Monday thought of the week: part of the children’s daily existence

A thought:

Research tells us that human values and behaviors are driven more by emotion than intellect, so this suggests that the most powerful interactions with nature have more to do with a child’s heart than his/her head. This is best served by authentic experiences with nature: direct, hands-on, sensory explorations. The scale can be tiny, since to a child’s eyes even a vacant lot can be a wilderness. But to really be meaningful, the child must be directing engaged with real nature – whether it be climbing trees, digging a hole to China, tending a garden, or catching fireflies and rolly-pollies. In addition to this authentic interaction, children’s experiences with nature are most powerful when they are child-directed. That is, when the children decide what to do, what to explore, and how long to stay at it. This way, they take ownership of the interaction more than if their outdoor activities are strictly directed and controlled by adults whose agendas – although undoubtedly well-intended – may not match up with the children’s own desires and interests. Finally, frequency is an important component of children’s nature experiences. Once-a-year family vacations to spectacular national parks are great for everyone, but there is more bonding power to be found in daily and weekly nature explorations – even if only in the backyard, a tiny neighborhood creek, or a vacant lot or two. These repeated experiences foster a true sense of place – a deep familiarity with the land that is part of the children’s daily existence.

- Ken Finch, in “Making the Case for Nature Play: An Interview with Ken Finch,” ConserveLand.org (2013)

Posted in ken finch, nature play, thoughts | Leave a comment

Children at Nature Play Signs are now available!

IMG_1211

It’s official! Our Children at Nature Play signs are now available for order. We’re excited about all the interest we’ve received so far. At this point, we’ve sent out signs to:

- an environmental high school in Land O Lakes, WI (10 signs!)
– a nature preschool in Sanbornton, NH
– a daycare in Booneville, AR
– a botanic garden festival in Victoria, Australia
– an urban wildlife habitat advocate in Seattle, WA
– a salmon hatchery in British Columbia, Canada
– and two local purchases here in Portland, for a home and a school garden

For purchases in the US, signs are $29.95 (this includes shipping). Order here!

Email me at natureplaysign@gmail.com if:
– You are purchasing a sign to be shipped outside of the US, or
– You are in the Portland metro area and can pick up from me in SW Portland

Thank you to those who expressed interest in this project early on, liked our Facebook page, or ordered t-shirts. We appreciate your help in raising awareness about children and nature, one sign at a time.

Posted in nature play sign | Leave a comment

Wednesday photo of the week: stump play

Nature play at Camille Park

Image | Posted on by | 2 Comments

Monday thought of the week: it is up to us

A thought:

Children do not get to choose their child-HOOD. It is up to us… the parents, educators, and mentors, to bring childhood back outside!

- Kenny Ballentine, Founder of The Nature Kids Institute

Posted in kenny ballentine, parenting, thoughts | Leave a comment

Nature play signs available soon & t-shirt offerings

We’ll soon have our nature play signs up for sale at NaturePlaySign.com!

In the meantime, we have some more shirts available through Teespring.com. Each shirt design will be printed if we sell 5 of that design, with about a week left to order.

For the regular t-shirt/hoodie and dri-fit t-shirts for adults, click on this image:

adults

For the sign design for kids and some new nature play designs for kids, click on this image:

kids

Posted in nature play sign | Leave a comment

Upcoming nature events in Portland

It’s time to register for spring break camps! Nature-based spring break camps in the Portland area

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

Free Skills Series from Rewild Portland (every month)

November-June | Lunch with the Birds! | Hillsboro Parks & Recreation

Nov. 12-Aug. 29, 2015 | Exhibit: In the Footsteps of David Douglas | Washington County Museum

Feb. 19-Mar. 5 | Celebrate Chinese New Year 2015—the Year of the Ram | Lan Su Chinese Garden

February 21 | Audubon Story Time: Raccoon on His Own | Audubon Society of Portland

February 21 | Annual Invasive Plant Species Survey at Columbia Springs | Columbia Springs

February 21 | Nature Studies: Beneficial Bees | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

February 21 | Park After Dark: Owl Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

February 22 | Owl Prowl at Tualatin Hills Nature Park | Backyard Bird Shop

February 24 | Workshop – Citizen Science: Expanding Science and Ecological Literacy | Northwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

February 28 | Spring Is In the Air! Discovery Hike | Forest Park Conservancy

February 28 | Wetland Birds | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

February 28 | Classroom Discovery Days – Owls of Tryon Creek | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 5 | Free Jon Young Talk! Why Bird Language? How Listening to the Language of Birds Awakens Nature Awareness | 8 Shields PDX

March 6 | Kids Nature Night Out: Frog Chorus | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 6-7 | National Day of Unlpugging

March 7 | 2015 Annual Owl Fest | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 10 | Lecture: California Condors in the Pacific Northwest | Oregon Wildlife

