The outdoors is one big playground and learning centre at any time of year. It’s easy to access (even in the heart of the city) and it’s free! Recent research shows that “nature deficit disorder” is something we should take seriously. We have become so removed from nature that it is having a negative effect on our health and our kids — physically, emotionally and mentally. Apparently, kids even do better on school test scores when they spend time in natural surroundings.

Here’s something you can do right in your own backyard.

 Take a nature walk to look for interesting stones, pebbles or rocks in your garden, a park or along a country lane.
 Collect a few specimens, wash them, add some paint to transform them into “pet rocks” or paperweight presents.
 For added features, use white glue to stick bits of fabric or googly eyes in place.
 For a shiny finish, add clear varnish or nail polish.