Natural Families

Nature Clubs and More

Natural Families

Families are direct decision makers in the lives of children and must be at the forefront of this movement.The Natural Families Network engages thousands of parents and families from across the country and around the world in frequent, active time together in the natural world. Groups of families organized into Family Nature Clubs help to break down barriers to getting out in nature, bringing together families from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and across generations. Family Nature Clubs also foster quality time together with family and friends.

Family Nature Clubs

Family Nature Clubs worldwide are dedicated to helping people get time in nature back on the family calendar by providing regular opportunities to engage in hikes, paddles, camping trips and other fun outdoor family activities. These experiences help to give families a sense of place, allow for free play in nature, and familiarize them with the many opportunities for outdoor recreation in their neighborhoods. Historically, Family Nature Clubs have been very grassroots and organic by nature, perhaps started by families just like yours. Additionally, through large-scale partnerships with organizations that also seek to serve families in nature, C&NN is growing participation in Family Nature Clubs worldwide.

Family Nature Clubs


There are no webinars scheduled at this time. Click here to view recordings of past NFN webinars.


Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Canadian Wildlife Federation


Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund

Program Director:

Janice Swaisgood, Director
Natural Families Network

Nature Clubs for Families FAQs

Why is “free play in nature” so important for kids? What’s the big deal?

If you think about it, in most parts of the developed world, many children face a day full of structured activities: school, sports, music, dance, tutoring, etc. They just don’t have the same time or opportunities for free nature play like people did just a couple of generations ago. When children don’t have time to play outdoors in the natural world, they can miss out on many aspects of their social, physical, and mental development. For more information on the value of free play in nature, click here to see what the latest research says.

My daughter is afraid of bugs and doesn’t want to get dirty. What can I do?

Your daughter isn’t alone. Many people report fear of bugs as one of the main reasons they don’t get outside. Start by knowing what the legitimate dangers are, then reassure her that most bugs are harmless and will leave her alone if she respects their space. Most people’s comfort levels increase over time with each experience. The same can be said for comfort in getting wet or dirty. Find out why your child doesn’t want to get dirty and help her, little by little, expose herself to more.


What is the difference between a Natural Family and a Family Nature Club?

When we refer to a “Natural Family,” we are probably talking about a family much like yours: one who chooses to make time to play, learn, and explore in nature on a regular basis. A “Natural Family” may or may not be part of a Family Nature Club. Families who are members of a Family Nature Club are likely to be considered a Natural Family as well. Family Nature Clubs are essentially made up of a group of people who get together to play, learn and explore in nature on a regular basis.


How can I find out if there’s a Family Nature Club near me?
Many Family Nature Clubs self-register in our Movement Directory. Visit the directory  to find out if there is a Club near you — you can search by country, state and zip code. If there isn’t a Club near you, maybe you should start one yourself!



I think I’d like to start a Family Nature Club. How do I get started?
Starting a Family Nature Club can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t need to be, and the benefits are great. Start by downloading and reviewing the free toolkit.  For some extra motivation and inspiration, we also created a short video in which you will hear four families share their insights and experiences in their Family Nature Club. Once you’re up and exploring, be sure to register your club in our Movement Directory.
What about liability? Do I need to get insurance?
Most Family Nature Clubs that are started by families don’t have liability insurance. Ultimately, the decision is yours. If you don’t have insurance, it is a wise idea to include a release of liability and a photo release form at the top of each sign in sheet. Click here for an example.  It is also very important that you explicitly state at each outing that parents are responsible for their own children at all times.

“What if more and more parents, grandparents and kids around the world band together to create outdoor adventure clubs, family nature networks, family outdoor clubs, or green gyms? What if this approach becomes the norm in every community?”

Richard Louv

Co-Founder and Chair Emeritus, Children & Nature Network

Clif Kid Come Out to Play


C&NN’s friends at Clif Kid are dedicated to reclaiming play. They’re encouraging boys and girls everywhere to get back outside, push their boundaries, and feed their adventures.

Find out more at


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