Featured Editorial

10 Activities to Start Building Your Family’s Nature Habit

Thinking back to a decade ago when our family decided to relocate from our quiet suburban neighborhood to a historic farmhouse-style home in the mountains, I'm filled with gratitude. Spending time enjoying nature has provided us physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Surrounded by scenic sights while inhaling fresh air in the great outdoors helps to instantly refresh my state of mind. There is no surprise to discover how spending time outdoors in nature can boost your mood helping you to feel more at ease. Sunlight and fresh air while keeping active, help increase our serotonin levels bring us to feel more at peace. In general, making time to get out to enjoy nature can be both physically and mentally beneficial, while also reducing a significant amount of stress from our day-to-day lives. Sandi Schwartz, award-winning environmental author and freelance journalist specializes in sharing the joys of nature, sustainability, home and garden, and green living. With great vision she states, "I want to help your family build a nature habit to feel happier and calmer. I believe that happy, calm children turn into happy, healthy, kind, passionate adults that will lead to a kinder, safer world for all of us."  As our Featured Contributor, Sandi has created a collection of ten activities to start building your family's nature habit.

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10 Activities to Start Building Your Family’s Nature Habit
Sandi Schwartz, Featured Contributor, Mom and Author

Passionate about nature and the environment. In my book, Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer, families will find many fun, hands-on nature-loving activities to enjoy together. Filled with colorful images and activity checklists, the book offers a comprehensive toolkit of nature-based stress reduction tools for families with school-aged children. Topics addressed include awe and gratitude, mindfulness, creative arts, outdoor play, travel and adventure, volunteering, food, and animals. Here is a sampling of activities for you to try with your young learners-

- Visit nature-filled spots that will help your children be more mindful, such as forests, hiking trails, beaches, waterfalls, and botanical gardens.

- Test out a variety of natural scents by either purchasing essential oils, sprays, and other products or searching for the scents outside in your neighborhood or in a local park.

- Stock up on essential nature play tools like shovels, rakes, hoes, buckets, collection boxes, binoculars, a compass, a magnifying glass, a flashlight, tweezers, bug cages, and nets.

- Go on a family nature walk; look for a StoryWalk program in your community.

- Try new types of green exercise as a family, such as orienteering, paddleboarding, and mountain biking.

- Go for a walk and ask your children to point out beautiful nature scenes. Take pictures during your adventure and then have your kids either draw or paint what they saw or put together a collage of the photos.

- Take art projects outdoors such as sidewalk chalk or bring an easel out in your backyard or on the balcony so they can paint.

- Take your children birdwatching or sign them up for a children’s birdwatching club near you. You can find birds at public gardens, nature centers, local parks, and zoos; near bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and oceans; and even in your own backyard.

- Start a family garden in your backyard. If you do not have the space for a garden, consider starting slow by growing a few herbs on your windowsill or one vegetable at a time in a large flowerpot.

- Visit a u-pick farm or shop at a farmer’s market for fresh produce.

Are you looking for more relaxing nature activities for your family? Check out Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer and Sky's Search for Ecohappiness by Sandi Schwartz. 

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