We’re Off to Spain!

#SixesInSpain

As you read this, we’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic, headed to Madrid! We’re so excited for this trip of a lifetime. We’ll be away for a month, so you’ll notice a change in posting frequency while we’re gone. While I won’t be posting three times a week as usual, I do have some great content lined up for you while we’re away, including a couple of guest posts you’re going to love. I’ll also be reposting a couple of oldies but goodies, for those of you new to The Risky Kids who might have missed them the first go around.

We plan to truly vacation while we’re on vacation, so any help you can give me on sharing the posts you enjoy while we’re gone would be a huge help, and I’ll be forever grateful!

I do hope to update my personal blog, Just Like The Number, from time to time with photos and thoughts from the the things we’ve seen. If you’re not already subscribed, I encourage you to do so if you’d like to follow along on our adventures. I’ll also be sharing photos via Instagram. Be sure to follow me there (I’m AngieSix) if you’d like to keep up with us!

Whether you’re staying close to home or venturing out, we hope you are having a wonderful summer!

 

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Life Skills Every Kid Should Know: How to Manage Personal Finances (Part 2)

This post is part of a Risky Kids series: Life Skills Every Kid Should Know. You can find all the posts in the series on the Life Skills Every Kids Should Know page. This is Part 2 of How to Manage Personal Finances. You can read Part 1 here

Personal Finance Skills For Kids

In our last post, I gave you the background on our journey to learning about personal finance, and explained why we’re so adamant that our kids will master this essential life skill. In this post I’ll share how we’re passing the knowledge on to the kids, as well as give tips and resources to help you along. Just like we struggled with finding our own footing on the path to financial competency, we also struggled with how best to get the kids started on the path with us. There are so many opinions and ideas on the subject, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and just throw your hands (and their money!) up in the air. Your options basically boil down to three philosophies on kids and money:

  • Pay for everything, throw a few lessons in along the way, and let them figure it out.
  • Give them an allowance that is unrelated to chores and personal responsibilities.
  • Give them an allowance that is tied to completing chores and personal responsibilities.

As parents who have tried all three methods at different times along this journey, we feel pretty confident that we can speak to all of them. They each have their pros and cons (yes, even the first one!). I’m happy to talk about what the advantages and disadvantages are with anyone who has questions, but I won’t do that here. Why? Because after dabbling in them all, I truly feel that there is no right answer. It all depends on the age of your children, your core beliefs about money and work, and (most importantly), which philosophy feels right to you. Because if you struggle with it and feel like it’s out of sync with the way you parent? You won’t stick with it. In the end, I don’t think it matters so much what you choose to do. I think what matters is that you pick a system that works for you and stick with it. As long as you are consistently teaching kids financial literacy and giving them opportunities to learn and practice finance skills along the way, your kids will be way ahead of the game when it comes time for them to live independently of you.

Here’s what we’ve done with our kids at various ages and stages:

Preschoolers

At this age, we didn’t do much. We basically paid for everything. We did introduce basic chores and responsibilities at this age, but they weren’t tied to money. I find in this stage, kids are eager to help around the house and don’t need any financial incentive to do so. See the chore list in the Resources section for a great listing of chores by age group.

Elementary

We began this stage using Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior with Elena. Along with financial lessons geared toward younger kids, Financial Peace Junior introduces the concept  of working for “commission.” You do your chores, you get paid. No chores? No money. This system works great  if 1.) You are committed and consistent with keeping up with some kind of chore chart and 2.) Your child is motivated by money. We were neither of those things. We could never quite find a system that we could keep up with, and Elena was never motivated by money at this age. She’d rather go without money if it meant never lifting a finger around the house!

So what do you do if you find yourself the same situation? Well, you could just give up, pay for everything, and never require your child to help around the house. But I’m guessing that if you’ve read this far, that’s not the plan you were looking for. Instead, we opted to still give an allowance, but not tie it to chores. You’re still giving your child the opportunity to learn about money, but taking the chore aspect out of the equation. Here’s the thing: every kid has their own “currency.” Elena’s wasn’t  money, so taking away her allowance did nothing for her work ethic. However if we took away screen time or friend time, she took notice. Please don’t do what we did and feel that this is somehow selling out, because you don’t have a chore chart and you’re not doling out money every time your kid dusts or empties the dishwasher. There are plenty of other ways to teach your kids personal responsibility!

