Children and Nature Belong Together

Tools for Creating an Experiential Laboratory for Outdoor Education

Featured Book and DVD Resources

NEW! Fifty Nifty Nature Games and Activities
Jared M. Knight, M.S.
DVD $49.95
Features a compilation of games and activities that can be used to teach children about nature and the outdoors. The games and activities are grouped into ten units, each of which offers details on educational exercises that are specific to a particular category. The fun and exciting series of games and activities that address outdoor and nature education is perfect for schools, camps, and youth agencies.

NEW! 101 Nature Activities for Kids
Jane Sanborn and Elizabeth Rundle
A “one-stop shop” for anyone who is seeking a “perfect” and memorable nature activity for their group. The authors generously share their unparalleled depth and breadth of experience in nature education and in helping others learn while having fun. The book provides practical, field-tested, hands-on activities and challenges that are designed to be used in any outdoor location from Maine to California, and most of them are appropriate for a backyard or city park, as well as for the forest, a meadow, or the beach. In general, the activities do not need a lot of equipment or much preparation time.

Camp 2 Grow: Where Every Child Leads and Shines
Barry A. Garst, Ph.D., and Deb Bialeschki, Ph.D.
DVD $49.95
Camp 2 Grow is a leadership and environmental stewardship program developed by the American Camp Association that is designed to teach youth fundamental leadership knowledge/skills. In turn, the program challenges youth to apply what they have learned to address environmental issues in their camps, homes, and communities. Camp 2 Grow: Where Every Child Leads and Shines reviews sample lessons and details various activities from the Camp 2 Grow curriculum. The DVD also explains why Camp 2 Grow is an excellent model for enhancing the CIT program of camps.

Becoming and Environmental Leader for Your Campers
Nancy Ferguson
DVD/CD-ROM $49.95
In an age of "going green" and placing an emphasis on a camp's role in teaching creation care, it is important that staff in faith-based/Christian camps can make the connection between their faith and caring for the earth. In their role as environmental leaders, staff members need to be able to include God in the discussion and activities in which they lead campers. Becoming an Environmental Leader for Your Campers examines five theological concepts related to being an environmental leader. The DVD also features brief "talking points" for staff to view, as well as a companion CD-ROM that provides directions for activities that staff training leaders can engage in with their staffs to provide an experiential learning option for each of the concepts.

Nature-Oriented Activities: A Leader's Guide (4th Edition)
Betty van der Smissen, Oswald Goering, and Judy K. Brookhiser
Educators will be well equipped to instill environmental awareness and a lifelong love of nature in their students with this comprehensive activity book and teacher's guide. Hundreds of hands-on activities promote ecological conservation, stewardship, and respect without sounding like lengthy lectures. Students will be captivated by fun and educational engagements such as arts and crafts made with natural materials, games that teach compass and map-reading skills, and lessons in outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, and canoeing. Each activity section includes sample activities, carefully selected references, and Web sites to help better guide instructors through each activity.

The Nature Specialist: A Complete Guide to Programs and Activities
Lenore Hendler Miller
A comprehensive, fully explained program of nature activities, developed by the author through long experience as a teacher and camp naturalist. An Activities Guide Chart is the heart of the book and lists more than seventy activities indexed according to type (indoor, outdoor/quiet, outdoor/active), age of participants, and the degree of preparation needed by the leader. Following the chart are full descriptions of each of the activities including aims, materials, and procedures. The five sections provide a wealth of information and reference material to enhance a beginning program or to add a new dimension to an existing program.

Return to the Land: 121 Animal/Nature Stories & Activities
Tom Carr
This book contains 121 one-page inspirational, true animal/nature stories and activities that encourage kids to build compassion toward others and nature. It is a valuable resource for working with all students, but it can be especially effective with young people such as teasers and bullies who are sometimes insensitive to others’ feelings, and/or rights. It encourages kids to get away from television, computers, videos, etc. for longer periods of time and learn from the outdoors. These touching and amazing stories and activities will become some of your most favorite to draw upon for individuals, teachers, and parents. Children and adolescents will learn new wisdom that they can apply directly to their social/emotional and academic experiences.


Featured Online Courses

Connecting Children with Nature
Developed in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, this course explores the causes of “nature-deficit disorder” and strategies for exposing children to authentic nature-based experiences. National leaders and initiatives in the movement to connect children and nature are highlighted.


Featured Research Resources

Affinity for Nature — Booklet and Tools
A new outcome measure, Affinity for Nature, measures the emotional connections youth (10 to17 years old) may make to nature as a result of your program. This statistically tested measure has short (5 questions) and long (10 questions) versions. Analysis templates are available for all versions for ease of data entry and statistical analysis. Order this booklet and tools.


Nature-Based Experiences and Healthy Child Development
Find free research briefs, summaries, and more at this resource page.  


Featured Program Resources

Camp 2 Grow 
A leadership and environmental stewardship program developed by the American Camp Association through funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. Camp 2 Grow teaches middle and high-school aged youth leadership knowledge and skills, gives them experience with nature-based problem solving, and provides them with a framework for implementing environmental stewardship projects in their camps, homes, or communities. The nucleus of the program is LifeKnowledge® — a cutting-edge leadership curriculum created by the National FFA organization.


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