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Everyday Kids Parenting Seasonal

Top 3 Ways for Families to Celebrate Nature

FamilyFun magazine (, a trusted, go-to source for travel recommendations and family activities for more than 20 years, has released a special “Get Outdoors” themed issue and has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation on great ideas to help families spend more time in nature. The “Let’s Get Outdoors!” feature story appears in the June/July issue of the magazine, on newsstands June 5 includes dozens of ideas ranging from mapping the neighborhood’s natural wonders to going on a photo safari.

“When kids are in touch with nature, the whole world wins, since nature-loving children grow up with a greater sense of environmental responsibility,” said Ann Hallock, Editor-in-chief, FamilyFun magazine. “The ideas we’ve included in our June/July issue are designed to engage, inspire, and entertain our kids – and make them healthier and happier.”

“NWF research shows that 78% of moms want their kids to get outside more often,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, Vice President, Strategic Alliances & Special Events at the National Wildlife Federation. “Studies show time spent in green spaces reduces stress; encourages cooperation and compassion; and helps children focus on schoolwork, think creatively, and score higher on school tests.”

Top 3 Ways for Families to Celebrate Nature:

1) Throw a Backyard Campout


Even if only steps away from the comforts of home, camping immerses familes in nature like nothing else. That’s the thinking behind the NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout on June 22. To participate, simply register and make it a family affair. Invite friends to join, camp with a scout troop, class, or town, or see if a group campout nearby is already registered on NWF’s website. (And if June 22 doesn’t work out, register for another date.)

2) Turn the Yard into a Fun Zone

FamilyFun recommends setting up play areas in the front or side yard and hosting a gathering so that both neighborhood kids and their parents can get comfortable with your yard. Encourage a variety of activities – offer something to climb on like a swing set; a flat, paved surface for bikes; a place to relax with comfortable seating, like a hammock; and a private play space, such as a fort or pop-up tent. Finally, set up an outdoors arts-and-crafts station with a plastic table and chairs, a whiteboard and markers, and a waterproof bin for materials such as sidewalk chalk or cardboard and glue for nature collages.

3) Share Your Outdoor Observations

The scientists who study nature need our help and it’s easier than ever for families to connect with them. Websites and apps such as (search “wildlife watch”),, and the free app Project Noah get kids and parents started on fun outdoor projects such as counting butterflies, mapping mushrooms, reporting on the condition of local streams, and more.

For more fun ideas on how to celebrate nature as a family and get kids moving outdoors, check out the June/July issue ofFamilyFun magazine in print or on the iPad, or visit

FamilyFun readers with their own unique ideas for getting their families out in nature can share and win! Go and click on the “Get Outdoors” tab to submit an idea. Each of nine winning entries will receive a prize package of gear from the National Wildlife Federation and could be featured in a future issue of FamilyFun.

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