Starting a Family Nature Club is a fun way for families to connect and find new ways to explore in nature. When families share the responsibility of finding places to go, programs to try out and events to attend, they can spend more time enjoying being outside together and less time indoors trying to figure out what to do.
How to get started. First, you and your family need to decide that spending time playing, exploring and learning in nature has a value. All families face being bomb-barded with competing needs and daily demands. By acknowledging that being outside is import to your family's health and wellbeing, you are making the commitment to carve out the time for it.
Second, download the Children & Nature Network’s Family Nature Club Tool Kit and book mark the Nature Rocks Texas website in your area. The tool kit will help walk you through some of the questions to ask other families, safety tips and step-by-step instructions for getting started. Nature Rocks Texas is a network of websites created by Texas Children in Nature and their partners to give families an on-line tool to find all the green spaces and nature-based activities in their area.
Third, ask a few of your friends or family members to start doing planned activities in nature together. You and the other families can set a calendar of events that gives each family the opportunity to plan something fun. Start with doing something once or twice a month for just one to two hours a time. As you build your comfort level and outdoor skills you can work your way up to longer outings and eventually even overnight campouts.
The Texas Children in Nature Network is fully dedicated to supporting Family Nature Clubs. Reach out to the TCiN community partners and see how they might be able to help you and your family have a great time in the outdoors.
It’s basically that easy! Now here are a few tips on how to make it even easier.
- Think about the nature that is near-by your neighborhood, then start expanding out from there for each adventure. NatureRocksTexas can help you find the green spaces in your area.
- Use the Outdoor Activity of the Month to plan your monthly outing.
- Children ages 12 and younger always play free in Texas State Parks.
- Build your camping skills, consider participating in a Texas Outdoor Family program.
- Consider doing at least one volunteer activity in the outdoors.
- Start a Facebook or social media group where your families can share ideas and announce events.
- If you don’t want to start your own club you can join one in Austin via Camp Fire or Austin Families in Nature or in San Antonio at the San Antonio Zoo.
- Download resources from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and find out about their educator’s loaner trunk program.
- Alternate your outings between nature-based learning opportunities and just playing in nature.
- Find easy ways to play it safe outside at Leave No Trace.