A Child Who Plays in Nature Today…
Week of July 11 – July 17, 2021
by Melissa Kirby, Environmental Educator
Through nature play children make personal and emotional connections to the outside environment. Recently I watched a child catch a frog for the first time. That child’s face lit up with happiness and it was a beautiful moment to witness. Though she may not remember that exact moment 20 years down the road (or maybe she will) that experience left her with a positive emotion and a positive experience in nature that she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
Here at Baltimore Woods we provide children opportunities for nature play. Last week was the first week of our Summer Camp and on a weekly basis children are playing outside and exploring all the wonders of their natural environment. The emotional benefits of nature play can allow a child to build self-confidence, develop an understanding of their own emotions and others’, and create an appreciation for the animals and plants found in the natural environment.
Nature play benefits the child, the family, and the community as a whole. Emotional connections to the outdoors can also lead to eventual stewardship. A child that plays in nature today may become a steward of our environment tomorrow.
When I look back on my childhood, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to opportunities to have experiences in nature that led to emotional connections to my natural surroundings. That’s something I feel inspired to try to provide for children everywhere. Did you have opportunities to experience playing in nature as a child? If you’d like, share your stories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.