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  • 10 Engaging Nature Play Activities for Kids
    In today’s digital age, where children are often immersed in screens and technology, it’s more important than ever to encourage them to connect with the natural world. Nature offers endless opportunities for exploration, creativity, and learning. Engaging in outdoor play not only promotes physical health but also nurtures imagination, problem-solving skills, and a sense of wonder. Here are 10 ideas for nature play activities that are designed to spark curiosity and foster a deeper appreciation for the world around them. Nature play provides countless opportunities for children to learn, explore, and grow. By engaging in outdoor activities like scavenger hunts, …
  • Exploring Parks with Children: Chehalis, Washington
    As parents and caregivers, we are constantly seeking ways to enrich our children’s lives, create lasting memories, and foster their physical and mental well-being. One of the simplest yet most fulfilling activities we can engage in with our kids is spending time outdoors. The abundance of parks in and around Chehalis offers endless opportunities for exploration, play, and relaxation. Do you need ideas for parks to visit? Keep reading! Now that you have some ideas of parks to visit, make a plan to visit a park today! Need tips on planning an adventure? Click here for great tips and resources.
  • Exploring Spokane: Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
    Spokane, Washington, nestled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, offers a plethora of outdoor activities perfect for kids to explore and enjoy. From scenic parks to adventurous trails, Spokane provides endless opportunities for outdoor fun. Here are some fun activities that will keep your kids entertained and engaged while experiencing the natural beauty of the area: Spokane, with its abundance of natural beauty and outdoor amenities, is the perfect playground for kids to explore, learn, and create lasting memories. Whether you’re seeking adventure in the mountains or leisurely strolls through parks, Spokane has something for every family to enjoy together. So …
  • Finding Nature in Your Neighborhood
    Spending time in nature does not mean a long drive out of the city and then a long hike along some predetermined trail. Spending nature can be as easy as walking out your front door and going on a walk. Nature walks are a great way to allow for hands-on learning, observation and are a great introduction to the outside world. Don’t wait, head out and find nature in your neighborhood today! Here are a few tips for finding nature on a simple neighborhood walk:
  • Gardening with kids
    When my children were young, they loved nothing more than “helping” me in the garden. Unfortunately, they could often be found pulling out my flowers as quickly as I could plant them. Finally, I got wise and gave them their own patch of dirt to dig in. Their curiosity was no surprise – gardening is natural fun for children. The opportunity to learn about how the sun, the rain, and even the worms play a part in making the world around us thrive is a great hands-on introduction to science! Gardening also gives them an opportunity to care for and …
  • Go outside today and everyday!
    Time outdoors is essential for overall health. With the continuing Covid-19 Pandemic, it is important to find time to safely spend time outdoors. As we head into the Winter holiday season, spending time outdoors and in nature with family is a wonderful way to celebrate the season. We all have to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet to protect ourselves and others everywhere all the time. Don’t forget your mask! During this extraordinary COVID Pandemic you have created a schedule for your family.  It includes outdoor time, but what can you actually do?  Nature exploration! Wednesday, November 11th and Friday, …
  • Our Commitment to Breaking Down Barriers Caused by Racial Inequality
    BestStart Washington is committed to ensuring that all children and youth in Washington state  have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. We recognize that entrenched structural racism is an unacceptable barrier to child health and potential. In our pediatric practices, we see first-hand the negative health outcomes that arise from racism including increased infant mortality, low birth weight, increased incidence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), decreased school readiness, higher school drop-out rates, and mental health problems stemming from chronic stress. We agree with our partners in King County that racism is a public health crisis with many families of …
  • Exploring Nature From Your Doorstep
