Get Your Kids Outside this Weekend

By Julie Brown, National Geographic 

Photograph by “hjalgaonkar,” Great Nature Project

Spring is the ideal time for outdoor exploration!

In the evenings and on weekends, I try to get outside and explore with my family. I know that parents and kids are being pulled in many directions between work, school, daily chores, after-school activities, weekend sports games, and social obligations. Everyone needs some downtime. I find that my kids love to veg and play games on their mobile devices. However, I know that we have richer family experiences when we get outside together and play.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I have more success getting my kids excited about going outside and exploring when I let them bring their mobile devices with them.

The Great Nature Project team has created two learning missions that are set up like scavenger hunts, which get families outside exploring and taking pictures of the living organisms that they see. One is a food web mission and the other is a butterfly mission. These missions can be completed in one day or over time while on a neighborhood walk. They are great conversation-starters and get kids to observe the world around them and ask questions about what they see.

If you find something that you can’t identify, the community can help. Simply mark your observation with “need id help” and someone will help you identify what you’ve seen.

The learning missions are also great tools to get kids interacting with relatives and family friends. Give them a try this weekend during the Great Nature Project’s Global Snapshot of Biodiversity—and contribute to science while exploring your world.

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