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4-H offers new nature-based family activities

PEKIN, Ill. - As Spring approaches in Illinois, many people are anxious for warmer weather that will allow them to spend more time outdoors. Although many people love being outdoors, it can sometimes be challenging to get children to spend time outside or to make the time to explore nature. A new program from 4-H will encourage folks to do just that.

Beginning in April, 4-H Adventures in Nature will release theme-based challenges at the beginning of each month. Families can choose to participate in as many of the challenges as they would like, and most challenges can be completed in any outdoor space. Prizes will be awarded to those that complete challenges and submit their results. Themes for the monthly challenges include:

  • April - Animals (Fauna)
  • May - Plants (Flora)
  • June - Water
  • July - Nature Art
  • August - Service & Stewardship

The culmination of the 4-H Adventures in Nature program will take place on Saturday, Aug 27 with an Outdoor Adventure Fun Day, where families will be able to try new activities, hear guest speakers, and explore outdoor spaces.

Still not sure this is for you? Research shows that spending time in nature can have a wide array of benefits for physical and mental health, such as lower blood pressure, reduced stress, better immune function, and increased fitness. Many of these benefits are particularly apparent in children, with studies indicating that time in nature can improve academic success and maybe even offset negative impacts from too much screen time. 4-H wants to help youth and families to reap these benefits!

Ready to commit? Then sign up at This program is free and open to the public, but families must be registered and report the results of their activities to earn prizes. If registrants need accommodations to participate, please contact Emily Schoenfelder, University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit 4-H educator at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

For more information about 4-H, in addition to other youth and adult programs offered through Extension, visit their website at

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

ABOUT 4-H: Illinois 4-H strives to help youth learn skills for living. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois. Illinois 4-H aims to impact the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.

WRITER: Emily Schoenfelder – 4-H Youth Development Educator, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit,, 309.347.6614