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


International Mud Day

Thursday, June 29, 2017

International Mud Day is children and early childhood professionals all over the world celebrating nature, outdoors, and mess by getting really muddy.

Share your muddy stories and learn more:


School of the Wild Garden Bed Establishment

Thursday, June 29, 2017
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
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 Bed Establishment

Join us at the garden anytime between 9:00 am and 11:30 am for a fun morning in the great outdoors at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area.

Together we will...

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

What to Bring

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

If available, please bring pitchforks and 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


Summer Camp: Pollinator Garden

Monday, July 17, 2017
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center | directions

Iowa City Parks and Recreation offers summer camps to children of all ages.

Pollinator Garden

At the camp, Mike Fallon with Backyard Abundance, hosts a "Grow a Pollinator Garden" activity.

During this fun, engaging activity, children learn how to create a pollinator garden of native plants. All participants go home with a free bag of materials for starting a small garden in their landscape.


The activity happens in the new Edible Classroom on the south side of the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center.


Learn more about registering for summer camps


The event is funded by the Rockwell Collins Green Communities program and the Iowa Native Plant Society.


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