Family Nature Clubs Rock!

Here at Care2, we are excited to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. To extend the celebrations, we are calling this Earth Week, and you’ll find more blogs in honor of Mother Earth every day this week. Enjoy!

The statistics are sobering: kids today spend on average almost eight hours a day staring at their electronic screens, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation; one in three children is overweight, report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what’s a parent to do?

Start A Family Nature Club!

Around the country, more than 100 families have launched nature clubs, in which parents and kids band together to explore the outdoors.

From USA Today, Richard Louv, who started the Children & Nature Network precisely to promote such efforts, explains:

“When it’s just one family, the kids stick close to the parents and whine and complain,” he says. “But the minute several families get together, the kids are off on their own and playing hide-and-seek, independent of the parents.”

Chip Donahue, who started a family nature club in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley three years ago, says “there’s no sibling rivalry when they go outside. They were helping each other climb trees, looking at bugs together. We very quickly realized that outside was where they were happiest.”

Donahue’s group now leads an average of 20 nature outings a year into the Blue Ridge Mountains, with up to 120 participants from around the region. “It really does give them the feeling of being free in nature, with no parents watching you, even though there are 25 parents around,” Donahue says.

Childhood Memories Of Playing Outdoors Until The Streetlights Came On

Whenever I make presentations about my book, Get Out! 150 Easy Ways for Kids and Grown-Ups To Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future, I always begin by asking parents what they remember about their childhood. The answers (at least for those aged 35 or older) are almost always about playing outside, memories of a favorite outdoors hangout, and not coming home until dusk.

Recognizing that so few of today’s children are enjoying such experiences, parents and caregivers around the United States are forming Nature Clubs, and the kids are finding that the great outdoors is really fun!

 

Photo from iStock

38 comments

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K.5 years ago

If you wish to meet the creator just plant a garden at home or if this is not possible just go and visit one that he created for you to enjoy and care for.

om Joshi
om joshi5 years ago

Good idea and suggestions. It is not only TV but mobile spoil so much time of shildren and youth that they forget healthy activities. Video games keep children busy that they do not take care to do healthy activities.

Paul F.
Paul F.5 years ago

Promote your nature clubs and contribute to citizen science by sharing your nature sightings at www.junponline.com .Nature hikes are even more fun with kids when searching for nature's treasures.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Janet Shirley
Janet S.5 years ago

My mother would take all of children on hike trips through the forest public parks. This made life giving memories for all my brothers and sisters

Margaret K.
Margaret K.5 years ago

Children are much more agreeable when they are not bored and being out and about uses up their energy in positive ways. My grandchildren really enjoy going to the park or the zoo.

Kathleen O.
Kathleen O.5 years ago

As an adult, I admit I have a bad habit of spending a lot of time with addictive online games. But I am trying harder go out to look at the moon, bike, etc. It's kind of irregular right now but hopefully I'll get it better...and of course I walk my dogs and take care of outdoor pets--who are really happy and healthy! It's too bad it is so "untrustable" to be away from home when it starts getting dark...all the creeps.

Alex E.
Alex S.5 years ago

Voted yes :)

Dan Martin
Dan Martin5 years ago

thanks

Lynn Marie M.
Lynn Marie M.5 years ago

Thanks!