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Swamp Treks – Getting Childrens & Teens Outdoors

By Gina Lusignan, Park Events and Volunteer Manager

We hear it often, “children need to spend less time in front of screens and more time being active”. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 3 and up should spend no more than 1 to 2 hours in front of a screen. Instead of screen time, the AAP suggests children should engage in play: walk or run the family dog, ride a bike, take a nature walk, or skateboard with a friend. The benefits of play for kids is very substantial; it builds energy, invites creativity, relieves stress, and creates healthy habits.

Growing up, some of my best times were spent exploring the small creeks and nature paths next to my home. Along with a friend or cousin, I would spend hours looking for secrets paths, interesting rocks, and racing leafs down the water. That might be part of why I now work at a nature park, but besides instilling a love for nature, it was great for my physical and mental health. Young children and teens thrive outdoors. Due to their brain development, teens succeed when they are taught through active learning alongside peers. They value their friends and are able to think creatively, solve problems, and connect new information, together.

Knowing how important it is for children and young teens to interact with and enjoy nature, I, along with my coworker Kim, have created a program called Swamp Treks to help your 3rd – 8th grade student step away from the screen and get outdoors with their friends. Every 3rd Saturday of the month starting in November, Kim and I will lead children on a nature hike through Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. After the hike we will focus on a few nature based activities ranging from camping survival, nature printing, terrarium making, and animal communications.

We would love to have your 3rd – 8th grade child join us! For more information and to register, please visit   http://phinizycenter.org/event/swamp-treks/2016-11-19/

 

References:

Lorain, Peter. “Brain Development in Young Adolescents, Good News for Middle School Teachers” (2002) National Education Association.

Robb, Marina and Mew, Victoria. “Learning with Nature.” (May 2015). Edutopia.