The importance of connecting children with nature is steadily gaining recognition nationally, and scientific studies are verifying the importance of this connection. Open outdoor play has been shown to have a variety of health benefits: improvements in physical and motor function, reduced ADD/ADHD symptoms, greater concentration and learning, reduced stress, and increased creative thought processing. By being outdoors, children develop an appreciation for the natural world and are more likely to exhibit long-term stewardship for the environment. Parents recognize that their own children will be more likely to pursue activities and new adventures when other children are present, and local, affordable activities make those new adventures easier to accomplish.
I am on a mission to get kids and families, mine and others, outdoors.
Naperville Family Nature Club
Join me on our monthly, informal, nature-based adventures. It’s a great opportunity for you and your children to meet new friends, get active, be outdoors, and re-wild our children.
During the nature club, parents are expected to remain with and supervise their children. Further, participation in outdoor activities involve risks (slipping for example), and so participants are expected to sign a waiver to acknowledge and assume risk and responsibility of their own person and their children.
Please be aware that registration/RSVP/sign up will close prior to the event, as early as a week prior to a day prior, depending on the location and activity. This allows me to plan supplies accordingly and limit size. Details about sign up will be included on the specific Facebook/Instagram event. No walk-ins or sign ups will be accepted the day of the activity. Thank you for your understanding.
Check my Facebook page for the latest events, which began January 2018.
Free Forest School of Chicagoland
I will be partnering with FFS of Chicagoland for weekly nature-outings at a regular meeting spot. Please follow Free Forest School of Chicagoland on Facebook to sign-up. We currently meet regularly on Monday, midday; see my Events and Services tab.
For more information on FFS, see https://www.freeforestschool.org/
Blog posts for our nature club:
Eyes to the sky: Information on observing the full moon
More information on nature therapy: http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/what-is-nature-therapy/
To learn more about the importance of nature for a child's development, please refer to the resources below:
Children's Nature Deficit: What we know - and don't know by Cheryl Charles and Richard Louv, found here: http://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/uploads/8/1/4/4/8144400/childrens_nature_deficit_disorder_2009.pdf
Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom
Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life by Richard Louv
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge) by Linda Åkeson McGurk
Neighborhood Greenness Has Long Term Positive Impact on Kids' Health by ScienceDaily https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081028074327.htm
Websites and Online Resources:
Children and Nature Network https://www.childrenandnature.org/ Our family nature club has a listing at this website
National Wildlife Federation https://kids.nwf.org/Kids.aspx
REI offers courses and events, many of which are family-friendly: https://www.rei.com/learn.html
Hike It Baby coordinates local, family-friendly hikes: https://hikeitbaby.com/
The Outdoor Classroom Project: http://outdoorclassroomproject.org/about/the-outdoor-classroom/
USDA's US Forest Service: National programs that reconnect children with nature: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/conservationeducation/programs/national-programs/?cid=stelprdb5107803
Chicago Junior Herp Society, for children of all ages: http://jrherpers.wixsite.com/chsjr
Free Forest School, with locations in Naperville and throughout Chicago: https://www.freeforestschool.org/
For a fun outdoor activity for all ages in all seasons, try geocaching: https://www.geocaching.com/play/search
Also consider making and taking kindness rocks: http://thekindnessrocksproject.com/