Taking home small souvenirs of the woods is just the beginning of things kids can’t do in nature. In many parks and other public lands, kids are told by rangers, parents, or teachers not to leave the trail, not to climb rocks or trees, not to whack trees with sticks, not to build forts or lean-tos, not to dig holes, not to move rocks from one place to another within the park, not to yell or even talk too loudly. Are we having fun yet?
– Emma Marris, “Let Kids Run Wild in the Woods,” Slate (May 25, 2014)
This is why I think it is so important to have places in parks where kids can actually interact with nature. As an example, there’s the Nature Play Area at Hyland Woods Natural Area in Beaverton. Kids need places like this to build forts, make piles of rocks, lash sticks together, collect leaves, press flowers, and so much more.