    During this extraordinary COVID Pandemic you have created a schedule for your family.  It includes outdoor time, but what can you actually do?  Nature exploration! Even though we have a Stay-At-Home order, with social distance we can still enjoy nature.  Governor Inslee said: “If you feel like going for a walk, gardening, going for a bike ride, we consider these things to be essential activities too for everyone’s physical and mental health. We all just have to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet to protect ourselves and others everywhere all the time.” Time outdoors is essential for overall …
  • Nature Play Kits Bring Smiles to Little Faces
    A bag to collect pine cones and rocks. A bug jar to safely view insect pals. A kite to send soaring in the sky. A child’s beautiful smile.  In my practice as a pediatrician, I see a range of emotions in my clinic. When a little face lights up, it makes my day. My colleagues and I at Project Nature are seeing more and more smiles since we’ve been handing out nature play kits this past year in selected clinics. We offer these kits along with information that includes brochures and website activities and places directories with the hopes that …
  • Family Adventure in the Cascades
    The Cascade Mountain Range extends from British Columbia all the way to California with miles of hiking, snow-shoeing, skiing and cross-country skiing trails. The Washington Cascades are just a few hours from Seattle and offer countless opportunities for outdoor adventures with some of the best camping, backpacking and mountain climbing available.  North Cascades Central Cascades  South Cascades  Cascade Loop Scenic Drive 
  • 5 Easy Day Hikes in Western Washington
    Franklin FallsAt just 2 miles round-trip with about 100 feet of elevation gain, Franklin Falls is a favorite hike for families with young children. The promise of seeing a waterfall can be a great motivator on the trail, and the rocky beach below the falls provides plenty of entertainment once you reach your destination (little ones will need supervision on slippery rocks).  The trail has plenty of shade, making Franklin Falls a popular destination on hot summer days, but it’s also a fun one to check out in the winter, when the falls form dramatic icicles! Distance: 2 miles Getting …
  • Explore the Olympics
    Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula is home to some of the most impressive wilderness in the United States. Located along the pacific coast, the Olympic National Park and Hoh Rain Forest offer spectacular views, impressive hikes and fun for all ages.  The Hoh Rain Forest gets over 170 inches of rain annually and is home to the largest old-growth stands in the northern hemisphere. Head out along the almost 1 mile Hall of Mosses trail for views of draping club moss, lichen and Sitka spruce. The slightly longer 1.2 mile Spruce Nature Trail allows for views of the Hoh River. Both …
  • 10 Seattle Area Beaches for Exploration with Kids
    Seattle offers many scenic and accessible beaches to explore. From the tidepools of Golden Gardens to pocket beaches and the more family-friendly sandy shores, there is a beach for almost every season.  Discovery Park  This 534 acre park located on the shores of Puget Sound is Seattle’s largest park. There are over 11.81 miles of walking trails and two miles of protected tidal beaches in Discovery Park with so much to explore. The hike to the beach provides views of dramatic sea cliffs, active sand dunes, thickets and streams. For those unable to make the hike to the beach, you …
  • Happy Summer from Dr. Kimberlee Hauff
    As a mom of a curious and thoughtful toddler, pediatrician, and new member of the Project Nature team; I wanted to take the chance to introduce myself and yell from the porch “HAPPY SUMMER!” As my introductory blog post, I wanted to write as a mom and take off my pediatrician “hat” for a bit (we’ll save that for future blog posts). Parenting a toddler can be taxing, no doubt. My daughter Enli and I are in the thick of tantrums, learning how to express our emotions, and working on transitioning to preschool this fall. While the weather can certainly …
  • Seven Waterfall Hikes for the PNW Family
    Some of the best hikes in the PNW include waterfalls for an experience that include all of your senses and inspirational views. Pack up your little hiking partner(s) for a spectacular experience with our list of waterfall hikes for the entire family. Do check Washington Trails Assocation’s trip reports before heading out to check current conditions and never head into the direct stream of a large waterfall to avoid potentially dangerous loose rocks. When wading into shallow pools of water, check for animals and wear sturdy shoes while also keeping a close eye on children Twin Falls Distance: 3 miles …
  • Take a Biking Adventure Through Nature
    Biking has always been a fun family activity loved by millions for generations. It is a great outdoor activity for all ages. Washington has often been called the hub of biking and cycling in the Pacific Northwest filled with trails for all skill levels. Regardless of where you go biking will be a fun journey through nature. It is important to understand all the necessary safety precautions before you head off into your nature journey. First thing is first, don’t forget your helmet, kneepads, elbow pads, and any other safety guards you or your family may need. Make sure to …
  • The Magic of Butterflies
    Butterflies are magical. They have amazing color, seem to float effortlessly, visit so briefly and are scarce and fragile. From your child’s first exposure to The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, to their first live butterfly sighting, they likely have been enchanted with metamorphosis and the acrobatics of butterflies. The Tropical Butterfly Garden at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle is a great place to view many species of butterflies, rain or shine. Washington also has regional demonstration gardens that you can visit for ideas about plants that attract butterflies and to see some butterflies flitting about. To support …
  • 20 Amazing PNW Hikes to do with Kids
    Hiking with kids can be a wonderful adventure and an opportunity to create great learning experiences. Getting out in nature helps ground the soul and also might provide a chance for quiet conversation with your kid. Hiking provides an open space for creative play which all children (and adults) benefit from. Additionally spending time in nature naturally shifts our focus to the outside world and is a healthy form of stress-management. Here is a list of 20 amazing hikes to do with your kids: Washington Park Arboretum – This park hosts over 230 acres of lush and diverse greenery with …
  • Explore the Washington State Coast
    The Washington Coast provides miles and miles of rugged beauty with hundreds of trails for exploration. Hop onto US Route 101 and get ready to explore all along this wild and sometimes remote coastline. Check out these destinations that offer a glimpse of all the Evergreen State’s coastline has to offer. Cape Disappointment Located at the northern mouth of the Columbia River is Cape Disappointment. This amazing state park offers zero disappointment along with eight miles of hiking trails and a campground with yurts, RB and tent sites. A picturesque lighthouse sits above this chaotically, beautiful place. Cape Disappointment is …
  • The Pacific Northwest–a Haven for Urban Wildlife
    Seattle’s more than 400 parks, 130,000 trees and almost 86 miles of shoreline mean the city is an abundant host for wildlife–and not only the usual raccoons and squirrels. Seattle has much, much more to offer in the way of urban wildlife than most cities. It’s possible to spot transient deer lurking in greenbelts in the city along with coyote packs. Birds are plentiful too, with peregrine falcons flying overhead as well as crows, pigeons, starlings and over 80 other bird species. Urban wildlife also abounds throughout the Puget Sound corridor in and around city and county parks. Birds The …
  • Biking with Kids
    In an effort to stay active and spend time outdoors, more families are taking the streets on two wheels rather than four. The benefits are multiple: spend quality time together, keep the whole family fit, and care for the environment all at once. With the right equipment and a bit of planning, cycling with kids can be easy and fun. Equipment Start at the top: helmets that are in good condition and fit well are a necessity. Small children can be resistant to wearing a helmet, but be firm about this one. They got used to seatbelts; they’ll learn to …
  • Stargazing in the Pacific Northwest
    High above the Pacific Northwest lies a star filled sky with bright stars, fleeting comets and planets. While city light can sometimes make it hard to spot stars, if you look hard enough you can usually find a few constellations. If you can, head out of the city for a truly spectacular show. In the winter, the most prominent constellation is Orion, the Hunter. This one is easily spotted by looking towards the southwest for a band of three stars which represent Orion’s belt. To the upper right of the belt is Bellatrix, a bright blue star as Orion’s left …
  • Access to Parks and Green Space Improve Health
    “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.” – John Burroughs We often think of parks and green space in terms of recreation. More than 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban and suburban areas, and we spend an increasing amount of time connected to electronics and detached from nature. We visit parks for fun–a picnic, a playground, or a walk in the woods. But access to nature is also vitally important for another reason: health. Connecting children and families with nature and its health benefits  is …
  • 3 Steps to Boost Outdoor Time — and Health
