Outdoor Children's Camps Eagle River AK

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Anchorage School of Music
(907) 344-7004
8410 Northwind Drive
Anchorage, AK
Cost
$70/month Oct.-May, yearly registration fee of $25. Cost for Summer Day Camp is $145/session for 25 hours of instruction
Ages
7And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Parents Resources

Imaginarium Science Discovery Center
(907) 929-9200
625 C Street
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Tue-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 12n-6pm
Cost
Adults $12; Seniors $9; Children (3-12) $7
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Indoors, Parents Resources, Tourist Spots

Alaska Theatre of Youth
(907) 338-4901
PO Box 101212
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Call or check the website for class and performance schedules.
Cost
Prices vary
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Entertainment

Alaska Zoo
(907) 346-2133
4731 O'Malley Road
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Vary by season; check the website
Cost
Adults $10; Seniors & Military $8; Children (3-17) $6, (2 & under) free
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Indoors, Tourist Spots

Alaska Rock Gym
(907) 562-7265
4840 Fairbanks Street
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Winter (Sep 6-May 31) Mon & Wed 3pm-10pm; Tue & Thu 12n-10pm; Fri 12n-11pm; Sat-Sun 12n-9pm: Summer (Jun 1-Sep 5) Mon & Wed 3pm-10pm; Tue, Thu, & Fri 12n-10pm; Sat 3pm-9pm
Cost
Check the website for prices.
Ages
6And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Indoors

Anchorage Parks & Recreation
(907) 343-4562
120 S Bragaw Street
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Parks are usually open from dawn until dusk.
Cost
Free
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Indoors

Music and Movement for Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
(907) 444-7372
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Fri, & Sat 10am-11am, Thu 9:30am-10:30amThu 10:30am-11:30amThu 11:30am-12:30am, , Wed 1pm-2pm
Ages
0-6
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Entertainment

The Alaska Club
(907) 264-2720
1400 West Northern Lights Boulevard
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Open 24 hours; Check website for holiday closures
Cost
Family memberships begin at $125/month
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Indoors, Leagues & Teams

Arctic Gymnastics Center
(907) 563-3330
3330 Arctic Boulevard, Warehouse B
Anchorage, AK
Hours
Schedules are posted online
Cost
Check the website
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Indoors, Leagues & Teams

The Learning Farm
(907) 529-9224
11601 Gander Street
Anchorage, AK
Cost
Varies by program.
Ages
3And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes

Great Big World

Spending time immersed in nature helps produce happy, well-adjusted kids.

By Violet Snow

April 2010

I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are—a fourth-grader in San Diego, quoted in Last Child in the Woods (Workman Publishing Company, 2005), in which journalist Richard Louv introduced the concept of “nature deficit disorder” in children.

Freewheeling outdoor play, from building stick shelters to cloudgazing, that was once common for children is much less available to today’s youth—and Louv says they’re missing something vital. He blames influences such as the loss of green space, an obsession with safety, educational pressures and the fascination of electronic media.

Numerous studies show that problems such as obesity, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) improve when kids are exposed to nature. Cornell University researchers found that children with ready access to nature handled stress more successfully (Environment and Behavior 5/03). Scientists at the University of Southern California found that children who had park space within 500 meters of home tended to be less overweight (Association of Research Libraries conference, 4/09).

One recent University of Illinois study, involving children with ADHD, may help explain why interaction with nature is so important for all youngsters. It is based on attention restoration theory. Most of the time we use directed attention, which lets us focus on tasks but also fatigues with use. Involuntary attention is spontaneous and does not require effort. Natural settings often contain elements that engage involuntary attention, which allows directed attention to rest and recover.

In this study, children with ADHD took guided walks for 20 minutes through three different settings: a park, a quiet downtown area and a residential neighborhood. The youngsters’ capacity for concentration was tested after every walk; they scored higher after walking in the park than after the other outings (Journal of Attention Disorders 8/08).

Nature’s regenerative effects can be observed in all children, but they often need encouragement. The second edition of Last Child in the Woods (2008) lists 100 suggestions for connecting kids and nature, such as buying a truckload of dirt to play in; going for a family walk when the moon is full; buying field guides to birds, trees and flowers; planting a butterfly garden; and studying animal tracking.

Andrea Taylor, PhD, one of the University of Illinois researchers, believes that these study results offer clear implications for public policy. “We have to make nature accessible,” she says. “It’s not enough to have a massive park six blocks away. There should be small pockets of natural area near the home.

Louv’s book sparked the creation of a Children and Nature Network ( www.childrenandnature.org ) to promote awareness and push for legislation. Such calls for action are starting to bear f...

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