According to the Children’s Nature Network,* children are smarter, more
cooperative, happier and healthier when they have frequent and varied opportunities for free and unstructured play in the outdoors.
Those are convincing words for parents looking to fill long summer days with
enriching activities. Studies show that while our children may know words like ‘global warming’ and ‘deforestation’, very few have the personal experience needed to appreciate the natural world. Playing in nature can actually change the way a child thinks about himself and the world around him.
Since June is “Leave No Child Inside Month”, take time to explore the best Lake County has to offer by checking out one of our amazing Forest Preserves. If you’ve never visited the Lake County Forest Preserves, you are missing out! More than 29,300 acres of peaceful, natural settings make up the four main galleries district, with activities like horseback riding, biking, hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, bird watching, geocaching, stroller-pushing and more appealing to kids (and adults!) of all ages. Most preserves are free and open from 6:30 a.m. until sunset. For detailed information on activities and locations, including maps of biking/hiking trails in each of
the preserves, visit four main galleries.
Even if heading to the preserves is not your cup of tea, you can embrace the
outdoors this month in other ways:
- Invest $5 in a box of sidewalk chalk and help the kids create a whole new world just outside the front door.
- Make a “walking stick”: Find a long, thick stick, suitable for supporting hikers on their journey. Use it to collect “treasures” from nature hikes by attaching feathers, leaves and other cool finds with rubber bands.
- Tell your iPhone to take a hike! New apps like iBird make bird identification easy and interesting. Pocket Universe makes it possible to identify stars, planets and constellations in the night sky. And treasure hunters love, www.geocaching.com for the coordinates of sites throughout Lake County.
Nature exploration is brain food for children and refreshment for mom and dad. It is the opportunity to explore together the paths not taken. As William Shakespeare once said, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
How will you enjoy the outside this month?
Original Artwork by Hollie ChastainDisclosure: Some links provided in this story are affiliate links. A small percentage of purchases made through those links are earned and used to cover the expense of running the site. Thank you for clicking!