Summer camps like Camp Quinebarge are wonderful for getting kids outside and really immersed in nature. While we (and our campers!) are anxiously waiting for summer, we thought we would share ways that families can be outside together this spring. Studies show that kids today are spending significantly less time outdoor – enjoying only an hour or less of outside time each day. Getting kids outside is proven to decrease instances of depression and anxiety, and is good for their physical health. Playing outside is also good for the mind. Children who play outside sharpen other skills – like problem-solving and language skills. Research shows “children use five times as many words when they play outdoors compared to indoors.” According to Katie Hurley, LCSW, unstructured play is key to healthy child development. Unstructured play promotes decision-making skills; builds gross motor skills; helps kids work through fears and stress; teaches conflict resolution skills; and helps creativity soar.
Here are some ideas, tips, and tricks to get kids outside this spring!
Dress in lawyers: You should dress appropriately for the weather, bring extra shoes and socks in the car. Dry, warm kids are happy kids!
Be prepared for ticks: Ticks are a part of nature and should be expected when you’re outside. For tips on how to avoid them, visit the CDC’s page on preventing ticks.
Be prepared for a slower pace: Let exploration be the guide, not the destination.
Bring extra water and snacks: Let kids be involved in the packing and carrying their own supplies. It will give them a sense of ownership over your new adventure.
Visit someplace new: Try and find a wildlife sanctuary, arboretum, or a community learning farm. Visit your state’s Audubon website for more ideas!
Try something new: Geocaching, Orienteering, Mountain biking…there are so many ways to experience nature besides walking!
Grab a paddle: Spring boating can be beautiful – just remember PDFs are typically required for those under 18 (and recommended for everyone!). Also, a reminder that spring water temps can be significantly colder than the air temperature. Be prepared!
Take a Scavenger hunt: This can be done in the backyard or community park. Other less time consuming options can be to download a nature bingo or do an ‘unnatural hike’ – where you pick up all the trash you can find!
Join in on a spring trails clean-up day: It’s a great way to introduce kids to service learning. Many nature sanctuaries and land trusts have these posted on their website.
Create fairy gardens – Pinterest has some great ideas, but there is no end to the creativity these spark!
Engage in citizen science: This is a great way to get kids outdoors who love to use technology. Most apps can be downloaded right to your smartphone and kids and see the difference they are making! PBS kids has a great directory of amazing projects going on right now.
Start a nature journal: Kids can help make their journal and document their finds in a park or the backyard. Nature journaling can incorporate art, sound mapping, story telling…the possibilities are endless!
We have less than 11 weeks before our session one at camp! We cannot wait to have campers enjoying all the great outdoors Quinebarge has to offer. Are you interested in what activities we do at camp? Check out our website to see all the fun things we offer! If you have not enrolled in summer camp yet there is still time! Visit our website to learn more and enroll today.