It’s not always easy to get outside with your kids. Hot weather, cold weather, bugs, homework, activities, screen time, travel time, work time…there are a myriad of obstacles to really getting out there and introducing children to the wonders and beauty of the natural world. Personally, I’ve found that sometimes just the thought of how much planning it takes to get my family to go on a “simple” hiking trip is enough to keep us confined to a walk in our neighborhood.
But even though we don’t always make it to our closest National Parks, nature is still important to my family. We love to identify the trees, animals, and flowers we see around us. Deer are plentiful where we live, but that doesn’t mean we take them for granted. Watching a mother deer and her fawn cross the hiking path recently was an event my daughter talked about for days. The foxes, gophers, and chipmunks are like local celebrities. We don’t even mind the squirrels who chatter at us (and sometimes drop acorns on our heads). And when we once almost ran over a giant snapping turtle (check out the picture below!) crossing the road near us, we all spent some time researching these amazing creatures.
Nature magazines for kids are a monthly infusion of just the sort of nature photos and information my family enjoys. A recent issue of MUSE Magazine, aimed at kids 9 to 14, was all about venomous animals. While these are not the type of animals you’d want to get too close to (did you know that there is a poison bird? Watch out for the hooded pitohuis if you ever go to the rain forest in Papua New Guinea), we enjoyed viewing these beautiful creatures and plant from afar. Kids ages 6 to 9 should check out ASK Magazine, which recently dedicated an entire issue to how animals stay healthy. We particularly enjoyed the article called “Wild Medicine” which discusses what wild animals do to keep themselves healthy. And preschoolers will love CLICK Magazine, which is constantly bringing nature from around the world directly to kids ages 3 to 6. Recent issues of CLICK have taken deep dives into topics such as the desert and why animals need sleep.
If your family is as difficult to get out the door and into nature as mine is, don’t despair. You can still discover plants, trees, animals, flowers, fish, clouds, rocks, and more in your mailbox every month. And on those glorious days when you do manage to make it out onto the hiking trails, the information your family learned from nature magazines for kids will help you enjoy your trip even more.