    Project Nature is in the news! Click here to read Drs Pooja Tandoon and Kyle Yasuda’s OpEd in the Seattle Times.  Op Ed, reprinted below. Kids today spend less time outside than any previous generation. That’s probably not a surprise — we live in a world filled with big screens, small screens, screens that attach to your wrist and screens that attach to your face. When combined with factors like busy lifestyles, shrinking access to natural spaces and parks, schools cutting opportunities for outdoor play, and neighborhoods that may not feel safe, it’s no wonder most children fall well short …
  • Up Close with Sea Creatures of the Pacific Northwest
    Living in Washington State, we are lucky to have endless miles of coastline in thanks to the Pacific Ocean and the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea is the inland sea that encompasses Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands and the waters off of Vancouver, BC. Spanning from Olympia in the south to the Campbell River, British Columbia in the north, and west towards Neah Bay. These beautiful coastlines contain thousands of sea creatures from Mussels to Orcas, Starfish, Northern Clingfish to the infamous GeoDuck. Grab a bucket, rain boots and your camera along with an adventurous spirit and head out …
  • Take a Breather in Nature
    Close your eyes and focus on breathing.  Now picture yourself in a place where you are completely relaxed. For many of us, our minds take us to an outdoor setting in a place with natural beauty and sounds. Perhaps it’s near a mountain with a majestic view, or on a beach with water sounds and nearby birds. We as humans are wired to spend time outdoors. However, children in the United States are spending much less time outdoors today than their parents and grandparents did. The lack of nature contact impacts both body and brain, affecting how we feel physically as …
  • Park Visits for Pennies
    Living in Washington, we’re lucky to have an abundance of natural areas to visit, including 125 state parks and 15 national park areas. To avoid spending a fortune on entrance fees, take advantage of these programs that encourage families to get outdoors. Washington State Parks Visiting Washington State Parks requires a “Discover Pass” for entrance. The most economical option is to purchase an annual pass for $30 if you anticipate visiting parks more than three times each year, as the daily pass is $10. Even better, there are some ways to get into our state parks for free. Volunteer! IF …
  • Rain or Shine! Get outside with the Whole Family!
    Rainy weather doesn’t mean the end of outside activities. Physical activity is important for everyone but it is even more important for kids. Getting time in the outdoors is vital to everyone’s health. Heading outside helps keep up Vitamin D levels which are important for growing bones and brain development. Just 20 minutes outside gives everyone their essential dose of Vitamin D. Put on some warm gear, pull on the rain boots and get ready to get outside, rain- or shine. Here is a list of fun activities to do as a family, in any kind of weather. Head out …
  • Behind the Scenes at the Zoo
    What Happens Behind the Scenes at the Zoo? A trip to the zoo is a fantastic way to spend a day with kids. The animals are fun to watch, there is usually plenty of space to roam and some zoos offer special play areas or exhibits. There is so much more happening behind the scenes though. Zoo are expensive to run and require long hours with challenging animal requirements but those who do it, wouldn’t trade their jobs for anything. Zoos have changed over the years and now feature more naturalistic exhibits with nationwide captive breeding program. A zookeeper’s day …
  • Happening this Weekend… Outside!
    There is so much happening this weekend… outside! There are so many opportunities to get outside in the next few days. Looking for ideas? Visit the Project Nature activity page and search for activities near your family. Staying close to home? Visit the Project Nature resource page, blog, Instagram or Pinterest for ideas about how to spend time outside with your family. Before you start clicking away, keep reading to learn about what is happening throughout the greater Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia area this weekend. Go outside today and everyday!   Family Nature Class Join us for a Family Nature Class and make …
  • Explore Amazing Parks throughout King County
    King County is packed with great parks to explore and give kids some room for risky play. The playground can be a wonderful place for kids to run, swing and jump but don’t go to the same park you usually frequent! Mix it up and find new places for outside fun and family entertainment. Here is a list of parks and playgrounds in King County packed full of adventure. Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island Mercer Island is home to this fantastic park situated along the shores of Lake Washington. The vast park has tennis courts, nature trails, sandy beaches …
  • Happening this Weekend!
