We are all witnesses to a giant, annual, global migration: Flocks of children everywhere go from hanging out in trees and exploring the outdoors to sitting at desks inside classrooms.


But it doesn’t have to be that way.


Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, caregiver or educator, you can encourage the kids in your life to spend time outside and teach them about environmental responsibility at the same time.


Children today spend less time outdoors than any generation in human history. They’re also our future superheroes — so we need to make sure they’re well equipped to protect our planet!


When you join the Back to School Superhero challenge, you’ll receive a fun activity each week for four weeks (starting September 21) that will help teach kids about pressing environmental issues and connect them to the great outdoors. Each activity has been adapted from the David Suzuki Foundation’s free Connecting With Nature educational guides.


See you outside with your superhero costume!



What’s the Back to School Superhero Challenge?

It’s a four-week challenge for kids, families and classrooms to get outdoors and learn about environmental issues and how to make a superhero difference! Each week for four weeks starting September 21, you’ll receive a fun outdoor activity (based on an environmental issue) complete with step-by-step instructions. When you join the Challenge, you’ll also automatically be entered to win weekly prizes.

Why “superhero”?

As David Suzuki says, “In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket, but with enough drops we can fill any bucket.” In other words, when we each do our part for the environment, we can each make a “super” difference — and be superheroes! By teaching kids that we are all interconnected and interdependent with nature, we can raise the next generation of leaders to protect the people and places we love.

When does the Back to School Superhero Challenge start?

The Challenge starts September 21 and runs through October 18, 2015.

Can I register my class?

Of course — the more the merrier! Don’t forget to download your free Nature as a Classroom guide, an easy-to-use resource to help make outdoor learning fun and easy. And check out our Connecting With Nature educational guides for Kindergarten through Grade 8.

Is there an age limit?

No way. Getting outside and learning about nature and how to protect it is ageless! Most Challenge activities, however, are adapted from our educational guides for kids in Kindergarten through Grade 8.

How will I receive each weekly mission?

After you register for the Back to School Superhero Challenge, you’ll get an activity in your email each week.

How do I enter to win a weekly prize?

You’re instantly entered when you sign up for the Back to School Superhero Challenge. Individual prizes include a Herschel hemp backpack. Classrooms can win an assortment of children’s books signed by the author — David Suzuki!

I don’t live in Canada. Can I still participate?

Yes! And don’t forget to share your pictures and stories — we’d love to hear how you spend time in nature! Use the hashtag #SuzukiSuperhero.

Can I share my experience?

We’d love that! Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where we’ll share the stories you tell us and photos you send us. Please use the hashtag #SuzukiSuperhero throughout the Challenge.


We’ll also send you a survey so you can give us your feedback after the Challenge is over.

Can I join the Challenge after it’s already started?

Of course! We’ll send you any activities you’ve missed plus the latest one — so make sure to check your inbox. There is no deadline for the activities to be completed. We just want you to get outside.

Is the Challenge available in French?

Unfortunately, we were not able to make the Back to School Superhero Challenge available in French this year. But it’s something we’re looking into for next year! In the meantime, we have fabulous teaching resources available in French, and each superhero activity has been adapted from these teaching guides. You can download your free copy here.

What type of activities will I receive?

All of the activities are designed to be done outdoors. This could mean the schoolyard, backyard or a local park. The activities range from learning about energy consumption and transportation to exploring water conservation and the benefits of eating seasonal, local food. Each activity has been adapted from the David Suzuki Foundation’s Connecting With Nature education guides.


The average North American child spends less than 30 minutes playing outside each day, and more than seven hours in front of a screen. Yet research shows time outside makes children healthier, happier and smarter.


You play a critical role in helping the kids in your life develop a nature habit.


Time in nature can reduce stress and symptoms of attention-deficit disorders while boosting immunity, energy levels and creativity. Studies show that time outdoors, especially unstructured time in more natural settings, can increase curiosity, creativity and problem-solving ability. It also improves physical fitness and co-ordination and can even reduce the likelihood of needing glasses for nearsightedness.


The message is clear — kids need nature! And so do parents, grandparents, caregivers and teachers.


According to a David Suzuki Foundation survey, if youth spend time outside when they’re young, they’re 20 per cent more likely to take part in outdoor programs or to explore nature on their own when they’re older. Perhaps most importantly, taking kids into nature will provide some of their best childhood memories.


Check out this infographic summarizing the science about nature’s health benefits.


Group of kids coloring at the park
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors helps students do better in school by improving memory, problem-solving and creativity. Children who spend time in nature are also physically healthier and more likely to care for nature as adults.


Teachers across Canada agree! They’ve downloaded more than 10,000 copies of these guides. From coast to coast to coast, educators are taking their students outside and reporting that it’s good for students and those who teach them!


You can foster a nature connection in your students with the free lesson plans and resources on this page. All the resources are available in French and English.


  • The Nature as a Classroom guide is a simple resource that answers the most common questions about how to make outdoor learning fun and accessible.
  • The Connecting With Nature guides include comprehensive classroom and outdoor lesson plans for teachers of kindergarten through Grade 8.


The Connecting With Nature guides were created and written by David Suzuki Foundation staff, Toronto District School Board educators and staff, and students from Nipissing University’s Schulich School of Education.


Please use the dropdown menu below to download your free Connecting With Nature or Nature as a Classroom guide.