Three Benefits to Exploring the Natural World

As the days become cooler in Central Texas, it’s the perfect time to explore nature without the punishing heat of summer. Creating immersive family experiences in the natural world is not only a great fitness choice, it also promotes play, creativity, problem solving, and relationship building. Here are a few ways to embrace nature during school breaks, during the weekends, or after school. Get outside!

Create

Whether in your own neighborhood, your backyard, a local park, or out in the country, nature provides great materials to get your creative juices flowing. Here are few simple projects inspired by nature:

•  Gather rocks and paint characters, inspiring words, geometric designs, or landscapes using acrylic paints or paint pens.

•  Use sticks to make personalized wands that can be embellished with craft jewels, ribbons, and wire.

•  To create beautiful confetti, gather some favorite colorful leaves and use a confetti puncher. They come in a variety of shapes including circles, butterflies, stars, and more.

 

Move

Austin is a hiking city filled with countless opportunities for walks in the woods. Austin Parks and Recreation provide a comprehensive list of places to go to escape the traffic and congestion of the city.  Some favorites include the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail, Mount Bonnell at Covert Park Trail, St. Edwards Greenbelt Trail, and Violet Crown Trail. Of course, every corner of the city provides ample opportunities to get walking, breathe the fresh air, and immerse yourself in the regional beauty of Austin’s landscapes. Before you go, check websites for specific trails to get more information about parking, difficulty levels, and hours of operation. Wear sturdy shoes, bring plenty of water, and get ready for an adventure.

Discover

Take time to explore the natural world with these simple activities designed to spark curiosity in kids (and grownups) of all ages.

  • Create a scavenger hunt and using simple print outs.
  • Become a wildlife photographer and challenge your group to snap pictures of birds, insects, and other small animals. Once you are home, try doing some online research to identify what you’ve found. 
  • Plan a stargazing adventure at home using a cool app, or meet up with others who love to look at the cosmos at one of many area star parties that take place at UTEnchanted Rock, and other locations sponsored by the Austin Astronomical Society

This is just the beginning! Let nature spark your imagination and lift your spirits. Have fun, be safe, and explore!

Austin Family Magazine serves the greater Austin area with up-to-date information and ideas that promote smart parenting and healthy homes. Pick up the latest issue at any local HEB, Central Market, or Whole Foods or visit www.austinfamily.com

Jennifer Hill Robenalt is the editor of Austin Family Magazine. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Hill Robenalt
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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