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Now that summer is almost here, it’s time to get outside and enjoy nature!
But living in the city can make connecting with nature a challenge.
When you are surrounded by buildings, asphalt, crowds, cars, and the fast paced life, it can be hard to remember that nature is only a short distance away.
So many of us suffer from nature deficit disorder and we don’t even realize it!
The importance of nature in our life is obvious but so often overlooked. And the benefits of nature for children are especially well documented.
So how do we connect with nature and get our kids out in nature more often when so many of us are moving to big cities and finding time to get outdoors is harder because it’s not right outside our front doors?
It’s actually getting easier in some ways to find nature activities and find nature in the city.
Sometimes you just need to know where to look!
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Ways of Connecting with Nature in a City
Find mothernature in a park or recreation area near you.
Even if you aren’t living in nature, most cities try to preserve some of areas where people can reconnect with nature.
Most metropolitan areas have some type of park. Some cities even have open space areas which are left as natural habitat.
Even the gargantuan New York City has Central Park nestled snugly within it’s city streets.
You can do a quick search online to find your city’s parks and recreational areas to find some new places to be surrounded by nature.
Take a trip to your local zoo.
While the animals are not in their natural habitat, many of the zoos have created a place that is as close to nature as they can get for the individual animal.
Spending the day walking among wildlife can be like a small vacation for the busy city family.
Often they have volunteer positions available, which could lead to more time in the “wild”. This can be a great way for older kids to spend their summers fostering a real nature connection and learning about conservation.
Gardening, urban style, is yet another way to have a piece of nature in your daily life.
Planting specific bee friendly plants can also be a big way of helping nature in the city.
Even the smallest of spaces can be enough for potted plants and spices.
Go to your local gardening store and request information on what grows well in a small area or looks for events sponsored by your city about planting.
Some cities even have special incentives to help you, like free rain barrels for water collection!
The cost is minimal and the results are well worth it.
You could even expand to include a small flower garden as well.
Kids love to dig in the dirt and gardening can be a great way to introduce them to the joy of growing things and even teach them valuable skills including growing their own food.
Look for a nearby lake or river.
Many times ducks and geese will set up their homes in places that see a lot of visitors.
Depending on the area, you may see otters, beaver, squirrels and a variety of other small animals that call that type of environment their home.
Don’t forget your camera, as it may be the perfect opportunity to get some amazing shots!
Your family can enjoy being in nature and kids love looking for animals.
You might even be able to try out some water activities like fishing or kayaking. Just do a quick Google search for places to rent equipment and you’ll be all set!
Find a local planetarium.
Living in the city makes it difficult to view the beauty of a night sky.
Planetariums are the perfect way to get up close to nature via telescope, shows, etc.
How long has it been since you have seen a clear view of the sky? A visit can not only be entertaining, but very educational for you and the kids.
Looking at the stars helps us all realize how much more there is out there and that our relationship with nature goes far beyond just us.
Plan a camping trip.
Or why not plan a camping trip somewhere nearby?
There are lots of areas usually not far out of a city that can be great for camping where you’re surrounded by nature.
Not in to roughing it?
You can rent an RV for a weekend or reserve a cabin. It might just be the get away you’ve all been needing and really get your kids in nature.
You might even make it a new family tradition!
Find your nearest aquarium.
Aquariums are another option.
The rooms are often dim with the lighting focus being on the aquatic life you’ve come to see.
Most aquariums have a large variety of fish for your viewing.
Some of the larger places located in parts of the country even house sharks and other large animals!
Take a day trip.
No matter what city, state, or area of the world you live in, there are going to be places to enjoy nature within driving distance.
Plan a route on your map to include the sites you want to see most, pack a picnic lunch, and get away from it all for a few hours.
The possibilities are endless.
Find a forest school group.
If you’re serious about connecting your children and nature, this can be a great way to do it.
There are lots of forest school groups on Facebook and they will usually meet regularly. This is one of the best ways to get your children in nature consistently.
Children are the future and hope for the environment, but they can’t save what they don’t love, and they can’t love what they don’t know.
Helping them find that human connection with nature will create memories, impact their health and well-being, and build their confidence for years to come.
It might take a bit more effort and some imaginative planning, but it is possible to reconnect yourself and your kids with nature when you live in a big city.
Which one of these ideas will you be trying first? Don’t forget to pin for later!