature-Based School Right for Your Child

Not all nature-based schools are the same. The degree of nature your child may be getting in a nature-based school varies based on the school and its approach.
To help you decide if a nature-based school is a good fit for your family, get to know the facts on the state of nature-based schools.

 

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Our Favorite Family Winter Activities

If yours is an outdoor family, you know that when the temperature drops, the fun really starts. Winter is the serious nature lover's season for getting outside. Tis the season for enjoying family winter activities together.

 

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12 Myths About Kids and the Outdoors

As more research piles up to help us understand the vital role of nature in childhood, there are still many popular misconceptions about the outdoors and its role in a child's life. Here, we round up some of those myths and hope to set the record straight.

 

Guide to the Growing World of Nature-Based Learning

The nature-based or outdoor learning movement is growing. But not all outdoor education is the same. Our guide helps you know the difference between a nature preschool, forest school, forest kindergarten, outdoor school, outdoor program, green school, place-based school, or nature school so you can make the best decision for your child.

How to Go Owling

Owls are one of our absolute favorite parts of nature. They represent the wild and mysterious. And let’s face it. They are utterly stunning creatures.
Winter is actually an excellent time to head out owling, or looking for owls. Our latest post rounds up the what, where, why and how to finding these spectacular creatures with your family!
 

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The Importance of Being Alone— in Nature

Why kids need the time and space to be alone in nature and how to give it to them.

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A Study in Snowflakes

They fall from the sky, capturing our awe— snowflakes. These tiny, beautiful shapes are gifts from the sky that are pure magic to a child. And they have a lot to teach a child. The next time you see flakes in the sky, help your child understand the what, why, and how of these symmetrical shapes with this guide. Then, head out on a snowflake hunt (with our tips below) to learn more hands-on!
 

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Why Your Child Needs to Play in Nature

Nature can calm a child, bring out their creativity, lift their mood. Nature play helps them develop more social skills, be more balanced and more fit. But in today’s society in which viruses are at the forefront of our minds, do you know what else nature play can do? Boost a child’s immune system.

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How to Be a Winter Detective

A less active landscape means more effort is needed to find clues from nature. Just like a detective uses all of their senses to gather clues, good sensory detection is also a skill that any naturalist needs. So put on your nature detective hat as we head outside & explore winter's natural landscape together!

12 Ways to Bring Nature to Your Family This Year

The new year is an ideal time to take stock of how we are living our lives, evaluate our intentions and our actions. It's also the perfect time to give your family a nature makeover. Here are 12 ways to make 2021 your most nature-filled year yet!

Have Yourself a Nature Filled Holiday

If your family’s holiday traditions could use a little less materialism and a little more inspiration from nature, try out these alternatives to celebrating the season—and nature.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids Inspired by Nature

There are no smartphones, video games or other devices on this list. Sharing our favorite gift ideas for kids who love the nature and the outdoors, or whose parents hope to inspire them to love the outdoors and nature.

Nature-Inspired Gifts for Educators

Whether your child's teacher is an off the beaten path hiker or considers glamping too rugged, an end of year gift that helps them bring nature to students is a win for everyone.
Here are a few last-minute nature-inspired ideas to help get more nature in your child's school day.

7 Ways Winter Play Helps Your Child

Winter play can offer your child a bunch of benefits that summer play can’t compare to. As long as you are smart about winter play by watching the weather conditions carefully and dressing your child properly, your child can have a blast in the cold.

 

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Winter Nature Mini-Guide

Our new Winter Nature Mini-Guide is a great way to start your child on their naturalist training. Includes fascinating facts on the specialized adaptions of #winter #wildlife and nature as well as activity sheets for hands-on learning! FREE, fun download!

 

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How to Dress Your Kid for Winter Play

The difference between a day of fun in the winter and a day of whining is all in the outdoor gear. And though winter clothing shopping can seem overwhelming, we created this guide to help you make the right choices.

