Summer 2022

“As children we need time to wander, to be outside, to nibble on icicles, watch ants, to build with dirt and sticks in the hollow of the earth - to lie back and contemplate clouds.”

- The Geography of Childhood by Steven Trimble

Child's Perspective

"WOW! I did it!"

Read stories of the benefits of children engaging in "risky play" outdoors on our blog.

Ideas for Families in Summer

David Sobel has identified seven play motifs, or recurring play patterns, while observing children playing freely in natural areas around the world. Read more here from Woeste Westen in the Netherlands.

Adventure: Read The River by Elisha Cooper and try following a river or stream yourself to see where it leads!

Fantasy and Imagination: Become a butterfly! Use cardboard, fabric, or your imagination for wings and flutter from flower to flower. Look for butterflies and follow their lead.

Animal Allies: Go for an insect safari! Try putting a white cloth under grasses and shrubs and gently shaking the insects onto the cloth. A bug collecting jar (such as an empty jar or yogurt container) is helpful to get a closer look.

Maps and Paths: Make arrows out of sticks or chalk on rocks and arrange them to guide to a special place or treasure.

Special Places: Read Sunflower House by Eve Bunting and plant your own sunflower space for dramatic play!

Small Worlds: Build a bug a home! They’ll need food, water, and shelter.

Hunting and Gathering: Flip river rocks and see how many critters you can find! Look here for a guide to common pond and stream invertebrates.

Natural History Mystery

What is this gelatinous mass under a stream rock?
The mystery will be unveiled in our blog tomorrow.


“In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.” - Simon Nicholson: The Theory of Loose Parts, 1971

Loose parts are open-ended materials that can be manipulated in many ways. Loose parts are inherently flexible and promote creativity, imagination and a variety of play experiences. Outdoors, there are naturally many loose parts, such as sticks, rocks, flowers, cones, bark, shells, seed pods, and flowers. Read more here.
Kids in Nature 77

Places to Ramble

Explore these trails along rivers: North Branch Cascades in Worcester and the
Big Branch in Mount Tabor (parking next to Silver Bridge on Brooklyn Rd).
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