March 14 | Family Day (David Douglas) | Washington County Museum

March 14 | Nature Studies: Build a Birdhouse | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

March 14 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 14 | Ecological Explorations – EcoPsychology | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 14 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 20 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 21 | International Day of Forests

March 28 | Nature Days in the Park: Lowami Hart Woods | THPRD

March 28 | Reptiles and Amphibians Workshop | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

March 28 | Classroom Discovery Days – Bird House Building | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 20 | Kids Nature Night Out: Care of Magical Creatures | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 1 | Lecture: Oregon’s Rivers | Oregon Wildlife

April 3 | Kids Nature Night Out: Pirates’ Treasure | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 3 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Nature Studies: Spring Plant Walk | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Women in Science Day (Girl Scout program) | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 11 | Critter Count | Columbia Spring

April 11-12 | Trillium Festival | Friends of Tryon Creek

April 12 | Nature Days in the Park: Greenway Park | THPRD

April 17 | Kids Nature Night Out: Cat Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 18 | Bird Watching Discovery Hike | Forest Park Conservancy

April 18 | Nature Studies: Animal Tracking | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 24 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 25 | Salmonids + Macroinvertebrates at Jenne Butte Park | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

May 1 | Kids Nature Night Out: Disappearing Act | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

May 2 | Kids Fishing Festival | Columbia Springs

May 2 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 9 | Brownie Day: The Wonders of Water at Greenway Park | THPRD

May 15 | Kids Nature Night Out: Treasure Hunt | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 16 | Kids to Parks Day | National Park Trust

May 16 | Children’s Nature Fair | Leach Botanical Garden

May 16 | Tualatin River Bird Festival | Friends of the Refuge

May 17 | Nature Studies: Birds of Cooper Mountain | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 23 | Damselflies + Dragonflies at Fairview Creek Headwaters | Johnson Creek Watershed Council

June 6 | Family Nature Fest | Columbia Springs

July-August | Tall ship visits to ports in the Columbia River Gorge | Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain

August 18-22 | Paddle Oregon | Willamette Riverkeeper

October 10-January 10, 2016 | Exhibit – Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection | Portland Art Museum

Regular nature outings (check websites for seasonal scheduling): Nature Days in the Park and Nature Mobile from Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Natural Resources, Honeybee Hikes at Leach Botanical Garden, Story and Strolls and Guided Nature Walks at Tryon Creek State Park, Ladybug Nature Walks with Portland Parks & Recreation (seasonal), Puddle Stompers at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (seasonal), Bird Walks for adults and kids through Backyard Bird Shop, free field trips with Audubon Society of Portland volunteers, Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council (seasonal), Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm, and Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA.

– $2 admission at OMSI the first Sunday of every month
– $3 admission at the World Forestry Center the first Wednesday of every month
– $4 admission at the Oregon Zoo the second Tuesday of every month
– FREE admission at the Portland Art Museum the fourth Friday of every month, 5-8pm
– FREE admission at the Portland Children’s Museum the first Friday of every month, 4-8pm
– FREE admission at the Oregon Historical Society & Museum every day for Multnomah County residents

*My friend Laura posts a monthly listing of kid and family-friendly events of natural, scientific, and cultural interest. February’s list is here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wednesday photo of the week: nature stroll

Hiker & salamander

Image | Posted on by | 2 Comments

Nature play t-shirts available again!

Over at NaturePlaySign.com, we offer a variety of t-shirts for kids and adults through Teespring.com. Click on KIDS or ADULTS below to go to our t-shirt storefronts. T-shirt designs only get printed if at least 5 are ordered, so spread the word to friends and colleagues!

kids

adults

Posted in nature play, nature play sign | Leave a comment

Monday thought of the week: loosen up

A thought:

Loosen up and find some hands-on nature experiences for the kids. Don’t worry so much about the dirt and scrapes. Clothes and bodies can be washed; cuts heal. Nature connection is a contact sport, and nature can take it.

- Scott Sampson, in Amy Joyce, “Four ways to combat the winter blahs,” The Washington Post (February 4, 205). Check out Sampson’s blog The Whirlpool of Life, follow him on Twitter at @DrScottSampson, or like his Facebook page, Dr. Scott Sampson. His forthcoming book How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature will be out in March.

