Kids in the great outdoors make for magic and memories. Local camps provide a wonderful, adventurous way to get up close and personal with nature.
Daily busy life can make getting “back to nature” hard for any family, yet experiencing the outdoors helps children gain enhanced abilities to learn, lead and experience contentment, as well as a lifelong admiration for and desire to protect Earth. Plenty of today’s children don’t know the pleasures of hiking through the woods, turning over rocks in search of crawfish or leaping into a watering hole.
Parents must specifically seek out programs or go camping themselves with their kids to experience the joy of communing with nature. Fortunately, Middle Tennessee is loaded with great day camps that offer kids the chance to be outdoors for a little mucking around. So, if you want your child to know the difference between a toad and a frog and a catfish or a crawfish, local day camps are a best bet. We spoke with a random handful of local day camps that focus most activities outside!
Rain or shine, day campers love getting up close and personal with animals, and creatures, creekplay and horses. Camp Whippoorwill Farm Day Camp, located in Williamson County’s Fernvale Valley, offers several of those activities.. “We’ve been a Nashville tradition for 39 years,” says Shanelle Lambert, executive director of the camp. “Kids get to choose four â€˜interest groups’ each day including crawdad-catching, blackberry picking, animal encounters, fishing, beading, woodworking, archaeology, canoeing, climbing, rappelling and more.â€
At Camp Idyllwild, a nature-oriented day camp situated on 30 acres in Duck River, Tenn., Co-Camp Directors Eric and Suzanne Ward work to engage their summer campers in good, clean fun outdoors without the worry of getting dirty! This summer Idyllwild will introduce a “ginormous” dirt pile so kids can dig, make tunnels and play, “because getting dirty is a childhood privilege!” Suzanne Ward says.
And some kids just want to be on the lake. YMCA Camp Widjiwagan at the Joe C. Davis Outdoor Center on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville offers one of the largest day camps where waterfront activities include sailing, playing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing and more. Getting to be a part of what the great outdoors has to offer builds a desire for more of the same in kids – and that’s good, wholesome, dream-away-the-day fun.
If you’re a horse lover though, or would like your child to ride, Peachtree Farms puts kids face-to-face with a pony or a horse. Kids will do some grooming, saddling and plenty of riding out in the sunshine on the handsome horse farm owned by Polly Grammar, the camp’s director.
A relatively new day camp (this will be the second year) can be found at Tap Root Farm in Franklin. Situated on a 300-acre cattle operation, “campers learn about nature and farm foods from blueberries to honeybees,” says Susan Ingraham resident “director of fun” at Tap Root.