Summer Fun in (and out) of the Sun: Nature Walks

Jun 18, 2021 | Posted by Jennifer

When was the last time you went outside for a walk and really slowed down to notice the nature around you? How about your children? When have they? If your answer is, “I don’t recall,” then you are due for some time outside. There’s so much to see! Taking your children along, you will be sharing some great outdoor experiences that may even cultivate within them a deeper interest in the natural world.

No matter where you are, nature isn’t far away. Even within busy metropolitan areas, nature coexists alongside construction and commerce. Walking along your street, you may notice birds, trees, flowers, and insects. If you step a little farther away from hearth and home by venturing to a park or preserve, the natural vista opens even wider, offering more tree species, animals, plants, rocks, and insects to notice.

As the summer days draw on, you can plan out regular forays into nature. It is fun to find a theme to explore. One week you and your family may want to focus on trees, for example. Bring along a nature guide, or download an app that will help you identify the trees in your area. As you stroll, notice the overall shape of a tree, the texture of its bark, the type of leaves it produces, its height, and any other unique features. If you have young children, you might enjoy toting along the National Audubon Society’s First Field Guide: Trees to help you identify the ones you come across. Another alternative is to load a tree identification app onto your phone. There are a lot of options out there. Our family enjoys the LeafSnap app, but there are many apps you can choose from.

Nature guides and apps come in a wide variety of themes that can feature the entire United States, a region such as the Southeast, or a single state. There are guides on rocks and minerals, insects, mammals, wildflowers, the night sky, mushrooms, clouds, and more. Additionally you can consult websites to learn facts about nature. To help save you some precious time, we have done some initial research for you. Take a look below to discover some websites that address the following nature topics:

Grab a guide and get outside! The summer is a great time to explore the wider world with your children. When you take your children outside for some family fun, you stave off nature-deficit disorder. First described by Richard Louv in the book Last Child in the Woods, this disorder rears its head when children become detached from the natural world, which is becoming more and more common in this day and age. Andrew Pudewa elevates Louv’s ideas in his conference presentation “Nature Deficit Disorder.” We are pleased to share the streaming with you, which can be found at this link.

Nature-deficit disorder is insidious, and it is rampant. Fortunately, the remedy is only a walk away. Figure out what nature theme you want to explore, prepare by downloading an app or grabbing a guide, and then gather the family and head outside. It’s time to take a walk.


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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