Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
View All Posts
Posted on January 7, 2021 at 7:48 AM by Jessica Abrahams
A couple of years ago I was in a conference session and the instructor asked us to close our eyes and think of a memory from our childhood. I closed my eyes and immediately thought about playing outside. I’m sure most of you reading this article would do the same if you were asked to recall a memory from your childhood; you’d close your eyes and picture yourself doing something outdoors. The instructor then said that when today’s kids are adults and asked to do the same, their childhood memory will be recalled from indoors. That exercise has stuck with me for a number of reasons. Children are missing out on many benefits of outdoor, unstructured play in nature. Below are just some of the benefits you and I experienced from our childhoods from playing outdoors.
After attending the conference session and realizing how much our kids are missing out on and the long-term effects of spending less time outdoors, it was a goal of mine to find somewhere within our Owatonna parks where kids can play in nature; a space designed using natural elements for children to learn, explore and connect with the natural world.
I contacted a local artist and a pre-school teacher and together with them, and our Park Maintenance Manager we’ve begun developing a small nature play area in Mineral Springs Park. You’ll find the area off of the back parking lot, in the northeast corner of the park. Eventually, the area will be marked with a sign “Spring into the Wild” but for now you’ll find an upside-down tree, which is a piece of nature’s artwork, and stumps at various heights. More will be added to the area as time and resources allow our park crew. Future plans include a tree trunk balance beam, a ninja-type course where kids will try to get from one end of the area to the other without touching the ground, mounds with a bridge and large boulders. It’ll also include tables and chairs made out of trees which kids can use for make-believe play and a water feature (think nature’s splash pad).
I encourage you to check out the nature play area. Either bundle up the kids and visit this winter so they can explore the couple features there or check it out this spring, when the weather warms up. Research indicates that, when children play and learn in nature, they do so with more vigor, engagement, imagination, and cooperation than in artificial environments, and that symptoms of attention deficit and depression are reduced. Also, the development of the area is inexpensive and includes recycling of our earth’s creations!
Outdoor play doesn’t have to end or even decrease in the winter! Check out the options below for getting outside and embracing our Minnesota winters.
Skating at Morehouse
Ice skating at the Warsinski ice rinks located at Morehouse Park are open. Please check our website for current guidelines regarding use of the Morehouse Chalet.
We’ve got a variety of winter-themed activities planned for you to have fun and stay active! Take a look at the activities, most are planned for the weekend of January 29-31, but some you can start earlier! You can find out more information on these activities by visiting our website and clicking on the Special Events page.
Join in this free, family-friendly community event! No experience needed and snow blocks will be provided for you! A great team-building event for businesses, family event for families or individual event to show off your sculpting skills. Carving will take place January 22—27. Spectators are welcome to watch teams carve their sculptures! Carvings will be done by January 28. Sign your team up and view the rules on the Park & Rec website.