Playing: The Outdoor Classroom

We’re super happy to bring a Nature Explore Classroom to our site, and we think you’ll be super happy to explore the space with kids, too.  We want the whole community here: 6 weeks to 106 years.

The Quick Introduction:

We encourage you to visit! If you want to bring a group, we ask that you please contact us to coordinate dates so that there are not two groups there at once.

The goal is open ended play- they make up the idea based on the materials they are finding.  The more often you visit, the more elaborate and interesting these projects will get.

We encourage you to please put things away before you leave.  This helps our materials last longer and makes it easier for the next folks visiting to find things.

Before you set your kids free to explore the space, we encourage you to point out some boundaries to them:

  • the stage is not for jumping off of
  • the bugs in the pollinator garden are for watching but not hurting
  • the plants in the Community Crops garden plots are for looking at but not picking
    • (but any vegetables in the raised garden beds within the outdoor classroom are fair game for snacking!)

You might begin on the benches near the entrance and ask them where they want to start or ask what they want to do: art? dance? climb or build? make music? dig? run?  Questions continue to be important throughout the visit: Questions we encourage you to ask include “What do you notice?”  “What could you do with that?”  “Does it smell / Could it make noise / What does that feel like?” “What are you wondering?”  But so is silence.  We encourage adults to be silent for a while.

If they (or you) need to use the restroom, you might need to go to the HyVee down the street if no one is around.  Sorry.

Looking for more resources?  Try here: Nature Explore has a Families Club Kit