 

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Our ULTIMATE Nature Book List

These nature books for adults and kids alike will hopefully educate, inspire and share excellent ideas for getting more nature into your child's life. The carefully-chosen books for kids included in the list focus on the beauty and wonder of nature and can help young children develop an understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

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We’re Going on a Mushroom Hunt

To help your child discover the phenomenal world of fungi, head out on a mushroom hunt together. You don’t even have to forage or harvest the fungi. You can simply discover this hidden world together, make close observations and capture the magnificent mushroom with sketches and photography.

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There’s Something About Fungi

Once your child begins to learn about the fascinating world of fungi, they will be hooked. Amazingly diverse, seamlessly adapted and continually surprising us as we learn more about them there's just something about fungi.

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Build a Better Bat House

Bats are struggling with survival because many of their natural roosting places are being damaged and destroyed. This makes it harder for them to find food to eat, raise pups, and survive. One way that your family can give bats a little edge back is by providing a bat house or houses on your property.

5 Item or Less Nature Crafts

Exploring nature through art and crafts is an excellent way for a child to develop an appreciation for the natural world—and have fun while doing it! Here are our favorite 10 nature craft projects using 5 items or less.

The Best Toy You Can’t Buy

Imagine a toy that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Is not wasteful and does not pose a threat to the planet. Versatile. Plentiful. An endless source of creative play. Loved by children and dogs alike.
A toy marketer’s dream except for one detail: it’s free. So free that it does actually grow on trees. We’re talking about the stick of course.

Exploring Nature with Children: Secrets of Clouds

Much like kids, clouds never stay still. They’re in a state of perpetual motion and transformation, changing from one form to another. Helping your child explore this form of nature is a great way to help them focus on the natural world, make connections within it and feel connected to it themselves.

Loose Parts Creatures & Dioramas

Help your child get in the habit of noticing nature's gifts by heading out on a loose parts gathering session. Then, take it all inside, and let them work their magic as they create fantasy creatures and, even a diorama for the creatures to live in..

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Urban Naturalist Bootcamp

There is a world hiding in plain sight in our cities. Help your child discover it with our "Urban Naturalist Bootcamp." Includes tips to identify habitats, species and develop sensory skills. Plus, free activity sheets to take along!

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Tips for a Phenomenal Family Fall Hike

Crisp air. A palette of gorgeous colors surrounding you. And busy critters, giving us our last glimpses until spring. Fall is an ideal time to head outdoors with your kids. What better way to experience nature in this season than a hike in this season of stunning visual change.

It's our Fall Nature Activity Mini Guide!

We're celebrating our favorite season with a free download of our first mini-guide to fall nature activities for kids! We've included a few of our favorite fall activities to help your child settle into the season and become just a little more of a natural history expert along the way.

The Beauty of Ephemeral Nature Art

As beautiful as a wall montage of your child's landscapes, bird portraits and flower close-ups can be, an accessible, expressive, beautiful and completely non-messy form of art to do with your child is ephemeral art.

Make a Moss Terrarium

If you and your child are ready to explore the magical world of moss, creating a moss terrarium is an excellent project for learning and exploring together.

Green space is good for our kids. We know it instinctively as parents. But what of the other soothing color we see #outdoors? What about blue space? Learn if blue space is just as good for our kids, or if we're better off staying green.

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With plans afoot, NOW is the time to ensure that your child's school takes advantage of one of the safest spaces for learning during the pandemic—the outdoors. We've gathered these resources to help your school start the process of repurposing the outdoors as a learning space.
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Summertime is here! The ideal time to update your child's library with books about nature. This list of carefully-chosen books for kids of all ages focuses on the beauty and wonder of nature and can help young children develop an understanding and appreciation of the natural world.
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Ponds are sensory discovery zones. Our guide to pond exploration will allow your child's imagination to run wild as you explore this fascinating ecosystem together. Enjoy these ideas for having fun exploring nature at a pond! With free scavenger hunt printable.

