Metroparks Meetup: Nature play at Toledo Metroparks

The Toledo Metroparks are encouraging kids and their parents to get outside and play.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:02 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - “Get outside and play” is a phrase most of us heard as kids and some probably still do. But, more families nowadays are swapping the outdoors for screens.

According to the Mayo Clinic, kids who spend too much time staring at screens are at a greater risk for obesity, behavioral problems and poor academic performance. On the contrary, the American Psychological Association says spending time in nature has both mental and physical health benefits.

That’s why Metroparks Toledo is encouraging parents to get their kids outside, and they have some resources to help with that. Playing in nature is instinctual, but as technology takes over, nature play, as Metroparks’ Madison Lindsay calls it, is taking a backseat.

“Nature play, it can be many things, but at its core, it’s unstructured, exploratory, child-led play out in wild spaces,” said Lindsay.

Metroparks Toledo is working to bring back the basics with places like the designated play area at Side Cut Metropark.

“It’s a perfect spot for building shelters, using the boulders to climb, we have lose sticks around sometimes for people to do whatever they like with,” said Lindsay.

Metroparks Toledo also runs a nature play club called Toledo Tree Tots Preschool.

“We engage in nature play,” said Lindsay. “We read stories. We sing songs.”

Lindsay says you can engage in nature play at any of the Toledo Metroparks as long as you stay on the trail and don’t disturb protected areas. If you’re interested in signing up for Toledo Tree Tots Preschool, click here.

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