    Happy Friday! With lots of beautiful Fall weather ahead, start planning today for a weekend full of outdoor, nature-based activities. Visit the Project Nature discover page to learn about activities happening  near you this weekend. Below are a few ideas to get you started planning! Camp Long Fall Family Forest Adventure! Spiders! Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station. Super Squash Scavenger Hunt Family Nature Class Green Tacoma Day Toddler Trails and Tails Bear Creak Salmon Viewing Slug Celebration Walk
  • 6 Seattle Parks off the Beaten Path
    Queen Anne: Parsons Garden A hidden oasis just down the road from the busier Kerry Park, Parsons Garden was donated to the city by the Parsons family in 1956. This tranquil spot offers plenty of shady areas for a picnic, benches, and a grassy lawn – it’s especially worth stopping by for a dose of Vitamin N (nature!) when the flowering trees are in bloom! Cross the street to tiny Marshall Park for a view of Puget Sound.    Ballard: Kirke Park Kirke (church in Norwegian) Park was home to the Church of the Seventh Elect in Spiritual Israel for …
  • 10 Outdoor Nature Games for Kids
    Getting your kids outside can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. Challenge your kids to play some nature games outside and before you know it, they’ll be begging to play more outdoor games. Most of these games require little preparation and few supplies while a few require some planning ahead. All will be a hit with your family! Nature I-Spy Take a Nature walk around your neighborhood or local park. Quiz your child by having them guess what you are spying. Start with “I spy something green” and see how long you can keep the game going and what …
  • Find Urban Nature in Your Backyard
    Nature is often thought of as being far away from the city, untouched by humans. In reality, nature can be found in the dense, urban environment of a city. Nature is everywhere, sometimes you just need to look a bit harder for it. Below are a few ideas to find nature in your neighborhood. Take a Walk Head out on a walk around your neighborhood the early morning to find urban wildlife. Hit the streets before the hustle and bustle of the day to find birds, raccoons, squirrels, rats, bugs and maybe even a coyote. Go on a Leaf Hunt …
  • 50 Fall Activities for Families
    Autumn is a spectacular season with crisp leaves and cooler weather. Take advantage of the changing season by enjoying some fall specific outdoor activities like going apple picking or jumping in a leaf pile. We put together a list of our favorite 50 fun fall outdoor activities so you can enjoy this season to its fullest.     Here are 50 fun fall outdoor activities for kids: 1) Go Apple Picking 2) Get lost in a Corn Maze 3) Visit a pick-your-own pumpkin patch 4) Jump into a leaf pile 5) Play “I Spy” during a nature walk 6) Collect …
  • Happening This Weekend- Go Outside Today and Everyday
    This weekend marks the official beginning of Fall.  Visit the Project Nature Activities page to discover events happening this weekend in and around the Greater Seattle area. Keep reading below to learn more about events happening outside this weekend. Go outside today and everyday! Happy Fall! Cast Off – Sunday Public Sail Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 at 1010 Valley St, Seattle, WA 98109 Take the fam to The Center for Wooden Boats to sail around Lake Union in classic wooden boat! Before or after your sail take a walk on the docks and discover the unique boats, watch the volunteer crews rigging the boats, …
  • The Time is Now for Project Nature
    Welcome to Project Nature As a pediatrician, I am passionate about the health benefits of a childhood spent in nature. These benefits are many—increased curiosity, attention, school performance, and pro-social behaviors as well as lower risk to develop obesity, ADD/HD, anxiety and depression. Children who are connected to nature are more willing to protect nature and wildlife as adults. There can be many barriers for parents and caregivers to give children the gift of time in nature. They may also lack understanding of these benefits and may not know where to start. The time is now for Project Nature My …
  • Parks and Your Health
    We often think of parks and green space in terms of recreation. More than 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban and suburban areas, and we spend an increasing amount of time connected to electronics and detached from nature. We visit parks for fun – a picnic, a playground, or a walk in the woods. But access to nature is also vitally important for another reason: health. According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), people of all ages are healthier when they have easy access to natural spaces. Here are a few of the ways your health may …
  • Find Fun in the Snow
    Winter is a great time to get out and enjoy snow adventures! Luckily for us here in the Pacific Northwest, snow play is a short drive away. The opportunities for fun include sledding, snowshoe adventures, tubing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and more. Kids of all ages can enjoy almost all snow activities with a few modifications. Make sure to have everyone wear appropriate weather clothing and shoes along with packing hearty snacks and lots of warm liquids. Here is a list of all the best places to find snow adventure within a few hours of Seattle. Snoqualmie Summit The Summit …