Tips For Grownups

As an adult with children in your care, there are many ways to make a difference and help kids all over New Jersey enjoy the benefits of spending more time outside. Here are a few places to start for Healthcare Professionals, Caring Adults, and Educators.

I am a Healthcare Professional

Healthcare professionals include health care providers, medical doctors, nursing professionals, therapists and other health decision makers.

Nature Can Improve Health and Wellbeing

Tips for healthcare professionals
  1. Become informed! “Along with access to safe and high-quality education, health care, housing, neighborhoods, water, and food, the opportunity for children to access nature-rich environments must now be designated a public health priority.” Source: Nature and Children’s Health: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics, October 2021.
  2. Include questions about outdoor time and media habitats on intake forms/risk assessments.
  3. Display the NJ Kids in Nature poster at your practice or as an image on your website.
  4. Prescribe Vitamin N(ature)! Learn more here.
  5. Create a “Park Prescription” program and integrate it into your practice.
  6. Include links to local outdoor activities on your website.
  7. Practice what you prescribe – make it known to your patients and include it in your bio.
  8. Partner with local nature-based organizations – include their program information in your office.
  9. Host a nature event at your health practice site.
  10. Encourage your colleagues’ participation.

I am a Caring Adult

Caring adults are individuals who are involved with a child’s overall wellbeing including parents, guardians, family members, and mentors. 

Nature Play Can Encourage Care For The Earth

Tips for caring adults
  1. Be a model. Explore and discover nature with your child.
  2. Enjoy the little things: gaze at clouds, jump in puddles, dig in dirt, hug a tree, go for a walk in the rain or snow, plant a flower, watch a bee or butterfly or bug.
  3. Play a “spot nature” game anywhere you are – in a parking lot, walking around town or on a bus.
  4. Create a “nature nook” in your home for displaying nature treasures.
  5. Establish an outdoor play routine.
  6. Create a safe outdoor space for reading, creating, listening and thinking.
  7. Get inspired and informed using the Get Outside Checklist.
  8. Participate in “Every Kid Outdoors,” a free program encouraging 4th graders and their families to visit federal lands, including national parks, forests, and waters.
  9. Learn about the animals and plants in your neighborhood.
  10. Keep a nature journal, take photos, make videos of your explorations.

I am an Educator

Educators include teachers, informal educators, out-of-school time professionals and people who work for youth-serving organizations, such as camps, day care centers and community organizations.

Nature Can Improve Academic Outcomes

Tips for educators
  1. Take your lessons and activities outdoors! Read, sing, collect data, observe, create art…it can all be done outside.
  2. Learn with your students. No one knows everything; be flexible; model best practices in discovery and inquisitiveness.
  3. Create a special space filled with outdoor exploration tools, such as a bug box, magnifying glass, small notebook or sketchbook, binoculars, and colored pencils.
  4. Place a bird feeder, bird bath, or flowers where kids can easily observe them from a window.
  5. Grow herbs or other leafy vegetables in your learning area.
  6. Take children on a walking field trip – around your campus, your playground, your parking area for a scavenger hunt.
  7. Organize a Nature First team to explore ways that outdoor activities can be integrated into your program/curriculum; engage local environmental education professionals.
  8. Create a “Schoolyard Habitat for any learning site.
  9. Join “The Trailhead” or the Alliance for NJ Environmental Education, networks devoted to sharing resources and connecting people with nature.
  10. Apply for funding for outdoor learning and schoolyard greening for your school.
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