One part of Financial Peace Junior we did hold on to was the Give, Save, Spend system. When the kids receive their allowance, they must put 10% into a fund for Giving, at least 10% in Savings (they can opt to do more if they’re saving up for something in particular), and the other 80% is for Spending.

Tweens

This year we took the system we’d been using for Elena and put it in overdrive. Once she hit 6th grade and was more independent, we found that she was requiring more money. Trips to Taco Bell with friends, ice skating on Friday nights, clothing she wanted (but didn’t need) … it felt like every day we were handing her money for something else. It was time to put her in more control of the money.

Through our bank, we set up a separate account for her with her own debit card. We decided to up her allowance quite a bit, and instead put the responsibility of how to spend her money on her own shoulders. Where previously her allowance was for discretionary spending, now she has to budget her money for some expenses. Things we previously paid for that are now her responsibility include: cell phone bill, school lunches, clothing (beyond basic necessities), and entertainment. We still don’t directly tie allowance to chores, but if she’s slacking we retain the right to cut her budget (which affects her social life, which is a HUGE motivator for her).

This has been a huge success for us. She’s already made some really mature decisions, such as deciding to pack her lunch more often in lieu of expensive school lunches, researching her cell phone plan to cut out unnecessary charges, and budgeting. These are the kinds of financial thinking skills that are so important as an adult. She’s made mistakes as well, making purchases she’s regretted as well as overspending early and not having money to do some things she wanted to do at the end of the month. These lessons are no fun, but much easier to learn at 11, when running out of money means no Baja Blasts with your friends, as opposed to not being able to pay the rent and getting evicted.

How much should you pay?

Ask and you’ll receive a hundred different answers. We give Eli (age 6) $10 a month. Elena (age 11) gets $125. You want to find the sweet spot between giving them too little (where they are discouraged and can never buy or save up for anything of value), and giving them too much (where they have no incentive to budget or save).

When should you pay?

Whenever you find is the time that you’ll consistently pay. We could never remember to pay on a weekly basis. Now we pay on the first of the month, when we do our personal budget.

Resources

What are some good resources for teaching kids how to manage their personal finances? Here are some of our favorites we’ve relied on through the years:

The Plan:

A fabulously comprehensive outline of what chores and responsibilities can be expected of kids at developmentally appropriate ages, via Merrilee Boyack’s “Training Children To Be Independent.” It includes some non-applicable (for us) religious aspects, but when modified for your own family it is extremely helpful.

Books:

Websites:

  • The Queen of Free: Written by my good friend, Cherie Lowe, she offers practical advice on saving money, getting out of debt, and teaching kids important money lessons.
  • The Simple Dollar: Covers all kinds of personal finance issues, including younger kids and money.
  • Life Your Way: I rely on this site for all things home related, but Mandi has some great ideas on kids and money, as well as some useful printables if you’re looking to utilize chore charts.

Are we doing it perfectly? Of course not, and you will most likely find a different, better way that works for your family. But hopefully you’ve found something helpful here, or have been inspired to finally get moving down this path with your kids. The only wrong way to teach your kids personal finance skills is to never teach them anything at all.

How are you helping your kids learn this essential life skill? Where have you struggled, and what’s worked especially well for you?  

Looking for more resources? Check out our board Life Skills Every Kid Should Know on Pinterest!

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Screen-Free Week Reflections

Girls on the Run 5K Indiana

Well, did you survive Screen-Free Week? Or more importantly – did the kids survive?!

I’m happy to report that we not only survived, we thrived with less time on screens last week. Here are a few things that occupied our time instead of technology:

Monday: The kids came home from school and went right for the iPad, only to find it missing! Either they forgot it was the beginning of Screen-Free Week or they were hoping I’d forget! Eli and the neighbor got creative with a cardboard box:

Elena had to practice recorder for school. Instead of practicing for the requisite amount of time and moving on to screens, she spent time composing her own song on the recorder.

Tuesday: Eli got into the stash of leftover crafts from Kiwi Crate and made a boat, which turned into water play outside, which turned into a handful of kids using chalk on our driveway.

Kiwi Crate boat
Wednesday: More outdoor free play – did I mention the weather was amazing?

Thursday: We visited our local Children’s Museum for a grand opening of a new exhibit (which if you’re anywhere near Indianapolis you MUST go see Take Me There: China and the Terra Cotta Warriors).

Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Friday: Was Screen-Free Week catching on? The entire neighborhood was out after school! Kids were playing and adults were relaxing and chatting. What a perfect way to kick off the weekend.

Screen-Free Neighborhood

Saturday: Elena and I ran a 5K, and Eli had a soccer game in the morning. In the afternoon, Eli helped me with yardwork and Elena rode her penny board to Taco Bell. That evening she camped outside at a friend’s house. Mike spent the afternoon building a firepit in the backyard, and that evening we fired it up and invited the neighbors.

Bonfire

A few things that really helped make the week a success:

  • My neighbor also participated in Screen-Free Week, so always had at least one buddy that wasn’t choosing screens as an activity. Next year I think I will give all the neighbors on the cul-de-sac a heads-up that Screen-Free Week is coming up and see if we can get a bunch of us participating.
  • The weather was amazing all week. I realize how much harder you have to work to come up with fun alternatives to screens when you can’t go outside.
  • Out of sight, out of mind! Before the kids got home from school, I shut my laptop, closed the doors to the TV, and put away the iPad. It’s so simple, but it really does help.

A few observations:

  •  I noticed a big difference in the kids’ attitudes about play. My gut reaction is to let them have screen time right after school. I figure they’ve had a long day, and that will relax them. After observing an entire school week without screens, I realize it doesn’t relax them – it zones them out. Without screens, they have a snack and move on to something else. With screens, it can be very difficult to get them to transition from screens to outdoor play.
  • I didn’t realize how much time I spend on screens between the hours of 4 p.m. and bedtime. I often depend on that time to catch up on social media, browse Pinterest, or catch up on blogging. I’m not going to lie – I felt a little lost at first! But I found other ways to fill the time, and as an added bonus? I went to bed earlier each night.

So what’s the takeaway from Screen-Free Week? We could all stand to spend a significantly smaller amount of time on screens. It was just the restart we needed, and from here on out I’ll be making a concerted effort to limit the time we spend on screens in the afternoon and evenings.

How did Screen-Free Week go for you? Any surprises? Did you have any fun adventures you might have missed out on had you been occupied with screens? 

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Our Riskiest Adventure Yet!

So we have some exciting news here at The Risky Kids! In just one month, we’ll be embarking on our biggest, riskiest adventure to date.

#SixesInSpain

We’re headed to Spain for a month!

The four of us are headed to sunny Spain, with a possible side trip to London, next month. We’ve been planning this trip for years, and we’re thrilled that it’s almost here. We’re obviously excited for the food, the sights, and the people. But from a Risky Kid perspective, I’m also excited to see how another culture approaches parenting and play. We’re already prepping the kids for a much different schedule and lifestyle – later nights, meals in bars, and less hurrying and scurrying.

If you’ve been to Spain and have any recommendations of things we can’t miss, please share them with us! Of course you know me – I’m especially interested in cool playgrounds and parks. We’ll be in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and southern Spain.

What can you expect while we’re gone? Well, I’m in the process of getting some posts ready ahead of time. I’ll also be reposting a few oldies but goodies, revamped for your reading pleasure. I’ll be posting less – once or twice a week instead of my normal three times, but I’m sure you all understand! I’ll be posting updates about our trip on my personal blog, Just Like The Number. Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@angiesix) for some fun pictures as well.

In the meantime, I’d love to have some guests posts lined up! If you’re interested in writing a guest post for The Risky Kids, email me (theriskykids@gmail.com) with your idea. If you happen to have kids who walk to school by themselves, I’d love to hear from you. That’s one of the tasks in 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) that we (unfortunately) aren’t able to do where we live.

Moms, have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend! I hope it’s lovely and idle!

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Sleepaway Camp: An Essential Childhood Experience

Sleepaway camp essential childhood experience
Portions of this post originally appeared on The Risky Kids last summer. As summer camp season approaches yet again, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic of sleepaway camp for kids. If your kids are headed to camp this summer, I highly recommend the Camp Combo label pack from Mabel’s Labels (affiliate link). I’ve used them 2 years in a row now – they’re still holding on strong and we haven’t lost a single thing at camp yet!

Last summer we sent Elena, age 10 (almost 11) at the time, to two weeks of sleepaway camp. It wasn’t her first experience – she’d gone to the same Girl Scout camp for a week the summer before – but it was the longest she’d ever been away from us.

