3 Reasons We LOVE the New Sheboygan Co. Family Nature Club...& 1 Thing That Surprised Me

My kids love the outdoors. My littlest one likes it so much, in fact, that just running from the car into our house in the pouring rain causes sobs of protest once we’re inside…because no matter what, outside is always better.

Me, on the other hand…well, I like the outdoors. I like hiking and walking and the summer sun and pumpkin patch picking. Yet, I admit, I sometimes have a hard time mustering up the imagination for a variety of outdoor play. Other than chasing a ball or spending a few hours at a park, I find if I don’t have an activity to do with kids, I tend to keep us inside more than I’d like.

So when I came across the new Sheboygan County Family Nature Club, I knew it was something we had to try out. The nature club meets once a month on a completely drop-in schedule - that means there’s no commitment and no long-term sign up. Families come when they can by RSVP-ing before the monthly meet. That is a huge plus for hectic schedules!

My eldest son and I headed out to Camp Riversite – located near Sheboygan Falls – for our first nature club meet-up. We met up with parents and kids of all ages – from tiny infants in carriers, to school-age kids - this club welcome all ages!

Read on for the 3 biggest reasons we LOVE the new Family Nature Club:

#1: Best of Both Worlds!

The nature club is put together through a partnership by Bookworm Gardens and Riveredge Nature Center as a way to encourage families to get outside and explore the outdoors together.

That means we get the know-how

from the experts at the Nature Center combined

with the remarkable creativity from the team at Bookworm Gardens.

Lucky us!

#2: The Activities Gave Us Ways to Connect

This meet-up was all about campfire cooking and fall hiking. Various walking sticks were already cut and carved, waiting for us to put on our own creative touches with markers, colored string, beads, and feathers.

Jessica, our nature guide, led everyone on exploratory hike through the woods, through the tumbling leaves, past moss-covered stumps, pointing out unique natural sites along the way. The kids loved running along the trail, scrambling over fallen trees, and examining animal tracks.

As a parent, I loved hiking in a new place with my son and taking the time to examine how “cool” the different leaves were, and digging up acorn tops to collect for our nature journals.

The various activities gave us lots of chances to explore together in ways we hadn't before. The activities were simple enough to do together one-on-one with your child, or as a family with multiple children, making it easy to create your own family's experience.

Back at the gathering place, a crew had delicious campfire-cooked chicken waiting for us, and showed us all fun, easy techniques for Dutch-Oven cooking. We took our turns making campfire éclairs and different cobblers…and of course, s’mores!

#3. It's FREE!

The nature club will continue to meet every month in a variety of locations around Sheboygan County, and as a way to incorporate numerous family nature goals, the nature club encourages everyone to participate in the Nature Club Bucket List. Families list different activities they’d like to try out – such as snowshoeing, hiking in a new place, making musical instruments out of nature foliage, whatever you want! – and they will use those ideas to plan the next outings.

What an awesome way to explore our area!

And did I mention it’s all FREE?

It's always awesome to see my children discover and delight in new experiences.

What surprised me even more was

how much fun I had getting out of

my comfort zone and diving into something new!

I'm not exactly a city girl, but I'm not exactly a camp ranger either. So, to take a chance at making everyone Dutch-Oven Cobbler wasn't something I had planned on doing that night. But to show my son that I'm up for learning and having fun right alongside him, makes it something we'll both remember,

Taking the time during the week for a few hours of outdoor fun together was a blast, and gave me lots of ideas to do back home.

Join in the fun at the next Sheboygan County Family Nature Club!

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