Looking for a way to get your kids more interested in nature? The Natural Land Institute has the perfect experience for your family!

Family Nature Adventures is a virtual series for kids to learn about nature and earn their own Junior Naturalist badge. Kids can connect and engage with nature through a series of 13 free videos and guided activities. The series covers many topics including archeology, water, pollinators, mammals, soils, seeds, and more. 

What is Family Nature Adventures?

Family Nature Adventures is a FREE series of videos and guided activities designed to get kids and families interested and engaged in nature. The series teaches families about nature that’s all around us – in our backyards, local parks, and forest preserves.

There is no cost and no registration necessary to participate. 

This experience is perfect for kids ages 2-14 years old. Younger kids will need an adult’s help to access the videos but will be able to follow along with the material.

Kids can watch the videos and do the activities at their own pace from anywhere. The videos range from 2 – 20 minutes long with most videos being around 4-5 minutes long. The videos are informative and entertaining and give kids a chance to see different natural habitats in the area.

Kids who complete six activities and fill out the final participation form by August 10th can earn a Junior Naturalist badge which will be mailed to their home.

This program was created by Natural Land Institute, a Rockford-based private nonprofit land trust that conserves natural areas and protects wildlife habitats. They have protected 17,300 acres of natural land in Illinois since 1958.

 All videos, activities, and resources can be found here.

How did Family Nature Adventures get started?

Typically, the Natural Land Institute hosts a free day of nature family fun each summer at Nygren Wetland Preserve in Rockton, Illinois. Due to COVID-19 restrictions this summer, the day was converted into a series of online activities that families can do at home.

What topics are covered in the Family Nature Adventures?

The Family Nature Adventure series covers a wide variety of nature topics and is organized into themes where kids can dive deeper into a subject that interests them. Partner organizations including Burpee Museum, Macktown Living History, Severson Dells Nature Center, Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries, and Welty Environmental Center put together videos to teach kids all about different things that can be found in nature.

After kids watch the video on a subject, they can do a suggested activity and answer a question about the activity. Kids can submit their answers through a form on the website.

Topics include:

  • Wetlands
  • Mammals
  • Backyard Birds 
  • Archaeology
  • Pollinators
  • Butterflies
  • Creepy Crawlers
  • Prairies
  • Forests
  • Seeds
  • Soils

Watch all the videos here!

Get creative with a free coloring book

Families can also download a free coloring book that features animals and their habitats created by artist Laura Sjoquist. Download your PDF copy here.

Share your Family Nature Adventures on social media

Families are encouraged to get out and explore our natural areas and share their adventures! If your family participates in the Family Nature Adventures, share your pictures by tagging #FamilyNatureAdventures and #NaturalLandInstitute.

Support local nature and become a member of the Natural Land Institute

If the goal of preserving our natural land resonates with you, you can become a member of the NLI. Memberships start at $35 per year and go towards keeping northern Illinois beautiful and wild for future generations. You can make a donation here. 

Visit Nygren Wetland Preserve

Visiting our local preserves is a great way to stay socially distanced while getting outside and enjoying some sunshine, fresh air, and nature. Nygren Wetland is a 721-acre wildlife refuge located at 3190 W. Rockton Road in Rockton, Illinois. Please note, Nygren Wetland is a pet-free preserve. If you pay it a visit, remember to leave it better than you found it. Keep in mind these seven no trace principles!

Will your family participate in Family Nature Adventures this summer?

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