West Ridge Nature Preserve, Park Advisory Council (PAC)

Chicago Park District

Forest Play Week

A school in our community activated our Nature Play Area by organizing a summer Forest Play Week for 6-12 year-olds. The group met for four hours each day, rain or shine.

 

In contrast to the highly-structured camps that fill the summer hours for many city kids, the aim of Forest Play Week was to provide time for unstructured outdoor play and exploration while building lasting relationships with the local ecosystem.

Over the course of the week, the group invented new games with sticks and logs, created imaginary feasts in the mud kitchen, taught each other to climb tall trees and befriended insects. They were joined by master naturalist Gary Morrissey for trips to explore other parts of the preserve, where the children had a chance to go fishing and seek out local wildlife.

 

We hope to continue hosting Forest Play Week(s) in future summers! In the meantime, parents of younger children will be glad to know there is now a drop-in Toddler Play Group that meets on Friday mornings throughout the seasons for children ages zero to 5.

 

Story by Christa Donner

For more information on the toddler play group, please visit sites.google.com/view/forestplaygroup-wrnp or email [email protected].