Outdoor Children's Camps Fitchburg MA

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4-H Camp Middlesex
(978) 386-7704
Ashby, MA
 
Camp Nashoba Day
(978) 486-8088
Littleton, MA
 
Animal Adventures Education & Science Center
(978) 779-8988
336 Sugar Road
Bolton, MA
Hours
Tue-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 12n-5pm
Cost
Begins at $12 per person. Special group rates.
Ages
2And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Indoors, Kids Resources

One Stop Fun
(978) 692-9907
49 Power Road
Westford, MA
Cost
See below.
Ages
12-Jan
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Indoors

NARA Summer Camp
NARA Park, 25 Ledge Rock Way, Acton, MA,Acton Recreation Dept, 472 Main St.
Acton, MA
Hours
NARA Park is open year-round and is staffed seasonally from Memorial Day until the end of August. Summer Camp sessions run from the end of June through the end of August. NARA Park and Summer Camp are operated by the Town of Acton Recreation Dept.; open year-round Monday-Friday from 8 am - 5 pm.
Cost
$125 for ages 4 and 5. $205 for ages 6-13
Ages
13-Apr
Services Available
Camps

Lawrence Academy Summer Programs
(978) 448-1610
Groton, MA
 
Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary
(978) 464-2712
113 Goodnow Road
Princeton, MA
Hours
Nature Center: Tue-Fri 10am-2pm, Sat & Mon holidays 10am-4pm, Sun 12:30pm-4pm. Trails are open daily, dawn to dusk.
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps

Nashoba Valley Ski Area
(978) 692-3033
Powers Road
Westford, MA
Hours
Ski season: end of Nov to mid-Mar
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Classes

Quail Ridge Country Club
(978) 264-0399
352 Great Road
Acton, MA
Cost
$$
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps

Camp Quail Ridge
(800) 627-2267
352 Great Road
Acton, MA
Cost
$$
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps

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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