Our children are now considered to be digital natives. In other words, they are some of the first generations to be literally born into a life that revolves around (and seemingly includes nothing but) mobile devices. Often, this is as soon as they learn to hold one and start pressing buttons. As one NPR article noted, childhood may never be the same like it was in our day or those of our parents and grandparents. Already we see fewer kids playing outside in the neighborhood or at the park.
With great technology comes great responsibility. While mobile devices are amazing, and certainly enrich our lives, many believe that too much time is spent looking at a screen. It’s important to ensure that our kids and their kids continue to enjoy healthy activities outdoor that involve movement, exercise, physical skills, and exploration of nature. With that goal in mind, here are some activities we recommend so that your digital native brood still gets fresh air and forms a bond with the natural world:
SF Quest Kids
This outdoor directed day camp program connects kids to the beautiful surroundings of San Francisco’s natural areas. For this summer’s camp options, SF Quest Kids offers many possible destinations. For example, these include Coyote Point, Lake Anza, Tilden Little Farm, Schoonmaker Bay, Old Mill Creek, Joaquin Miller Park and many more. The camp starts out in Golden Gate Park and chooses locations to take the kids to based on weather. Also, there are extended care options available.
Watershed Warriors Green Gulch Farm Fun
Located in Mill Valley, Marin GreenPlay offers its Watershed Warriors program. The program includes organized games, unorganized games, waste-free crafts, community projects, and exploration. Some of the community-based projects have partnerships with the City of Mill Valley, Golden Gate Parks Conservancy, Green Gulch Farm, and Marin County Parks. Plus, it’s a great way to start instilling values around participating in social causes and environmental activism.
NERF Blaster Camp
Blaster Camp is located in Sausalito. It’s a fun and exciting way to get the kids outdoors. Also, they’ll like the idea that it feels like a video game but is actually live action. And, kids will be able to build up their endurance, speed, and agility. It’s made for kids, ages 7-14, and is available this summer with extended care before and after the camp.
Outdoor Rock Climbing Camp
Located in Mill Valley, the Marin GreenPlay Camp is made for third to eighth graders. It’s completely safe and run by professional rock climbers who show your kids the ropes on climbing and bouldering. Additionally, the summer camp includes two days of optional beach fun as well as extended care options.
Sticks & Stones – 10 Land Art Inspired Workshops
Not all interaction with nature has to take place outdoors. Hoopla Education in Berkeley offers an art program designed to show kids the aesthetic beauty in nature. Plus, the workshops teach kids about art materials from the natural world. It’s hosted at the Children’s Creativity Museum. Here, children can use their imagination to create art with natural materials like stones, flowers, sticks, and more.
Outdoor Adventures as a Family
There are also many community events and organizations that can help keep your kids involved with nature this summer. Don’t forget to take the time as a family to enjoy the great outdoors. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are so many parks, hiking trails, beaches, and water elements. Nearby, you can enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, and cycling. Or, consider a picnic together in a local area park highlights the wonders of nature.
Additionally, outdoor adventures include getting involved in local environmental efforts. For example, there are community gardening projects, clean-up efforts in parks and throughout the Bay Area. These help sustain nature and natural resources for future generations. Plus, they provide good learning lessons and bonding experiences for you and your kids. For example, there are places like Hands On Bay Area and San Francisco Nature Education. Of course, you can also create your own outdoor projects in your garden or local community.