Families across the country are experiencing a record amount of time in front of electronic screens. Whether it’s related to work, school or entertainment, screen time seems to be a major part of daily life for most Americans. So, what can we do to combat the mind-numbing effects of too much screen time?

As an accredited facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the WNC Nature Center utilizes nature play spaces to encourage children and families to seek out fun and engaging experiences in nature. What is nature play? It provides an unstructured outdoor learning environment, where children can be active and think creatively while balancing on a log, building a fort or stacking rocks. Studies have shown that nature play can positively impact children’s cognitive, social and emotional development while building resilience and creativity. There are many ways families can engage in nature play at home to help revitalize the mind and body after excessive screen time.

Build an outdoor fairy house with sticks, rocks, flowers, feathers or any other materials your backyard may provide.

Pet rocks are still in!  Decorate a pet rock and make a home for it.

Make rubbings of rocks, leaves or other cool textures using a piece of paper and crayons. The rubbing can double as a nature themed bookmark.

Alphabet scavenger hunt: Go on a walk and try to identify something for every letter of the alphabet (ex: A for asphalt, B for berry bush, etc.).

The WNC Nature Center has several nature play areas for children and families to enjoy while visiting. Recently, the Rotary Club of Asheville and Rotaract Asheville refurbished their sponsored nature play space at the Nature Center. This volunteer group funded and installed new stump jumps, balance beams, a new sensory garden and more. We can't wait for you to see it for yourself when the Nature Center is able to reopen. Learn more about this project and Nature Center’s Nature Play areas at

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