Nature isn’t just a place for grown-ups; it’s where our childhood adventures begin, shaping who we become later on. Exploring forests, climbing trees, and playing in parks isn’t just fun—it’s essential for our brains and bodies. Let’s dive into how spending time in nature when we’re young can make a big difference in our lives as we grow up.

Kids are curious by nature, and being outside gives them endless opportunities to discover new things. Whether it’s finding bugs, building forts, or just wandering around, nature sparks our imagination and helps us think creatively. Studies show that spending time outdoors helps kids solve problems better and be more imaginative.







Sir David Attenborough once said, “By and large, children are better at understanding the natural world and as adults we should be making more opportunities for them to do that.” Columbia Springs aims to get as many children as we can out into nature via our wide variety of programming. From Nature Fun Days to Field Trips to our Salmon in the Classroom Program, we are inspiring children to see themselves as successful scientists and helping them to think critically about the environment and their role in connecting to it.

Nature is full of challenges, from climbing rocks to crossing streams. Facing these challenges helps kids become stronger and more confident. Research tells us that kids who play outside a lot feel better about themselves and handle stress better later in life. When we grow up around trees, rivers, and animals, we learn to love them and want to protect them. People who spent a lot of time in nature as kids tend to care more about the environment as adults. They’re more likely to recycle, save energy, and speak up for nature.

Playing outside is good for our bodies too. Running, jumping, and playing games help keep us strong and healthy. Studies show that kids who play outside have less chance of being overweight and get sick less often.

Growing up surrounded by nature is like having a superpower—it sets us up for a great life ahead. By exploring forests, climbing trees, and playing outside, we’re not just having fun; we’re building a better future for ourselves and our planet. So let’s keep exploring, keep playing, and keep being curious. Columbia Springs provides a perfect opportunity to connect with the outdoors right in the heart of Vancouver. With two miles of trails, diverse wildlife, and a lush urban forest, visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in nature’s wonders and experience the healing power of the outdoors firsthand. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a deeper understanding of the natural world, Columbia Springs offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Looking for a way to get out to Columbia Springs? Our next Guided Tour is coming up!

You’re invited! Join us for a Solstice Walk at Columbia Springs.

Have you ever wondered how old the fish are out in our round ponds, or what wildlife can be found around our site? Learn about all that Columbia Springs has to offer during one of our guided tours!

When: 5:30-6:30pm Thursday, June 20th
Where: Columbia Springs (12208 SE Evergreen Hwy, Vancouver, WA 98683)
What: A guided tour of Columbia Springs and the Vancouver Trout Hatchery.
How: Let us know you’re coming in advance by registering at

We will meet at 5:30pm. Wear good walking shoes and dress for the weather!



1. Child Development: “Kids and Nature: How Being Outdoors Shapes Our Minds”
2. International Journal of Environmental Health Research: “Kids’ Thoughts on Playtime and Outdoor Fun”
3. Environmental Education Research: “Growing Up with Nature: Why It Matters”
4. American Journal of Public Health: “Playing Outside and Staying Healthy 

Photos by Paul Peloquin