Natural Families

Welcome to the virtual gathering place for Natural Families.  A “Natural Family” is any family who values and uses the natural world as a place for playing, growing, and learning. Natural Families believe that children who spend time in nature are happier, healthier and smarter, and aspire to share their experiences with other families. 

Location: Worldwide!
Members: 237
Latest Activity: Dec 7, 2019


The Natural Family's forum is designed to connect families virtually, giving space to share ideas and ask for suggestions, where families can be engaged, supportive and encouraged. Here, we discuss and ask questions about using the natural world as a playground for our kids, whereby connecting with nature on a regular basis, they will harvest the seeds of lifelong stewardship in and for the natural world.

It is our hope that this forum will help grow the movement and inspire more families to enjoy the wonders of nature, either with a family nature club, with friends, or on their own! This is a great place to get more information on how to start a family nature club if you’re interested, too. Peruse the topics here and jump in with your own questions and contributions often.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the C&NN Connect site.

The goal is to encourage more families to connect their children with nature and to provide a forum where Natural Families can share their ideas, experiences and views.

Please participate actively, and encourage others to join. Get together face-to-face as well when you can!

You'll find tools and resources on the Natural Families home page and throughout the larger Children & Nature Network website.

If you're looking for tools and resources you'll find them on the Natural Families home pages and throughout the larger Children & Nature Network website.

Discussion Forum

Workshop for Family Leaders: Nurturing Children, Ourselves, and Nature

Dear All,    We are launching a new program supporting adult teachers and facilitators of nature and learning experiences. We begin with a workshop on October 7, 2017 in White Plains, NY:Nurturing…Continue

Started by LoraKim Joyner Jul 26, 2017.

***Raising Awareness of Family Nature Clubs via Instagram***

Hello everybody! I'd like to invite you to participate in a new project to raise awareness about Family Nature Clubs. To participate, just start tagging your Instagram posts with #familynatureclub.…Continue

Tags: media, awareness, natural, families, social

Started by Jason Sperling Jan 22, 2016.

Learning at a Dairy Farm great time learning and exploring at our local dairy farm. www.naturebec.orgContinue

Tags: learning, nature-based, farm, dairy

Started by Deanna Fahey Nov 29, 2015.

Rediscovering "Where Nature Meets Story" 4 Replies

In my search for good nature-based literature for my 6 and 8 year old boys, I recently rediscovered a fantastic resource we have right here with C&NN. Where Nature Meets Story has reignited my…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood. Last reply by Deanna Fahey Nov 6, 2015.

Children's and Teen Health Summit

Our very own Cheryl Charles will be presenting at the ONLINE Chiildren and Teen Health Summit that begins Monday, November 3rd! The event is online, and  you can listen whenever you want during that…Continue

Started by Carla Atherton Oct 31, 2014.

Raising Girls to Know Inner Beauty

This morning I was getting my haircut at a salon downtown, and I started looking around the room. All of the available reading material consisted of either beauty or home-cooking magazines. I was…Continue

Tags: Inner, Beauty, Health, Women's, Raising

Started by Emily Kent Sep 15, 2014.

Party in Nature With Your Kids

Looking for a fun and meaningful activity for kids this summer?Check out what could be the FEEL GOOD video of the year! It is…Continue

Tags: sing, connectedness, connected, dance, nature

Started by Dave Room Jul 18, 2014.

Need a way of getting the kids out into nature? 7 Replies

Hi all.Just wanted to let you know of a way to get kids out there in nature. It involves a smart-phone so that may just be the encouragement they need!I've recently created a resource (…Continue

Tags: learning, nature

Started by Stephen Bradley. Last reply by Stephen Bradley Jun 4, 2014.


Attention Family Nature Club Leaders and Zoo-Lovers!There is a wonderful grant opportunity that would foster a partnership between your Family Nature Club and your local AZA accredited zoo/aquarium!…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood May 10, 2014.

Kids to Parks Day - May 17th! 3 Replies

Hey there Natural Families and Family Nature Club Leaders!Wanted to be sure you are aware…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood. Last reply by Julie Osborn Garner May 4, 2014.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Natural Families to add comments!

