Free Time Adventures in Nature

Free Time Adventures in Nature

“In today’s world of overpopulation and high consumption, it is essential that we make an effort to keep people in touch with the earth: its natural rhythms, the changing seasons, its beauty and mystery.”
– Paul E. Knoop, Jr.

If you missed the four day nature extravaganza with TLC, here is an overview of the activities, findings and lessons learned along the way.

Free Time Adventures catching Frogs

Sorting through the net.

Day one began on Monday July 29th with a group of 20 kids searching in ponds and wetland areas for frogs, salamanders and other slimy creatures of Bucktoe Creek Preserve. A Northern Green Frog, Monarch caterpillars, and the oh so interesting and abundant earthworms were highlights of the day. Beautiful dragonflies sparkling of blue and yellow were roaming a pond we visited. Being the first day, we expressed the importance of respecting wildlife creatures, plants and habitat.

To kick off day number two and the first day of August, twenty plus kids, parents, and TLC staff braved the rainy weather, hopped on a wet little school bus and headed off to Gnome Countryside in Kirkwood, PA for a magical gnome adventure. Although no one saw any gnomes on this day, I did spot several clues that suggested gnomes were in the area – tiny doors leading into a tree trunk, a tiny swing set for young gnomes to play. We had a magical day and can’t wait to visit Gnome Countryside next year in hopes of spotting a gnome!

Visiting Gnome Countryside

Forest of Gnome Countryside.

Letterboxing and orienteering was the focus of day 3. Letterboxing is a fun orienteering course incorporating clues from nature. The children had free time to cool off in the Red Clay Creek and make for a wet and fun afternoon of skipping stones and other lost arts. By the final day, we had a few professional stone skippers on our hands!

The fourth and final day came and went all too quickly. After 3 days of exploring the outdoors, the children were prompted to answer the question of survival strategies. Where and how would you build shelter if you were lost out in the woods? Using natural materials each group built shelters where they believed it was safe from flooding, over or underexposure to the sun, and so on. Some groups built near the stream, some used fallen down trees, and one group even used rock and mud to create a more glamorous shelter – however, they soon realized the extent of stacking rock after rock…

Young Fort

Finished fort and proud builders.

The creative impulses that seeped from these children throughout the four days was on full display during the shelter and fort building day. Close lines, patios, roof tops, driveways, decks and more, were all carefully considered and created for each shelter. One group even created a gnome house in case any gnome decide to reside at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve!

TLC would like to send a big thank you to Trail Creek Outfitters for sponsoring this program, Gnome Countryside, Krapft Buses for the transportation, Harold Davis Photography for providing wonderful photographs (click here to see more pictures of the event), and Drip Cafe for providing nutritious and delicious lunches all four days. Also, thank you parents, nannies, grandparents, and kids for participating in TLC’s Free Time Adventures in Nature program. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Boys Shetler

The boy’s shelter slowing developing.

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