Guest Blog by Conservation Education Coordinator Chelsea York
Temperatures are rising, graduations are being celebrated, and end-of-year parties are underway. Can the summer doldrums be far behind? One can almost hear that woeful whine, “I’m BOOORRRRRED!”
For anyone simultaneously excited and fearful of the summer ahead, we have some great news for you! Georgia’s forests are full of stimulating possibilities that can make the season super fun and, dare we say, educational?
Summer break is a time for kids to create memories with friends and family and develop important social skills. Summer is also a time for them to explore topics that interest them. Allowing youth to engage in a combination of structured and unstructured activities as simple as outdoor play, can lead to unexpected learning opportunities, enhanced personal growth, and improved learning skills that are important to lifelong education.
The Georgia Forestry Commission is home to dedicated specialists who love kids and love learning. Together, we have compiled a list of activities to reach for when you hear that first tell-tale sigh…
- Here are 12 simple and easy activities you can do outdoors, including a scavenger hunt!
- Check out the GFC YouTube channel where you can find videos on aging a tree using tree rings, a look at wildland firefighters’ equipment, and even an exercise on how to make paper. Making your own paper is fun for the whole family!
- Project Learning Tree’s “Family Activities” are designed for ages 3 – 15. These fun and easy-to-do projects get you outside in your own backyard, in local parks, or even off to a walk in the woods. Rainy day? No worries, they have inside activities too!
- You can also find additional activities and walkthroughs on YouTube at PLT Videos.
- Other great resources include Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Virtual Learning Journey: Georgia’s Forests I and II for grades 3 – 12. Youth can participate in this interactive journey through Georgia’s working forests and learn about ecosystems, life cycles, forestry management, sustainability, careers, and more.
- It’s fun to try a simple “sit-spot activity” over the summer. Pick a place in your yard, local park, or forest where you can just observe nature. Take a journal and write down the things that you see, hear, and smell. Visit once a day, once a week, every other week, whatever you choose, and at the end of summer compare your observations.
- Many more resources and activities, can be found on our “Learn & Explore” tab at GaTrees.org.
So, no matter what the age of the young person you’re tasked with guiding this summer, think natural resources! There are numerous tools available to nurture the critical connection between young people and the environment. We may not be able to come over and babysit your charge in person, but we’re excited about supporting the important job you’re doing for the next generation!