Leave No Child Inside

More than 65,000 People Stuck with Nature in June

This June, more than 65,000 children and their families explored the outdoors through Leave No Child Inside programs celebrating the world's oldest toy: the stick. The stick, inducted to the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2008, was the focus of a wide range of outdoor events across the metro region.

Why We Love the Stick:

  • It was inducted to the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2008.
  • It’s ubiquitous: we dare you to walk down the street without seeing one.
  • It’s versatile:  a stick can be a fishing rod, a tool to draw in the sand, a pirate sword, a skewer for roasting marshmallows . . .
  • It’s the original construction material:  think tepees and log cabins.  It works just as well for backyard forts.
  • It’s free!

Why Kids Should Play with Sticks:

  • Playing outside keeps kids active and healthy.
  • Outdoor play stimulates creativity and problem-solving abilities.
  • Exploring the outdoors is quality time for the whole family.
  • It’s free!

While Leave No Child Inside Month is officially over, many organizations offer fun family events throughout the year. Visit our calendar of events page to find one near you.

Nature Play Areas Across Chicago Wilderness

You can also encourage children to play with objects found in nature and explore the outdoors at one of a growing number of nature play areas in our region. Environmental educators are available to answer questions and suggest activities at all of the play spaces listed on this regional map:

Follow Chicago Wilderness Leave No Child Inside's board Nature Play Areas on Pinterest.


Get Involved!

  • Go outside! Take your family outside and look, listen, touch, and smell! Let your kids take the lead  with their natural curiosity, they will quickly find something for the family to explore, in any season, at any time. Enjoy the simple activity suggestions inspired by our Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights
  • Call your local forest preserve or conservation district, nature center, zoo, or other nature-oriented organization and ask about programs that feature outdoor play, discovery, and exploration.
  • Follow the Leave No Child Inside Twitter and Pinterest feeds, and the Chicago Wilderness Facebook page.