Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

448 Great Things To Do in Nature Before You Grow Up


It’s no secret that we love being outdoors around here.  Spring, summer, winter, fall…we’re out enjoying whatever Mother Nature has to offer throughout the year.  So when authors Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer asked me to review their newest book in the Falcon Guides series – “The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things To Do in Nature Before You Grow Up” – I was delighted.  And as soon as I started flipping through the first few pages, I knew that this was a book that would be on our shelves as a reference for many years to come!

Divided into seasons, each section includes 50 checklist items, 50 challenge items, 3 projects, 3 destinations, 3 garden recipes, and 3 outdoor games – you could do one activity each day for over a year without ever repeating a single one!  There are also plenty of interesting “Did You Know?” facts listed after each activity as well, making for a fun AND educating experience for the whole family.

Spring Idea #22 in action

Spring Idea #22 in action

For obvious reasons, we’ve spent the most time in the “Spring” section of the book so far.  Most of the activities are simple enough to do on a whim with very little planning, and can be adapted for a wide variety of ages.  In fact, reading this book made me smile because not only were many of the recommended activities already on C’s list of favorite things to do outside, but it also brought back great memories of my own outdoor childhood!  

Here’s a few of our favorite checklist items from the Spring chapter of the book: 

11.  Wake Up Before the Birds – “I hear birdies!” is usually one of the first things I hear from C when we wake up in a tent.  And at home, we love enjoying our breakfast while we watch our feeder birds enjoy their’s.

20.  Bike to a Nearby Destination – Our family loves efficiency as well as reducing our carbon footprint.  Some of our favorite mornings involve biking to various errands and ending with a picnic lunch at the park.  

22.  Splash in a Puddle What little boy (or girl) doesn’t love getting wet and muddy in a puddle?!? 

25.  Plant at Least 3 Different Veggies This year we planted a few varieties of lettuce and spinach (or “salad,” according to C), as well as English peas and sugar snaps.

27.  Go to a Petting Zoo We’re lucky to have several petting zoo options in our area, and we’re systematically working our way through them all.  Just recently we went to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, and last spring we hit the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville.

36.  Find a Moss-Covered Log – C is a BIG fan of soft, tickly moss.  It can easily take us an hour to walk a mile along a shady, moss-laden trail.  

40.  Find Your State Bird – Our state bird is a cardinal, which also happens to be C’s favorite guest at the bird feeder.  He loves pointing out which one is the “Daddy” one and which one is the “Mommy” one. 

48.  Build a Sandcastle We may not be near the sea, but C certainly knows how to play in the sand, whether it’s in his backyard sandbox, the volleyball court at the neighborhood park, or the fine, silty dirt at the base of our local crag.

Checking off Spring Idea #27 at the Lazy 5 Ranch

Checking off Spring Idea #27 at the Lazy 5 Ranch

The 3 “Destinations” listed for spring are public beaches, family farms, and nature centers, with the who, what, when, where, and why’s of each.  Those are three destinations we will DEFINITELY be hitting up in the coming months!  The destination pages are great resources for more organized day trips as a family, as are the projects, recipes, and games pages.

If your family already spends lots of time outside, you’ll find lots of great ideas for keeping your nature time fresh and exciting.  We found a lot of great new ideas (as well as new twists on “old” ideas!)  Also, if your family is relatively new to the outdoor scene but looking to make some lifestyle changes, this book is an excellent resource for practical ways to get your kiddos (and you!) outside enjoying nature.  For more information on how to purchase this book (and a chance to win your own copy), go here.  What other resources has your family found helpful when it comes to outdoor adventure – whether it be for vacation planning or simple green hour fun?




Leave a Comment Life is in the conversation.


Your email will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN