Mother Nature often takes a backseat in our hectic lives, but let's take a moment and change that. There are so many cool and fun ways to incorporate nature in your family's everyday lives. From camping in the backyard to star-gazing from your child's bedroom window, it doesn't take much to enjoy the simple beauty around us and spark your kids' interest.
1. Get them interested at a young age.
Kids like stuff — take them outside and let them start a collection, Leaves, rocks, anything that's appealing to young eyes and hands. It can be as simple as collecting natural items in small bags and taking them home to sort and describe. "You have to appeal to the little hoarder in your child," says Willie Geist.
2. Let them get dirty.
Kids never shy away from mud. Planting is a good way to get their hands dirty, and they can have the excitement of checking their plants daily to see if they've bloomed yet. You can always wash their hands later.
Start a modern-day treasure hunt by heading to geocaching.com and locating a hidden treasure in your area. Follow the online coordinates and clues, locate the hidden treasure, and be sure to put it back for the next hunter.
4. Immerse yourself in nature.
You can start with a simple tent in the backyard, or visit one of the country's vibrant national parks. Over 292 million people visited U.S. national parks in 2014.
5. Just slow down.
When you're outside with your kids, slow things down. Let them point things out — a tree, a snail, an unusual leaf. And don't be afraid to utilize your smartphone to help you learn more about what you're seeing — you don't even have to go inside to do it.
A version of this article was first published in April of 2015. TODAY contributor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper contributed to this story.