The National Wildlife Federation's GreenHour.org is a website devoted to giving parents and caregivers the information, tools, and inspiration they need to get their kids - and themselves - outside. The NWF recommends that parents give their kids a 'Green Hour' everyday - a time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world, which can take place in a garden, a backyard, the park down the street, or any place that provides safe and accessible green space where children can learn and play. With the same goal of offering families fun ways to explore nature, the book is a field guide to outdoor adventure - offering activities, fun facts, science lessons, and practical advice for engaging children in outdoor nature play that presents teachable moments and open-ended exploration of the natural world. Here are a range of starting points for nature-themed outdoor activities and explorations, beginning in your own backyard and progressively moving farther afield, all of them adaptable for children of different ages, abilities, and learning styles.
Todd Christopher is the director of Online Media for the Green Hour website and its award-winning publications. He and his family make a Green Hour part of their daily routine, and you often can find him on backyard adventures and hiking trails with his young son and daughter. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.