Playgrounds, Nature Clubs & More


"The best gift you can give your child is to be present." Cindy Little

There are many wonderful resources in San Diego to help parents unplug and connect with their kids.  Many of the groups listed below focus on exploration in nature as a way to tap into the creative and curious spirit of a child.  Check to see which ones are operating in some capacity during Covid-19.  


Mobile literacy program that provides one-on-one reading support and motivational incentives to kids. Kids

earn Book Bucks, which can be redeemed for prizes, keeping them excited and motivated to learn, as well

as teaching money management

skills. Visit their website for

schedules and locations.

Located in National City, this historic Victorian home and property serves as an interactive, indoor-outdoor gardening & cooking classroom for kids and adults. Visit the website for info

and to register for events.

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A welcoming and non-judgmental group. Free Forest School hosts FREE events where young children and their parents or caregivers meet to explore and play together in nature.  Share a snack, take a walk, play outside, and have circle time. Parents get a chance to unplug and step back… Kids and their imaginations take the lead. This group is growing like a wild forest!  

Join the group.


No Adulting allowed!  The Fleet's newest exhibition, Pause|Play, is an invitation for the young and the young-at-heart to leave the digital world behind. The exhibition features some of your

favorite playground activities and

gives them a scientific twist.

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Adventures begin in The Backyard, a new exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum that allows little learners to expand their horizons, learn, and explore the natural world through play.

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Kids love to build and Home Depot likes to show you how to do it! Kids will develop hands-on skills by sanding, nailing, painting and more. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron and a commemorative pin while supplies last.  Check out more details, register and find out about future workshops.

Sign up for a Baketivity subscription and you’ll receive monthly boxes bursting with new recipes, activity booklets, and your favorite easy-peasy baking kits, delivered right to your door.  Finally, a fun-filled subscription box made just for kids—-perfect for mini bakers, cookie-lovers, and family time.

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Little ones have fun getting crafty!  At Michael's craft stores you can choose from two 30 min projects, designed for little makers (ages 3 and up).  Held each Saturday from 10 - 12.  Parents must be in attendance.  Cost varies.  Find out details about workshops.


Order a subscription box of kids' activities and toys designed to help parents keep kids off screens without constant supervision. Raise happy

kids using creative play ideas!

Created by local San Diego resident Stephanie Anderson.

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Know of others groups that might be good to list? 
We'd love to know your ideas at



You will also find daily schedules with creative breaks and recommendations to keep kids engaged and exploring, one day (or one hour) at a time. They also offer many, many resources for guidance and support as you navigate privacy and safety in all you do online.

 FOR COVID -  you can also check out this page  or this one or this one for hands on craft and stem activities to do with your kids when you can't get outside. 


COVID UPDATE - At this time we cannot have Rodney at the market. He is just going to hide out in his chicken coop for now and we hope he will return in the future!  Check back later please.

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I call it an IRL (In Real Life) community playgroup. Whatever you call it...Unplug, play and connect and get out into the community with your little ones!  Kids can search for the market mascot Rodney Rooster who will be hiding in a different vendor booth each week. They can look for clues and once Rodney's been spotted, they get a prize!  Stick around for an easy nature craft,  play in our version of "Fort Night Friday" or try "Adventure Tasters" where kids get rewarded for trying one new item a week. Take it farther with "Rodney Time" where kids can complete challenges at home and be rewarded for type spent off screens. Crafts are mainly geared towards ages 0-8 but we often have games like over-sized Jenga as well.  The market is open from 3 - 7pm on Fridays near La Mesa Blvd and 3rd Street.  Brought to you by the Unplugged Village in partnership with Brian's Farmers' Markets. 

Farmers Market

Vendor Testimonials:

"The Search for Rodney Rooster is great.  Seeing the kids

faces light up was wonderful and it definitely brought in

some additional sales. Thanks!! "  

"People look at every booth, and we get good customer

reactions. Fun for kids"

"Good for kids and families= Great for the Market"

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Join the Search for Rodney Rooster!



Rodney is hunkering down in his chicken coop

with his ladies during these tough times.  Rumor

has it though, that a cut-out version of Rodney can

be spotted at about 10 of the local Little Free Libraries

in La Mesa CA.  It's good to get outside for a bit as long

as we practice social distancing and wipe down books after picking one up.  This "sort of" scavenger hunt, is

a way to get a little fresh air and change of pace while

we get through these tough times!  Once the public

health situation improves we'll let you know when

Rodney will be out and about at the market. 

Multi-LFL Locations La Mesa small 3-4-20
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Market Customer Survey Results Jan 2020

Of those who searched for Rodney, 92% said they “Loved it”

100% enjoyed the Unplugged Booth activities

80% indicated they would be very likely to come back 

Customer Testimonials:

"My kid talks about this all week!"

"Thank you for this great idea, we need more like it!"

Have a business interested in supporting these endeavors or
would you like to have Rodney Rooster at your Farmer's Market? 
Contact Claudia Erickson at