Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting Kids Back to Nature - Arlitt's Nature Playscape (Opening Next Month) Highlighted

From WVXU via UC News:

Getting kids back to nature
By Ann Thompson
7/17/2012 4:09:15 PM
Playscape at Cincinnati Nature Center
Playscape at Cincinnati Nature Center
A Cincinnati effort to increase the time kids play outside is being held up as a national model.

Parents are nervous these days about their kids playing in the woods. U.C's Dr. Vicki Carr lists their concerns.

"One, they'll get kidnapped. Some perpetrator will come and grab them or that they will get hurt."

But Carr says research has shown the fears are unfounded and in fact there are more injuries on playgrounds. She has helped create the best of both worlds...nature inside a perimeter fence.

At the Cincinnati Nature Center 6 year old Brett Maples jumps over a narrow stream onto an unsteady rock with his mother Kelly's help.

"I was going to say that one's a little wobbly. You made it easy."

Brett gravitates to the water, one of the most popular areas in this one and a half acre playscape. The Nature Center's executive director Bill Hopple says the 11 and under play area also finds kids digging in the dirt and building forts.

"I always say no instruction is necessary."

This is a place you can pick flowers, go off the trail and experience the outdoors according to the Nature Center's Kristi Masterson.

"They're going to get stung by bees. They're going to get poison ivy perhaps. But they are going to engage in nature and learn the consequences of their actions that way."

A Nature Playscape for preschoolers will open August 15th on UC's campus. It will be much smaller than the one at the Cincinnati Nature Center. It's the largest totally natural design play environment in the country,according to Hopple. He says the National Wildlife Federation is calling and so are area park districts, hoping to copy the idea. 

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