Outdoor Daddy: Blogs We Just Have to Share

 

Dads have great ideas and impressive outdoor skills to share with kids, both their own and others! Here is our list of the Outdoor Dad blogs that we love.
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Why Kids Need to be Learning Outside

As we move towards a slow and gradual reopening of society after Covid19 restrictions, we are getting a sense that “back to school” will look very different this year. While many school districts will undoubtedly focus on keeping kids confined and controlled by limiting their space, classes, and movement, there are some glimmers of hope from around the world. Some education leaders are taking learning in the opposite direction, giving kids more space by taking learning outside.

Fashion a Fairy House

What could be more enchanting than a fairyhouse tucked away in the corner of a garden? Or in the nook of a tree? They’re adorable. They’re magical. And creating them is a creative way for a child to spend (endless) time outdoors. Why & how to start building one with your child, NEW in our Activity Finder!

How Much Time in Nature Does a Kid Really Need?

To help you figure out the proper daily dose of nature for your child, we dug into the most recent and widely-circulated studies to come up with this roundup of the recommendations for "just right" nature time each day.

How to Make a Journey Stick

A journey stick is a great activity to do with kids as it helps them focus on their surroundings, learn about nature, keeps them busy, and results in a wonderful handmade (free), customized souvenir from their trip.

Listening to the Sounds of Silence

Too often, when we’re outside, we rely too heavily on our eyes and lower the volume on the other senses— like sound. This quick, 15-minute “sound of nature” activity will help your child discover a whole new world, be more mindful and more tuned in to nature.

Going on a Bug Hunt

With their numbers in serious decline worldwide, insects are in serious trouble. It’s more important than ever to encourage your child’s interest in insects. And since they are adapted to live in virtually all habitats: land, in water and in air and all continents including Antarctica, finding them and studying them is one of the easiest nearby nature activities you can do together!

Homeschooling? It’s Time for a Field Trip!

As challenging as our situation is right now, we can use the opportunity to get more natural history into your child’s education. And one of the best ways to show kids how fascinating natural history is through field trips. These rich educational experiences are free, easily accessible and social distancing approved!

Nature + Social Distancing. Perfect Together

Living through a global pandemic that restricts our social interactions and even requires quarantining is no fun for any of us, especially kids. Under this new and evolving condition, many parents are wondering how to keep their kids healthy and happy during this time. We have an elegant solution for them: nature (yes, you probably knew that ahead of time).

Nature-Approved Screentime

Nothing beats the great outdoors. But if your family is having some indoor time, don’t dismay. Your kids can still get a nature fix of sorts. These excellent resources can help kids learn about the natural world. 

Top FREE Nature-Based Learning Curriculums for Schools and Homeschools

We scoured the web, looking at some of our favorite wildlife and nature-based organization to come up with this list for you of nature-based learning curriculum for schools and homeschools! From citizen-science projects, outdoor explorations, activities, lesson plans, toolkits, you'll find many creative resources to help jumpstart nature-based education for your kids or students.

Becoming a Micronature-ist

Micronature is simply digestible nature, or nature in small enough doses to take in and to study. By observing micronature, your child can actually try to notice every detail of a natural area as it's small enough to explore and analyze. Micronature is an excellent way for your child to “claim” a little piece of the outdoors, get to know it intimately through observation and repeat visits.

Tips for Hosting ScreenFree, Outdoor Playdates

When they’re brimming with screens, playdates can’t help kids polish their social skills. And they certainly can’t help kids reap the rewards of outdoor playtime. Here are a few strategies you can try to keep screens out of playdates—and get the kids outside.

Why Your Child Should Try Nature Photography

Observing and photographing nature is an enriching hobby that helps your child observe and learn in nature. To be a good nature photographer, your child will have to learn how to be a "quiet observer," practicing patience and bodily control as they look for signs of how wildlife uses habitat for food, water, cover, a place to raise young. This is an excellent way for any child to experience tuning into the natural world and connecting with nature.
As parents, we want to get nature back into childhood but just how much nature is needed to benefit kids?
To help you figure out the proper daily dose of nature for your child, we dug into the most recent and widely-circulated studies to come up with this roundup of the recommendations for "just right" nature time each day.