Comment by Michele Whiteaker on June 7, 2011 at 9:20am

I wrote a PRINT article for OC Family magazine in Southern California about "The importance of play" and included quotes from Richard Louv's book - along with a call to families to start a Family Nature Club.  We've loved our experience and want others to get out and have some fun.  I also included references to and


The article is a pretty basic intro. It's on pages 34-35:


Hope you're all having fun and playing often!

Comment by Amy Jenkins on May 21, 2011 at 11:26am
Open-Air Parenting book wins literary award.  --Just found out that the parents from the Parent Approved/ Parent Tested endorsement organization have sanctioned Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting: It's an award winner! Very nice coming on the heals of a writing award.  Taking kids outside can be as easy as a mom and son on a nature walk.   (also of note: Saw Louve in Milwaukee last week. Awesome.  Loving his new book.)
Comment by amy pertschuk on May 1, 2011 at 7:43am
Comment by Ariella Randle Rogge on February 17, 2011 at 1:02pm

I just wanted to invite ALL families in the Natural Families Network to join C&NN, the American Camp Association, and Sanborn Western Camps for a #GNO (Girls/Guys Night Out) Twitter party on February 22nd from 9-11 EST.


It is a fun, interactive party where we will all exchange ideas about getting kids and families outdoors, discuss the benefits of summer camp, and much, much more.  Hope you will be able to join us! 


Check out: for more information and for a chance to win a tuition to the Sanborn Junior program at Sanborn Western Camps in Florissant, CO.

Comment by Janice Swaisgood on January 31, 2011 at 12:33pm
Congrats Chip and Ashley! Way to go... and go and go and GO!
Comment by Suz Lipman on January 31, 2011 at 12:09pm

Congrats NING members Chip and Ashley Donahue and their family nature club KIVA (Kids in the Valley Adventuring)  on 3 years of getting kids into nature.


Great job! Read about how KIVA got started and keeps going here:

Comment by Suz Lipman on January 27, 2011 at 12:07pm

This is a wonderful story from Alaska's Kids about the Anchorage Outdoor Family Network, featuring two of our forum members and their clubs -- Harmony Roll, Taiga Trekkers, and Lia Keller, Skedaddle. There's lots of inspiring information about starting a family nature club and about getting out in nature with kids and groups.


Congrats Harmony and Lia on your success. Here's a link to the article:


Comment by COA's Family Nature Camp on January 26, 2011 at 10:58am


Dear Natural Families members,

We would like to invite you to join us with your entire family this summer and delight in the wonder and adventure of the outdoors with the help of experienced teachers and naturalists in Bar Harbor Maine, home to Acadia National Park!

Register your family before Feb 28th, 2011 and receive special early bird discount! or call us for more information at 1-800-597-9500

or simply visit our website to learn more about how our program is connecting the entire family and nature through educational and fun field trips, nature activities, and free range, healthy, organic food!


Join our Family Nature Camp network and let other families know who may be interested in having a nature vacation in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.


Warm Regards,

Summer Programs at the College of the Atlantic



Comment by Kari on January 6, 2011 at 7:20am

Hi all,

Just wanted to tell you about a webinar I'm doing with Kaboom! 

Get Outside!: an All-Weather Guide to Outdoor Playgroups
January 10, 2011 at 1:00 PM EST, 12:00 PM CST, 11:00 AM MST, 10:00 AM PST
(60 minutes)

Join Kari Svenneby, founder of, for a complete guide to how to start your own Outdoor Playgroup, embrace the season with fun activities and get out there as a family. She'll share the story of, how it grew from one Norwegian mom living in Toronto who just wanted her kid to meet other kids outside to a national and international network of playgroups with the same aim: connecting children to the natural world. She'll also provide participants concrete strategies and techniques for successful and active playgroups in all types of weather, including the darkest days of winter! Register for this free webinar now!


Comment by Suz Lipman on December 22, 2010 at 11:16am
Has the Children & Nature Network changed your life? We're looking for testimonials. I started a discussion. Please come and add your thoughts.  In addition, you can read testimonials
that are up on the C&NN blog. Thanks for contributing and thanks
for all that you are already doing to get children into nature. I
hope you all have a fun and adventurous 2011.

Members (237)


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