Promoting Outdoor Exploration with Chesapeake Childhood Discovery Hour!
Enjoying a great outdoor experience. USFWS photo.
The Chesapeake Childhood Discovery Hour encourages parents and daycare providers to incorporate local outdoor experiences into the daily lives of young children. Infants, toddlers, preschoolers and adults all benefit from spending time outdoors.
Great outdoor experiences can be shared even close to home like in a backyard or walking through a neighborhood. For children, a forest can be the two or three trees on their corner. When accompanied by an engaged adult, children can explore and learn about wildlife habitat, behavior and interactions.
Chesapeake Childhood encourages parents and daycare providers by providing example activities and supporting evidence of the benefit to children from these activities. This first session included activities such as painting with pines, winter walk collections, building nests, snowflake discovery, binoculars, shape strings, and tracks. Parents and staff were provided cards with instructions for activities that they can also carry out on their own time.
The Chesapeake Childhood program is initially being offered to parents and daycare staff at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Play and Learn Daycare Center which is being redesigned into a Natural Playspace. The new Natural Playspace that will incorporate a raingarden, native plant exploration areas, and a black willow tricycle tunnel, and other intriguing features.
There are 90 families and 30 staff associated with this daycare center. Partners include the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, University of Maryland Baltimore County and Chesapeake Bay Trust. By providing training for the parents and staff as the space is being created, we ensure more investment and integrated use of the natural area.
For more information contact:
410/573-4549 or 410/271-2481