For 11 days and 10 nights we had absolutely no contact with her.  We could send bunk notes (essentially email), but she couldn’t email back.  I sent her with enough stationary and stamps for a trip to Europe, but she’d been too busy having fun to send home more than one postcard.

My husband and I didn’t grow up going to sleepaway camps.  I tried sleep away camp “lite” once and hated it.  It was a day camp that culminated in sleeping outside on the last evening.  I was 5 miles away from home and only gone for 24 hours, but that didn’t stop me from trying every trick in the book to get my mom to pick me up before the night was over.  Elena, on the other hand, really enjoys camp.  Every year we offer her the chance to buddy up and choose a week with friends.  She brushes us off and instead chooses her weeks based on the theme.  Last year it was Harry Potter one week and the Hunger Games (Kamp Katniss) the next.  Every time she went without knowing a soul.

Why do we think it’s important for her to go away to camp, when neither of us have good memories to draw upon?  For so many reasons that I think are essential to growing up.  It’s often a child’s first experience of pulling away.  I want her to learn how to be away from us, and to have fun while doing it.  I want her to start building that treasure chest of memories that don’t include us.  I want her to have that sense of pride of doing something on your own.  I want her to be able to survive for stretches of days without apps and texting and TV and be okay without it.

She came home with the smelliest laundry and the best stories.  The 90-minute ride home is full of chatter about all the amazing things they did during the week.  Any parent of a tween or teen will tell you they would gladly pay whatever the camp fee is just to get a kid that wants to talk to you uninterrupted for 90 minutes.

I hope that summer camper turns into a camp counselor.  I hope the camp counselor turns into an eager college student.  I hope the eager college student turns into a world traveler.  And I hope she is never too homesick and she sends more postcards.

Do you send your kids to sleepaway camp? How did you know they were old enough to go? If you went as a kid, what were your favorite memories?

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Lessons From a Baby Rabbit

I was sitting on the porch steps the other day, reading and basking in the sun, while the neighborhood kids played four square in the cul-de-sac. I heard a commotion off in the bushes, and was quite surprised to see a baby rabbit running for its life … being chased by a very empowered chipmunk!

Not realizing what I was about to unleash, I called the kids over to see the baby rabbit. It had made its way back into our bushes. The kids blocked the obvious escape routes in hopes of catching it, and I played along, thinking they could never actually catch a rabbit.

Lesson #1: Never underestimate highly motivated children.

They did manage to get it out of the bushes, where it promptly ran into our open garage. Now I was a little worried. I had visions of the rabbit getting trapped somewhere in our garage and dying … and how wonderful that would smell after a few days. Six kids, fifteen minutes and one plastic storage bin later, they’d captured the baby rabbit.

Baby Rabbit

Lesson #2: Anything has the potential to become a pet.

Within minutes of capture, this rabbit became the darling of the cul-de-sac. They filled the bin with grass, fetched it some water, and freely gave away my entire supply of organic baby carrots. After a few tense moments, the rabbit seemed resigned to the fate of being the neighborhood pet. He nibbled a few carrots, let the children stroke his back, and took a little nap.

Still, his natural instinct was to find his freedom. He tried several times to jump out of the bin, displaying his superb hopping skills. The kids weren’t ready to say goodbye, as a few of them were still desperately lobbying their parents for a free pet rabbit. (My kids knew better!) I had to tend to dinner, so I put them in charge of rabbit-sitting. This super-important task consisted of sitting by the bin and making sure the rabbit didn’t jump out.

Rabbit Sitting

Lesson #3: Never underestimate a highly motivated rabbit.

All the adoration and free organic carrots in the world weren’t enough to keep this rabbit from his true desire – freedom. I’m not sure exactly what happened, as I was in the backyard grilling dinner. Some say he jumped, others say he was dropped in a misguided attempt to move him to a new, grassier bin. But I heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the backyard as the rabbit saw his chance and scampered away to suburban rabbit freedom.

Rabbit selfie

Oh well. At least we have the selfie to prove that for a few hours, we had a pet rabbit.

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Growing Up, Still Playing

Climbing trees

I can credit three things for inspiring me to start The Risky Kids a little over 2 years ago.

The first was my discovery of Gever Tulley’s book, 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do). I knew I couldn’t sustain an entire blog solely on one book, but I sensed it could be a foundation for something bigger. I could see that it was about more than a book. It was about seeing the bigger picture – realizing that the interactions we have with kids and the messages we send about fear and danger have the power to radically impact the next generation.

