12 Easy Ways to Enjoy Nature with Family, Friends, or Solo
According to America’s Health Rankings, North Carolina is currently nationally ranked in the bottom third of many health measures and 35th in the country for overall health status.
To help reverse this trend, North Carolinians can get moving and get outside by taking advantage of North Carolina’s parks, trails, greenways, and other outdoor spaces.
No matter where you decide to enjoy and explore nature (even if it’s in your own backyard), there are plenty of ways to bring it into your household’s lifestyle and engage kids at the same time.
Here are some easy ideas to get anyone outside and moving.
1. Participate in a bird watch at a nearby park or at home
How many different birds you can see? How many different bird calls you can hear? Can you see any birds making nests? Can you see any birds with worms in their beaks?
2. Go cloud-spotting
Imagine what objects they look like or simply slip into a daydream where you let your mind wander.
3. Read outside
Take a book or magazine (or tablet with CarolinaParent.com pulled up) to your favorite outdoor spot for half an hour.
4. Start your own garden
Plant seeds and see how some TLC can yield food for the family over a few months.
5. Go fishing
Remember to use a floating fishing pole for any young anglers who have tendencies to drop things.
6. Draw a hopscotch board on your sidewalk
Chalk makes it easy to add on new combinations (and challenges).
7. Take a walk, run, or bike ride outside
The family dog would love a walk. While you’re out, how many other people can you count walking or running or biking outside?
8. Set up a tent in your backyard, deck, or balcony
9. Help birds build their homes
Hang natural nest-making materials from your balcony, porch, or a tree branch for birds to find and use for their own families.
10. Picnic in the park
Find time to enjoy nature as a family by packing a blanket, snacks, drinks, and heading to a local park. (Or grabbing food to-go from a restaurant on the way.)
For an extra comfy al fresco setup, bring some throw pillows and a portable camping fan.
11. Notice nature around you
Take special notice of nature no matter where you are. How accurately can you guess the outside temperature? What about the wind speed and the humidity?
12. Put a hammock or tree swing in your yard
It’s easy to want to spend time outside if you have a fun tree swing or hammock to hop onto. Consider adding one for an extra incentive for outdoor reading time.
There are many places and programs that can help North Carolinians improve their health and wellbeing by connecting with nature, and the NC Department of Natural & Cultural Resources (NC DNCR) is working to expand our use of these spaces even more with a new initiative called Parks and Trails for Health (PATH).
Partially in partnership with local governments, the NC DNCR recently announced they will be focusing on:
- Adding and improving trails and other outdoor facilities at state-owned sites
- Providing outdoor educational opportunities for all North Carolina children
- Investing in maintenance and staffing at state parks and trails to ensure a high-quality visitor experience
- Supporting the outdoor recreation industry