Children's Wellness

Research continues to demonstrate that children having consistent, direct contact with nature are healthier, have higher skill and intelligence levels, and have fewer behavioral problems.

Benefits of attending these events:

  • Connect with others who are interested in connecting children with nature
  • Gain ideas for designing and implementing landscape features that interest children
  • Learn about plants and features that attract insects and wildlife

ExploreThe Nature Explore Classroom project, a collaboration of Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, provides guiding principles for designing outdoor spaces for children that is based upon their pioneering research.

Upcoming Children's Wellness Events


School of the Wild Garden Establishment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
School of the Wild Garden | directions

Would you like to connect kids to nature by helping establish raised beds in the newly designed School of the Wild Garden?


School of the Wild has been helping children develop a connection to the natural world since 1991.

Backyard Abundance has redesigned the School of the Wild Garden to help visitors learn to cultivate and harvest vegetables, herbs and native medicinal plants.

The garden was specifically designed to support the FOSS Curriculum so it could be used as a demonstration site that teachers could emulate for school campus gardens.

School of the Wild Perspective Design

Garden Establishment

Join us at the garden anytime between noon and 2 pm for fun in the great outdoors at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area.

The garden is located at the Bluestem Shelter. Look for the sign as you drive into the area.

Together we will...

What to Bring

Please wear standard gardening attire: hat, gloves, jeans.

If available, please bring wheel barrows, pitchforks, spades, steel rakes labelled with your name.

Growing Hope Event Series

This event helps people learn how to cultivate food, habitat and healing in the garden.

Learn about a wide variety of other family-friendly Growing Hope events.

Sponsors and Partners

Thank you to these wonderful sponsors and partners. Please frequent their stores, services and websites.

University of IowaDNR REAPBeisser LumberHy-VeeNew Pioneer


Past Children's Wellness Events

Creating Landscapes for Children

July 18, 2010

This event is divided into two sessions: a presentation and a yard tour. Please attend one or both.


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Southeast Junior High School, Band Room (131)
2501 Bradford Drive, Iowa City  directions
Cost: Free

Yard Tour
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Yard of Tony Malkusak
Cost: Free

Tony Malkusak designs children’s playgrounds for his living. But it has been a joy, not work, creating a play garden space at his home for his children and their neighborhood friends.

You can learn about ways to create your own nature friendly outdoor play space for your children or grandchildren by attending  his presentation at South East Junior High and follow-up yard tour on the east side of Iowa City.

Tony will show you easy ways to get your children outside doing nature art, utilizing loose parts (natural and recycled), building, and much more. Children who play outside regularly are less stressed, have fewer behavior problems and improved attention spans. Bring your children or grandchildren to this Backyard Abundance event and enjoy the fun!

Both events are free. Refreshments provided.

See photos of the playspace: Go to Abundant Landscapes