By Jim Biros
The free River Rovers Nature Playgroup for children ages 3-7 begins this week on Thursday and runs every Thursday until August 23. The group meets from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lake Superior Estuarium located at 3 Marina Drive on Barker’s Island in Superior. Nature activities, crafts, games, snacks and stories are led by professional education staff at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and provided free of charge.
River Rovers and other nature play programs support life-long science learning and nature play offers many benefits to young children. One study conducted in Sweden over a year compared motor skill development with children whose preschool spent two hours a day in the natural outdoors vs. traditional playground playtime.
By the end of the year the students that had nature as a playground outperformed their playground peers. Others studies have shown that when children experience nature at an early age, their brain development improved for problem solving and creative thinking as well as increasing chances of becoming life-long outdoor enthusiasts.
Parents or caretakers should attend with their children for the duration of the program. No preregistration is necessary and children can join for one week or the entire summer.