ecohappiness challenge, happy science mom, sandi schwartz

In this episode, I’m chatting with “Happy Science Mom” Sandi Schwartz about how we can use nature to help us – and our kids – feel happier during COVID-19 and beyond. At the time of our recording, Sandi was on Day 66 of her “Ecohappiness” Challenge, and she’s shooting for 100 days of doing something nature-related to improve her well-being. We talk about some of the very doable, simple activities she’s tried as well as the benefits of getting ourselves outside.
Grab Sandi’s FREE 30-Day Ecohappiness Challenge Calendar filled with fun and relaxing activities for your family to enjoy together without even leaving your own neighborhood.
Sandi Schwartz, Ecohappiness Challenge

Sandi Schwartz, Photography by: ©Michael B. Lloyd

Sandi is the writer behind the blog Happy Science Mom. She has also published hundreds of articles in outlets such as Motherly, Scary Mommy, and more, and recently her blog was listed in Feedspot’s list of Top 100 Mom Blogs Every Mommy Must Read in 2020. Sandi researches and writes about nature and its positive effects on us and is currently working on a book on the topic. Sandi lives in Florida with her husband and two children, a daughter in elementary school and a son in middle school.

Big Ideas

• Being in nature is healing to us and to our kids.

• Participating in something nature-related (even if you have to stay indoors) is positive for our mental health.

• There are so many ways to bring nature into our lives.

Sunshine Parenting, Ep. 141, Happy Science Mom, Ecohappiness Challenge


Sandi: You can really tap into nature in so many different ways. And when it comes to your kids, you don’t have to necessarily force them to do something they don’t enjoy. You could kind of spin it off from something they already love. So if they’re into art, so have them go on a nature walk and then even nature photography have them, um, you know, paint a picture, draw a picture of something that they love. If there are athletes, get them outdoors more playing their sports. There’s just so many options that we can, you know, weave in, in nature.

Audrey: We each have our own unique combination of experiences that kind of lead to the things we need to learn.

Audrey: If you want to raise a child who becomes a thriving adult, they need to see what that looks like. They need to see a parent who’s showing them the way that when things get hard, how do you deal with it? What are your strategies for coping during difficult times?

Sunshine Parenting, Ep. 141, Sandi Schwartz, Ecohappiness Challenge, Happy Science Mom

Sandi: The coolest part is that even the days that I’m kind of like tapped out and I’m like, am I going to come up with something unique today? Something appears.

Sandi: You don’t always have to work hard to seek out nature. It can find you as well.

Audrey: You can see the silver linings and it sounds like  you’ve really found a silver lining in your, what you always knew: your knowledge that nature can heal and can help through challenging times.

Sandi: I appreciate the well-roundedness of how we can reach out to nature, whether it’s through your computer, your balcony, your backyard, or if you’re going on a hike.

Audrey: It’s a very relaxing feeling to be fully in nature.

Sandi: You don’t necessarily have to be at the natural water body to experience it. A lot of it is even closing your eyes and imagining you are at the beach. Water is so powerful.

Audrey: Sometimes we try to separate different parts of us, but really we are part of nature and the world and our bodies are also really connected with how we feel like drinking enough water and getting sun and getting that vitamin D. So there’s so much that it’s all interconnected. So being outside is obviously something that we all need.

Sandi: Nature also gives us that positive ability to go back and be in awe even from our past experiences.

Resources & Links

Related Posts & Podcast Episodes

One Simple Thing

Do one thing outside as a family this week, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.


picnic on a deck or in your backyard

walk or bike around your neighborhood

chalk art or basketball in the driveway

golden hour photo shoot

nature bingo

What simple outdoor activities have you tried with your family? Comment or send me pictures! 

My Favorite

For all these reasons, spending time in nature with your children may be an ideal way to nurture family
bonds, whether you’re dealing with a fussy infant or a recalcitrant teen. Nature doesn’t have ring tones or
deadlines. You can reach it without spending a penny. And you can even get outdoors together with other
families to increase the sociability and fun. As parents like Debra Scott have discovered, getting outdoors can
help both you and your child feel better, while giving you common ground for discovery and play.

-Sara St. Antoine , “Together in Nature: Pathways to Stronger, Closer Families” (Children & Nature Network

Spurred by my conversation with Sandi, my favorite this week is the Children & Nature Network. Founded by Richard Louv (best-selling author of Last Child in the Woods and Nature Deficit Disorder), C&NN offers free resources and tools for families and organizations to help get kid out in nature.

Free PDF Dowloads from Children & Nature Network
Nature Clubs for Families
Together in Nature: Pathways to Stronger, Closer Families