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Image via Walk Score

Use Walk Score to your advantage

Of all the tools urban dwellers have at their disposal, Walk Score is hands down one of the very best. Walk Score’s mission is to promote walkable neighborhoods for all families and individuals, making their service utterly useful if you’re looking for a new place to live. Walk Score allows you to enter any address in over 10,000 neighborhoods in almost 3,000 cities across the United States, Canada, and Australia and it’ll shoot you back a walk score for that dwelling. You can also get scores for entire cities, look up apartment listings and find out how transit-friendly an area is, for example, how many bus lines or bike trails are nearby. Basically, if you’re not sure how much green space is in an area, how easy it is to walk places, or what parks might be nearby, Walk Score can totally help you map out the best places in your area to live. If you’re looking to make a big move, you may also want to check out the 25 best cities for kids to play outside.

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Image via Pixabay

Get outside every weekend (and on weekdays!)

Many city kids live near parks, hiking trails, school yards or other green spaces. Make a concentrated effort to get to those places on the weekends or even after dinner a few weekdays a week. Even getting outside in an urban area can be healthier for kids than being stuck inside all the time. You and your kids can still identify trees, plants and some city creatures, all while getting a breath of fresh air. Many cities put out guides about the best places for kids, so check with your local visitors center to get the scoop. You can also use the following links to your advantage.

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Image via Unsplash

Make the most of vacations

As an urban family, don’t visit other urban places on vacation. Hit the beach, hit the mountain, hit the woods and any other place that’s nature packed. You don’t need to stay inside when you’re on vacation. A memorable camping trip, hike or other outdoor adventure will be remembered and treasured by your kid for years to come. See the following links for ideas.

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Image via Pixabay

Choose the right schools, camps and other activities

For apartment and city bound kids, the right school, camp or activity setting can make all the difference. If you have a choice, find a school that offers plenty of free play time, preferably in an outdoor setting, and focus, at least some of the time, on nature-minded education. Same for after school programs. Summer camp is an awesome and fun way to bring nature to city kids for a big chunk of the year. Both day camps and sleepover camps are available all over the country and can really impact your child, especially if he’s stuck inside often during the school year. Even city camps are a good bet as they tend to do the work of searching out those green spaces nearby such as fountains, parks and bike trails. Lastly, you can easily get your child involved in groups, like the Girl Scouts, that focus on healthy activities outdoors.

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Image via Unsplash

Bring nature inside

While not as useful as actually getting outside, you can bring some nature to your apartment bound child in the form of indoor projects, objects and other activities. NOTE: Always make an effort to get outside into nature, but when you can’t the following ideas may help.

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Image via Shutterstock

Loosen up!

Urban and apartment bound kids need to go outside on their own. As a parent I know you’re worried about your kids being outside alone. I get it. No one wants their kid to be that one kid who is harmed or kidnapped or hurt while playing. However, there’s a limit to my patience when I see kids stuck inside for their entire childhood. Even if you live in an urban area, the world is ultimately safer than it used to be when us kids of the 70s and 80s used to play outside alone for hours on end. This isn’t some blanket statement to get you to let your kids run free – it’s an actual fact. Research also shows that kids who are allowed to be on their own in the world, at least some of the time, gain street smart skills that will benefit them for a lifetime, whereas kids stuck inside don’t get that chance.