Free, Fun, and Full of Benefits.
“Dad, can we go to the blue hole and feed the fish, can we do a trail run, can we go see the butterflies, have the tadpoles become frogs yet? can we go to the nature explore and go through the cave, do you have a flashlight, will you play checkers with me, I want to dig in the sand, can we pick more beans. . .”
As overwhelming as that can be at the end of a long day of work, I’ve learned to cherish that onslaught each Monday as my daughter and I have our weekly date. There are so many things she loves to do at the Nature Center at Lost River Cave that she can never settle on just one without some guidance. I know that after a day at school for her and a day at work for me, we will have a much more pleasant evening if I let her release some of that pent up energy. I like to encourage her natural curiosity, and I know that not only is it a great release of energy, but also a way to continue her passion for learning. You don’t have to take my word for it though, there are a lot more qualified people than me who have written about the value of fueling curiosity in kids.
To encourage more parents to take advantage of the only nature center in Warren county, I thought I’d share three of my favorite free activities for kids at Lost River Cave.
1. Explore the nature trails.
Our longest standing nature centered activity at Lost River Cave has been the nature trail. A wonderful way to get a child, or adult, some unstructured outdoor activity is to simply head out on the trails. Stop by the visitor center, and let your child carry a map and decide which way to go at each crossroads while exploring the trails, spend time at the butterfly habitat and each of the blue holes and whatever you do, don’t miss visiting the spring at the back end of the trail. What a great way for a kid to get some exercise, and practice basic map reading skills.
2. Discover the Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom.
Have your children ever built a log cabin? When is the last time they picked tomatoes? Have they explored a “cave” without the risk of getting lost. At the Lost River Cave Nature Explore Classroom they can do all these things. There is an area for building with logs, a tunnel for kids to crawl through, and a platform from which to overlook the wetlands. We even have a musical stage. Bring your own instruments, or perform on our outdoor marimba. Mom and Dad can sit comfortably for a game of checkers while the kids run from one activity to another. For a small fee (enough to replenish our supplies) you can even get an art kit so the kids can create nature inspired art.
In fact, if you mention this blog post, you can use an art kit for no fee that day!
3. Fall has begun, make a leaf collection.
Whether you explore the trail, or stay in the Nature Explore Classroom, a leaf collection is a great way to keep kids minds engaged with nature. Younger children can sort leaves by shape and color, while more advanced thinkers can use them to identify the trees they came from. Leaves even make for great art projects.
For a full list of activities at Lost River Cave, just click here.
How can we offer these wonderful activities for free? The funding comes from memberships at Lost River Cave. For more information on memberships click here.