The second was the work I did with KaBOOM! for the Park-a-Day Challenge. Visiting different playgrounds for an entire summer opened my eyes to growing issues in the state of play. Do all kids have access to safe places to play? What effects do cookie-cutter playgrounds have on safety and the way kids actually play? How does one navigate the politics of the playground when they realize they parent quite differently from everyone else? Again, I knew I didn’t want to start a blog strictly about playgrounds, but the experience was a springboard to writing about where and how kids play today.

The biggest inspiration all along has been Elena and Eli. As much as I write The Risky Kids for you, I also do it to be a better parent to them. I believe in the importance of play, but so often the grind of life with littles can get the best of anyone. Before you know it, days or even weeks have gone by without breathing, without taking the time to truly connect with each other, with our kids, with the outdoors. Knowing that so many of you check in frequently to see what we’re up to holds me accountable, reminds me to keep a balance between work and play.

Why the sudden reflection on the humble beginnings of The Risky Kids? Well, last week I found myself in a déjà vu moment with two of the three things that inspired it all. We paid a visit to Holliday Park in Indianapolis, one of the best parks our city has to offer. We first discovered it while making the rounds for KaBOOM! We hadn’t been there in a long time, and thanks to a light drizzle, we had the entire playground to ourselves. We weren’t there five minutes before I heard Elena calling me from above. She’d found a good climbing tree and didn’t waste any time scampering up the branches. Only it wasn’t just any tree … it was this very tree, where I snapped a shot that became the face of The Risky Kids:

The Risky Kids

Two years later, just like this blog, she looks a little different. She’s grown a lot. She’s tried a lot of things. Some things worked, some things didn’t. She’s still trying to figure out exactly who she is and what she wants to be. The same can be said for myself and The Risky Kids. But just like Elena, I know that no matter how much you grow and change, you must always make time to play.

Holliday Park Indianapolis

Thanks for playing along with us. Here’s to many more years of tree climbing and playground shenanigans.

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Creating a Natural Backyard Kids Can’t Wait to Play In

Plans to enhance backyard play

We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of moving into our new house. Last spring and summer we were too busy unpacking boxes and getting settled to put much thought into our backyard. Now that we’ve had almost a full year to observe things like what’s growing in the yard and how the kids play, we’re ready to make a few changes and improvements.

What do we love about our backyard? Well, the trees, for one. We have lots of trees that provide nice shade in the heat of the summer. We have a large deck with plenty of built-in seating as well as a swing. The previous owners also left behind a very nice playset. Although our kids rarely play in it, it is a nice draw for the younger kids in the neighborhood. It’s a very large backyard, so there’s lots of room to run and play.

As much as we love it, there is a downside. Because of the trees and the shade, it’s impossible to grow grass in the majority of the yard. As a result, a large portion of the yard becomes rather overgrown by mid-summer with weeds and brush. While we know that keeping some of that is important for wild life, it definitely inhibits the kids from playing in parts of the yard. We also worry about it being an eyesore, as most of the yards around us are very well manicured.

Our goal for the backyard is to transform it into an outdoor space that encourages play, invites relaxation and community, provides sanctuary for wildlife, and looks nice. It’s a tall order, and it will have to be done in phases over the next few years, but I know we can make it happen. Here are a few ideas I have that I think we can implement this spring and summer:

Landscaping:

As we clear out some of the brush, I’d like to replace it with plants that encourage natural play. Some of the brush will stay, as it provides a habitat for insects kids love, like grasshoppers, beetles and caterpillars.

Loose Parts:

Having the space is nice, but kids need things that will inspire play. Loose parts encourage all kinds of open-ended play. Sticks, rocks, PVC pipe, buckets, shovels, and funnels are a must. We have some pea gravel that the previous owners left behind – I’d like to keep it as well as a dirt pile for the kids to dig in.

Active Play:

In addition to the play set, I’d like to get some other items that fit well with the natural landscape but encourage active play. I’m thinking tree stumps for climbing, something to balance on, and a rope swing. We have some large rocks in a mulched area of the yard that I’d love to move to the wilder area so the kids can jump and climb on them.