Posted in scott sampson, thoughts | Leave a comment

Upcoming nature events in Portland

It’s time to register for spring break camps! Nature-based spring break camps in the Portland area

Hike series with Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Hike series with Oregon Wild

November-June | Lunch with the Birds! | Hillsboro Parks & Recreation

Nov. 12-Aug. 29, 2015 | Exhibit: In the Footsteps of David Douglas | Washington County Museum

February 7 | Raptor Road Trip | Audubon Society of Portland

February 8 | Owl Prowl at Whitaker Ponds Nature Park | Backyard Bird Shop

February 13 | Kids Nature Night Out: Owl Outing | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

February 13-16 | Great Backyard Bird Count | Cornell Lab of Ornithology

February 14 | Nature Days in the Park: Matrix Hills Woods | THPRD

February 14 | Ecological Explorations – Cultural History of Lake Oswego and Tryon Creek| Friends of Tryon Creek

February 15 | Wildlife Care Center Open House | Audubon Society of Portland

February 16 | Free Admissions Day | Portland Japanese Garden

February 18 | Native Conifers of Northwest Oregon: Learn to identify all 18 conifers native to northwest Oregon | Hoyt Arboretum

Feb. 19-Mar. 5 | Celebrate Chinese New Year 2015—the Year of the Ram | Lan Su Chinese Garden

February 21 | Audubon Story Time: Raccoon on His Own | Audubon Society of Portland

February 21 | Nature Studies: Beneficial Bees | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

February 21 | Park After Dark: Owl Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

February 22 | Owl Prowl at Tualatin Hills Nature Park | Backyard Bird Shop

February 24 | Workshop – Citizen Science: Expanding Science and Ecological Literacy | Northwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

February 28 | Classroom Discovery Days – Owls of Tryon Creek | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 5 | Free Jon Young Talk! Why Bird Language? How Listening to the Language of Birds Awakens Nature Awareness | 8 Shields PDX

March 6 | Kids Nature Night Out: Frog Chorus | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 6-7 | National Day of Unlpugging

March 7 | 2015 Annual Owl Fest | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 10 | Lecture: California Condors in the Pacific Northwest | Oregon Wildlife

March 14 | Family Day (David Douglas) | Washington County Museum

March 14 | Nature Studies: Build a Birdhouse | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

March 14 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

March 14 | Ecological Explorations – EcoPsychology | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 14 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 20 | Former Blue Heron Mill site tours | Willamette Falls Legacy Project

March 21 | International Day of Forests

March 28 | Nature Days in the Park: Lowami Hart Woods | THPRD

March 28 | Classroom Discovery Days – Bird House Building | Friends of Tryon Creek

March 20 | Kids Nature Night Out: Care of Magical Creatures | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 1 | Lecture: Oregon’s Rivers | Oregon Wildlife

April 3 | Kids Nature Night Out: Pirates’ Treasure | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 3 | Park After Dark: Coyotes | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Nature Studies: Spring Plant Walk | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 4 | Women in Science Day (Girl Scout program) | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 11 | Critter Count | Columbia Spring

April 11-12 | Trillium Festival | Friends of Tryon Creek

April 12 | Nature Days in the Park: Greenway Park | THPRD

April 17 | Kids Nature Night Out: Cat Prowl | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

April 18 | Nature Studies: Animal Tracking | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

April 24 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

May 1 | Kids Nature Night Out: Disappearing Act | Tualatin Hills Nature Park

May 2 | Kids Fishing Festival | Columbia Springs

May 2 | Park After Dark: Sounds of the Night | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 9 | Brownie Day: The Wonders of Water at Greenway Park | THPRD

May 15 | Kids Nature Night Out: Treasure Hunt | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

May 16 | Kids to Parks Day | National Park Trust

May 16 | Children’s Nature Fair | Leach Botanical Garden

May 16 | Tualatin River Bird Festival | Friends of the Refuge

May 17 | Nature Studies: Birds of Cooper Mountain | Cooper Mountain Nature Park

June 6 | Family Nature Fest | Columbia Springs

July-August | Tall ship visits to ports in the Columbia River Gorge | Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain

Regular nature outings (check websites for seasonal scheduling): Nature Days in the Park and Nature Mobile from Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Natural Resources, Honeybee Hikes at Leach Botanical Garden, Story and Strolls and Guided Nature Walks at Tryon Creek State Park, Ladybug Nature Walks with Portland Parks & Recreation (seasonal), Puddle Stompers at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (seasonal), Bird Walks for adults and kids through Backyard Bird Shop, free field trips with Audubon Society of Portland volunteers, Tadpole Tales with Columbia Slough Watershed Council (seasonal), Farm Fridays at Zenger Farm, and Second Saturdays at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, WA.

– $2 admission at OMSI the first Sunday of every month
– $3 admission at the World Forestry Center the first Wednesday of every month
– $4 admission at the Oregon Zoo the second Tuesday of every month
– FREE admission at the Portland Art Museum the fourth Friday of every month, 5-8pm
– FREE admission at the Portland Children’s Museum the first Friday of every month, 4-8pm
– FREE admission at the Oregon Historical Society & Museum every day for Multnomah County residents

*My friend Laura posts a monthly listing of kid and family-friendly events of natural, scientific, and cultural interest. February’s list is here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment