Here's an interesting study from Children & Nature Network. C&NN also has an informative blog to explore.
As parents, we are the best influence and teachers for our children. Help instill a love of nature and try to get outdoors for at least 30-60 minutes everyday. It could be a walk in your neighborhood, visit a nearby park playground, enjoy a family hike or bike ride, go leaf or bug hunting, or playing in the rain and mud puddles. Whatever interests your child(ren), let them lead the way with guidance.
Or consider a family exploration day trip. Need ideas on what to do and where to go? Check out A Nature Mom blog for suggestions in the Bay Area.
"Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children's physical and mental health". (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008)
Here are some local ideas for getting outdoors:
Lynch Canyon - Vallejo, or Rush Ranch - Fairfield/Suisun: see calendar for upcoming events, most of which are free, and include hikes, bird watching, tidal marsh walks, and more.
Mare Island Heritage Preserve: Has monthly guided hikes or walk on your own as a family. Click here for events. It is a great place for the whole family. Dog-friendly, and nice for a stroller-friendly paved walk. We bring our daughter's tricycle, too. There is a port-a-potty available near the path entrance parking lot. Also on Mare Island is the San Pablo Trail - a lovely and peaceful walk for the whole family. Wheel chair accessible, free parking, no bathroom facility. The SF Bay Area Flyway Festival is coming to Mare Island Feb 8th - Feb 10th. Click here for more info.
Blue Rock Springs Park - Vallejo: A fabulous playground, bring a picnic, and also has a hiking trail. Peacocks roam freely. Better for toddlers and older. Parking fee required.
Feel like starting your own Family or Neighborhood Nature Club? Click the pdf below for the Nature Club toolkit from C&NN.