Relaxation and Community:

We have a freestanding fire pit the owners left behind. We used it a lot last year, but it’s on it’s last legs. Mike is going to build us a permanent fire pit. I love thinking of evenings spent outside with the neighbors and their kids, visiting while the kids roast marshmallows.

Wildlife:

You know I love my birds! I plan to add a few bird feeders. I think a bat house would also be a cool addition. We end up with a lot of sticks in our yard. Instead of getting rid of them, I plan to designate a spot in the yard for a woodpile. Not only will it provide kindling for the fire pit and loose parts for play, it’s a good habitat for bugs, amphibians and small mammals.

I will definitely keep you posted as these ideas become a reality in our backyard. In the meantime, feel free to follow my Risky Backyard Pinterest board for even more inspiration. If you’ve added anything to your backyard that’s enhanced the outdoor play experience, please share!

 

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Parkour: Bouncing Off the Walls (On Purpose)

B.A.S.E. Fitness Parkour

Have you heard of Parkour?  Until very recently, I hadn’t.  Parkour is a holistic training discipline in which you use only your body to overcome physical obstacles as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible.

Or – as Eli would describe it – Spiderman training.

Parkour was originally developed as a training method for the French army, but gradually gained ground around the world as a way to get fit, have fun with a healthy dose of an adrenaline rush, and as a different way to explore an urban enviroment.  It’s closely associated with freerunning.

Intro to Parkour

We came across it quite by accident.  It turns out that Fishers is home to the one and only facility that offers Parkour instruction in Indiana. We drove by B.A.S.E. Fitness one day and Elena pointed it out.

Running, jumping, climbing, and taking risks? Well, it was right up The Risky Kid alley. We had to try it. And when I say we, I mean Mike, Elena and Eli (someone has to take the pictures, right?). They signed up for a one-hour Intro to Parkour class.

The class was a mix of males and females, kids and adults. The beauty of Parkour is that it can be adjusted to just about any age level (although it is recommended for 9 and up) and any fitness/bravery level. It can be as risky as you want it to be. While Parkour can be done anywhere, having an indoor training facility is a nice luxury. You can practice all year long out of the elements, can adjust the difficulty level easily, and the big bonus: pads on the ground if you fall!

Beginner Parkour

Is it something for the whole family? Not necessarily, but different people will like it for different reasons. Mike enjoyed it and would like to keep going for the fitness aspect of it. Elena could take it or leave it. Eli, of course, loved it. I can see the appeal for all kinds of groups: urban kids, people who want to get fit in a non-traditional way, kids who aren’t into traditional team sports, thrill seekers, anyone interested in survival skills, and many more I’m not thinking of.

Have you ever tried Parkour? Is it something you’d want to try (or have your kids try)?

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Start a Family Nature Club

Family Nature Club

When I asked other parents about what keeps them from playing outdoors with their kids, I got some eye-opening responses. A few of the most common answers were that they don’t enjoy certain aspects of outdoor play, that it’s boring, or that they’re afraid of some of the elements that go along with nature (bugs, poison ivy, animals, etc).

It’s a shame, but it’s completely understandable. When there’s a barrier that keeps you from trying something you might enjoy, one of the best ways to surmount it is to enlist the help of friends. When something is daunting or you don’t know where to start, having someone else to help you through it or encourage you can be the difference between doing and dreaming.

One of my family goals for this year is to get us out and about in nature more. We’re great about playing outside, but I would love to see us do more hiking, camping, and exploring the many trails and parks around us. Our tree identification project also sparked a desire in me to learn more about the plants and animals around us. I have lots of great ideas, but often lack the motivation to get out and do them. Or maybe I have the motivation, but the kids are less than enthused because they want to hang out with friends rather than just each other.

That’s why I’m so excited to see about the prospect of starting our own family nature club.  Family nature clubs are a way for families to get together with others and explore nature together. By banding together with other families, you have the encouragement, the community, and the opportunity to share ideas for activities and new places with a group. Anyone can start a nature club and it can be made up of any group of people you like – friends, neighbors, schoolmates, playgroups, church groups, or random local internet friends (my favorite!).

The Indiana Children and Nature Network has links to great online resources you can use to start your own nature club. If you’re local, you can attend a free training session with an ICAN representative at Cool Creek Nature Center in Carmel on Saturday, January 18 from 2-5 p.m. You can register here.

I’m excited to start our own club, meet some new friends, and explore around us. Is this something you think you’d like to try?

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