11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Falling in Love with Nature

It’s Fall, my favorite time of year- the crisp air, the changing leaves, walking through pumpkin patches… it is a great time to be outside.  Did you know that research suggests that spending time outside has significant psychological and physical health benefits?  But even more than just being outside, some studies show that spending time in nature has the greatest benefits (See Jill Suttie’s article on Why Trees Can Make you Happier). The Japanese have a term for this: “Shinrin Yoku” which means “taking in the forest” or “forest bathing”.  What’s great about this activity, is that it doesn’t require anything except for you to find a place where you can be surrounded by trees.  Nothing else. It is really that simple!  Spending time in nature and immersing your senses in the surrounding environment can lead to a decrease in stress and an increase in happiness.  It’s such a simple activity that the whole family can enjoy.  If you have active kids, you can take a walk in the woods and search for different colored Fall leaves around you.  For quieter kids (or a solo trip for you), you don’t have to move at all- you can find a quiet spot to sit and take in the beauty around you.  So get out there and reap the health benefits of hanging out with the trees.


Health & Wellness

Social-emotional learning

Grade Levels: Pre-K through High School

Age Levels: Choose from this list. Delete those that do NOT apply. 

  • Birth-36 months (infant/toddler)
  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)


Karena Rush


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Credit: on 10/28/2020

By Karena Rush

Hi Everyone! Welcome to our site! My name is Karena and I am a child clinical psychologist with a background in school psychology, education, and early childhood risk and prevention. I have worked in schools, hospitals, and community outreach settings with kids with all levels of abilities devoting most of my time to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of my passions is helping parents and teachers identify fun activities that can help build developmental and academic skills (aka- learning while playing!!). In fact, I have had the opportunity to work with toy developers and companies from around the world in developing and identifying toys that enhance learning. Outside of work, I love to travel and spend time outdoors with my two daughters and husband. I am so excited that you are visiting our site and hope you find our activities as fun as we do!

- A.B. Psychology, Bryn Mawr College
- M.Ed. Early Childhood Risk and Prevention, Harvard University
- M.S. Psychology, Louisiana State University
- Ph.D. Psychology: Child Clinical, Louisiana State University
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Kennedy Krieger Institute

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