Communities have much to offer in the lives of our children, as well as for us adults. Chances are, if you are part of an outdoor play community, you've already felt the benefits of having like-minded and supportive people around you. You know how special these groups are in your weekly rhythms. If you haven't yet found your outdoorsy people, here are some of our favorite benefits to taking part in a community, once you connect with a true fit for your family.

Photograph Courtesy of family+footprints.


01. Like-Minded Styles

There are as many ways to engage in outdoor play as there are to parent. Folks can have different philosophies which make way for different approaches to natural learning. Within a community, you can find much support from like-minded families who have similar styles to your own, as well as ideas for how to incorporate new elements under a collective philosophy.

02. Trust

Trust is a major benefit of finding and surrounding yourself with people who mirror many of your same philosophies. There can be trust in the experience your children will have and trust in their interactions with both other children and adults. How reassuring. And when we trust the process of forest play and our forest friends, this can help form deeper relationships and greater happiness with the entire experience.

03. Friends

There is a beauty to spending time in the woods on our own, as much as there is to spending time in the natural world as a family. Add to that a new layer of also spending time with others. When we explore the outdoors together, friendships begin to form and we create a whole new set of memories and developmental experiences. Watch as your children discover, create, collaborate, communicate, laugh, challenge, inspire, support and learn with one another.

04. Resources

Do you have questions about your outdoor or natural-related experiences? Do you have ideas that you'd like to try out? Are you curious about reading materials, gear and supplemental events? Your community is a wonderful sounding board. Either in person or as you continue your conversations online, chances are your group has a wealth of information just based on their own walks of life, and as a group of supportive friends they are often happy to share, help answer questions and collaborate on ideas that benefit the group as a whole.

05. Deeper Relationships + Experiences

As you make friends and figure out the adventures that your children naturally gravitate to, you may find relationships and experiences deepening. Forest friendships may blossom into something greater, where you become friends outside the woods or outside your set gathering time. And as your children play, create and explore, you may discover interests that crossover into other opportunities as well. Perhaps from that, your entire community evolves to allow for these offshoots or you and a few families may find that your connection is unique and you spend more time together.

What do YOU think? What other benefits have you found from forming an outdoor community? Still searching for your group? We'd love to help. Check out our locations of growing communities.

Get Our Free Guide

Sign up for our newsletter and receive Forest School For All's free guide, Outdoor Play: Top 10 Tips for Unstructured, Free Play.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 6.30.24 PM