Some of my fondest memories growing up involve digging in the mud, hiking through the woods behind my house, building forts out of random logs, and searching for frogs around the pond in my backyard.
Now, I live in a subdivision with my two kids and we don’t have a pond, the mud, or the woods for that “old school” kind of play! Recently, my son visited the Cincinnati Nature Center with his school for a field trip and got to experience how I grew up playing.
The students were “let loose” in the fenced-in Nature PlayScape while a chaperone stood near the only gate in and out. The kids were told there were three stations (run by chaperones on the field trip) that they could explore, or they were welcome to pick, build, and explore any way they wanted to.
The kids ran around the PlayScape picking flowers, looking for the colors of the rainbow in nature, deciding which direction the wind was blowing, listening to birds, and comparing and contrasting different grasses and leaves. A Nature Center employee also took small groups of children out of the PlayScape to hike to the pond. My son was excited to tell me he saw two turtles on a log and some frogs on his hike!
Their visit to the Nature Center allowed the children to explore the world outdoors and work together with their peers. Many kids worked together to carry long and sometimes heavy logs across the PlayScape to build a fort. They pretended to live in the fort and hunt and fish for food.
My son snoozed in the car after I picked him up from school. He was worn out from spending the day outdoors. He spent a good ten minutes telling his sister all about the “super fun outdoor” place and now she wants to go check it out too! I plan on taking both of my kids there this summer for some fresh air, outdoor play and a good dose of vitamin D.
Cincinnati Nature Center
4949 Tealtown Road, Milford