By Wade Ellett, QC Outdoors Adventure Blogger
Spring has sprung and summer is right around the corner. Worried about your kids spending too much time watching TV or playing video games?
Mother Nature has a solution. It’s time to get more active in the outdoors!
As a kid, I spent as much time as possible outside, and there’s no better way to spend the summer months. Luckily, there are tons of activities to introduce your children to nature in and around the Quad Cities.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry; here are a few ideas to consider.
1. Nahant Marsh, Family Outdoor eXploration and Toddler Tales, Davenport, IA.
One great example that’s close to home is Nahant Marsh.
In addition to their Education Center, open Monday through Friday 8:30-4:30 and Saturdays 9:00 – 3:00, they have awesome programs like FOX (Family Outdoor eXploration), every second Saturday of the month, from 10-11 am.
Each month, they focus on a different theme (May will be Gardening), but each session will teach your kids about local plants and wildlife with hands on activities.
For younger kids, Nahant has a Toddler Tales program, which introduces kids age 3-5 to the outdoors with a nature-themed story, followed by a craft project, and an outdoor activity.
Their upcoming schedule includes bird watching, worms, bees and urban animals!
Your whole family might be interested in guided nature hikes, led by naturalists around the marsh, the first Saturday of the month.
2. Wapsi Educational Center, Dixon, Iowa.
Another great spot with some really cool summer opportunities is the Wapsi Educational Center in Dixon.
In addition to scenic trails and river access, the center uses natural history and live animal displays to educate the public about prairies, woodlands, and animal life.
Some of the upcoming spring and summer activities include kite flying, astronomy, wildflower hikes, kayaking, and archery; there’s bound to be something that catches your child’s interest.
Wapsi also has a ton of family friendly events, aimed at providing environmental education and outdoor recreation to the community.
3. Young Pioneers in the QC
If you’re looking for some more structured recreational activities for you kids this summer, one example is the Young Pioneers Day Camp at the Dan Nagle Walnut Grover Pioneer Village.
This camp offers multiple one-week sessions, from June to August, Monday through Friday for children age 6-12.
Each week, the camp features a different theme like Pioneer Adventures, the Wild West, or Young Explorers, so there are sure to be lots of new experiences.
You’ll need to register for each week that you want your child to attend. Consider doing so soon; registration is first come, first serve, and I’m sure they’ll fill up fast!
4. Become a QC Wild Places Explorer
In addition to the various programs and events this summer, I hope you’ll also consider spending some time hiking and camping with your children.
Last month, I shared some details about why hiking is good for you, and it’s great for your kids too!
To take part, visit three or more sites on the list of QCWildPlaces, and take photos at an identifiable sign or landmark. Submit those photos with a form available at the website, and your child will receive an official QC Wild Places hat and certificate.
This is a fun activity that the whole family can do together!
5. Camp Abe Lincoln
Another structured option, the YMCA’s Camp Abe Lincoln, in Blue Grass Iowa, has a long-standing tradition of offering a variety of summer camp opportunities for children and teens of all ages, as well as the whole family!
They also have equestrian camps for children ages 10-14 who are interested in riding and caring for horses, as well as a counselor in training program for teens aged 16-17.
This is a great opportunity for teens who are interested in pursuing careers working outdoors, with children, or in educational programming.
If your family has outdoor plans or you know of a great program or activity that would be great for QC kids, share with us in the comments section! We’d love to hear about how you’re spending time outside!
|Meet Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoor Blogger. Wade is a John Deere Digital Archivist and an outdoor adventurer who shares his passion for QC outdoor adventures here! Read his other posts by clicking here.|