San Francisco Children & Nature

Young girl building a tower out of rings of wood
Kids building with pieces of wood, sticks, and pine cones
Woman and child fishing
Woman and children playing with plants
Woman reading a book to kids outdoors
Woman holding a snake for kids to interact with
Young girl holding a small plant
Kids building a shelter out of sticks
Girl building with rings of wood

Research shows that children who experience meaningful connections to nature in their daily lives are healthier, happier and more resilient. Yet today’s kids spend half the time playing outside than their parents did. Let’s change that! 

San Francisco Children & Nature is a citywide collaborative that works to address the disparities in nature access along socioeconomic and racial lines to ensure all children have the opportunity to play, learn and grow in the outdoors. 

Founded in 2017 as part of the national Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) initiative, SF Children & Nature includes active participation from over 30 government agencies, non-profit institutions, and community-based organizations

Together, we make it easier for youth to have frequent and quality experiences in nature by:

  • expanding opportunities for nature connection in early education, schools, and neighborhoods
  • and advocating for places, programs, and policy that support our mission. 

Current programs include: 

  • Nature Play Days for preschoolers in neighborhood parks
  • Create-with-Nature programming at community events and neighborhood street fairs 
  • Professional development workshops for educators with local and international experts
  • Repurposing downed park trees and stumps to support nature play at early childhood and K-12 play spaces
  • Development of Nature Exploration Areas where kids are encouraged to touch and climb, balance on tree trunks, create and explore with all of their senses. 
  • Camp Mather Scholarship Program to provide equitable opportunities for SF families to play outside together

We’re building a network of nature play advocates, teachers, parents, young people, planners, designers, managers, coaches, city officials, directors and community leaders to work together to make lasting change.

For more information, visit or contact