Connect with Nature in SF
Resources for STUDENTS, Parents and educators
Now more than ever, we need nature. Fresh air, exercise, and play bring a multitude of physical and mental health benefits including reduced stress and a stronger immune system. Nature helps us heal. It makes us and our children happier and more resilient.
Below is a collection of San Francisco-based resources for nature connection from our partners.
Hike, Walk & Run
Discover nature in your neighborhood—it’s everywhere, in parks, front gardens, and streetscapes (SF Environment) and visit SF’s many parks: SF Rec & Park, The Presidio, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, and SF Port Parks and Open Spaces
Make Nature Inspired Art
Draw or paint outside or from the window. Discover Nature Journaling and learn how to teach it (John Muir Laws/BayNature), create Park Art Projects (Parks Conservancy), try Neighborhood Nature Art (Green Schoolyards America). Find inspiration from the Anywhere Artist book to create with rocks, leaves, pine cones, and twigs (Hannibal Ferret Story Books)
Yoga, Dance & Stretching
In your neighborhood park, backyard, or in your home, take a minute to breathe, stretch and move your body. As a family, try yoga (Storyhive).
Explore! Look for bugs and other creatures
Use garden binoculars to help you look close (SF Botanical Gardens). Take pictures with a camera or phone. Use seek by iNaturalist, the family-friendly app that helps you identify and learn about species while earning badges (Cal Academy). Use Merlin to help identify birds (the Cornell Lab). Celebrate bugs with the Randall Museum.
plant a seed and watch it grow
Bring nature inside. Grow plants from with seeds you may already have in your kitchen (A piece of rainbow). Try growing your own beans (Food Corps), avocado (Avoseedo), and making seedling pots from toilet paper rolls (Instructables).
Celebrate the Earth
Catch a sunrise or sunset. Track the moon. Observe the clouds. Honor Earth Day and bring attention to climate justice by recycling materials to make #WindowEarths (Ruth Asawa School Environment Club). Learn about oceans with the Randall Museum.
Engage all of the senses
Find a spot in nature. Sit still and observe what you see, hear and feel.
Make delicious food together and appreciate the work that went into bringing your food to the table. Recipe ideas with lesson plans (Food Corps).
read about nature. Take story time outdoors if possible
Join the SF Public library Virtual Storytime with special guests like Mayor Breed! Tandem Partners in Early learning has storytime and activity guides for young children. Check out these multicultural book recommendations for K-5 plus virtual nature storytime ideas like Señorita Mariposa, a bilingual Spanish-English story about Monarch butterfly migration from the SF Botanical Gardens.
Go on a scavenger HUNT
Search for and identify natural objects in your backyard, on your block or at a nearby park. Try the Backyard and Neighborhood Native Species Bingo (Cal Academy), this one (REI), this one (Patterson Audubon), or create your own.
- Green Schoolyards America | Bringing Outdoor Learning Home
- SF Botanical Gardens | Family Activities
ONLINE LEARNING FOR KIDS
- Randall Museum | Bug Month Online, Ocean Week Online
- Exploratorium | Learning Toolbox
- SF Environment | Online Learning for Kids
- National Audubon Society | Audubon for Kids – explore and feel connected to the natural world.
- Wild Oyster Project | Printable activity pages for the whole family – Learn how oysters support the San Francisco Bay
- North American Association for Environmental Education | Online resources, tips, & support for every grade level
- Nature Conservancy | Nature Lab – Youth Curriculum Platform
- SF Public Library | Nature Boost: available for viewing as a YouTube playlist and Virtual Trailhead
- California State Parks | Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students
- 4-H | At Home – Explore fun, educational activities and learning experiences for kids and teens to do at home.
- SF Public Library | Enjoy the Library from Home with the Library’s robust digital services. Cardholders have 24/7 free access to eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, classes, and more.
- Virtual Field Trips for SFUSD classes
VIRTUAL NATURE VISITS
- Cal Academy | Academy@ Home (including Animal Webcams)
- Presidio Trust | Presidio at Home
- Google | National Parks Virtual Tours | Virtual Museum Tours | Visit Mars
- Monterey Bay Aquarium | 10 Animal Webcams
- San Diego Zoo | 11 Animal Webcams
- Children & Nature Network | FindingNature.org – A new national resource that will be updated each week with tips, tools, and blogs to help us stay connected to nature.