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Water Conservation in Your Outdoor Classroom

In most regions, the long days of summer lend themselves to water play. While water is refreshing and fun, it is also a precious natural resource. So how do we balance our desire to conserve with the joy of learning with water in a Nature Explore Classroom?  Here are 5 tips to keep you splashing….
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Natural Wood: Lessons and Gifts

“It’s all trying to turn back to dirt you know.” I remember hearing this as a young boy regarding wood used outdoors. In many ways wood is the optimal material to use in an outdoor classroom because of its beautiful natural qualities and versatility. Wood creates countless learning opportunities for children but it also comes…
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Boosting Family Engagement in a Nature Explore Classroom

“The more families become involved in the day-to-day experiences of the outdoor classroom the more their level of excitement deepens.” – Keeping it Growing: Sustaining Your Outdoor Classroom Families come to us with a wealth of experiences and interests. They are their child’s most lasting and valuable teachers. Programs that find ways to work with…
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Storage: A Nature Explore Classroom Essential

This November, as the leaves fall and the winds whip through our Nature Explore Classroom at Southern Heights Food Forest, I can’t help but reflect on a year filled with growth, strength, connection to the land and storage, yes storage! Southern Heights Food Forest is a 2-acre space just south of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church…
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Why Grass Rules

A sterile monoculture or a magical play surface? I’m a turf guy. I like my lawn. Many can debate all the attributes both positive and negative, but I’ll leave that to others. One thing I know is that turf is a magical surface for children. When I was young grass is where I collected acorns,…
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It’s SPRING … Awaken Your Outdoor Classroom!

This past summer, Kelsey Moline and I wrote a blog, giving tips to spruce up the outdoor classroom for the start of the school year.  Well, as many of us are exiting the winter months and entering spring, the snow is melting, the sun is peeking through winter’s grey sky, and the glow of fresh…
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Natural Wood: Lessons and Gifts

“It’s all trying to turn back to dirt.” I remember hearing this as a young boy regarding wood used outdoors. In many ways wood is the optimal material to use in an outdoor classroom because of its beautiful natural qualities and versatility. Wood creates countless learning opportunities for children, but it also comes with its own…
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Nature’s Icebox – Ideas for Play in a Cold Weather Outdoor Classroom

By Heather Fox, Nature Explore program Education Specialist    Winter is in full swing, transforming many outdoor classrooms into snow dusted wonderlands full of new possibilities and challenges. When children have an opportunity to explore nature every day, they develop a personal understanding of the seasons. Here are a few ideas to encourage exploration and discovery in…
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Considering Plant Toxicity in Your Outdoor Classroom

A recent post-occupancy study of Nature Explore Outdoor Classrooms, by Dr. Samuel Dennis, revealed the power and importance of plant material in nature-rich outdoor spaces for children. Plantings in the outdoor classroom, “…supported a number of positive behavioral and emotional outcomes. These include self-calming, solitary experiences… help in recovery from overwhelming sensory stimuli, and a…
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Embracing Your Inner Child

By Lindsey Kortum, Nature Explore Communications Specialist “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  -George Bernard Shaw As a parent, watching my son experience the world around him is a true joy in my life.  There is something so beautiful and humbling about the way a child can connect…
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