Outdoor Children's Camps Portland OR

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Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
(503) 797-4000
1945 SE Water Avenue
Portland, OR
Hours
Daily, 9:30am-5:30pm
Cost
Adults (14-62) $11; Seniors & Children (3-13) $9
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Indoors, Tourist Spots

Do Jump
(503) 231-1232
1515 SE 37th Avenue
Portland, OR
Hours
Check the website for a current schedule.
Cost
Moderate.
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Entertainment

Giant Campus Summer Camps - Portland
(888) 904-2267
Portland, OR
Hours
See website for current offerings
Cost
Moderate
Ages
17-Jun
Services Available
Camps, Classes

The Playground Gym
(503) 235-7529
505 NE Grand Avenue
Portland, OR
Hours
Check the website for a class schedule.
Cost
$$
Ages
12-Jan
Services Available
Camps, Childcare, Classes, Indoors

Museum of Contemporary Craft
(503) 223-2654
724 Northwest Davis Street
Portland, OR
Hours
Tue?Sun 11am-6pm; Thu open till 8pm
Cost
Free
Ages
7And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Indoors, Tourist Spots

Shaking The Tree Theatre
(503) 235-0635
1407 SE Stark Street
Portland, OR
Hours
Check the website
Cost
$
Ages
Unknown
Services Available
Camps, Entertainment

Portland Rock Gym
(503) 232-8310
21 NE 12th Avenue
Portland, OR
Hours
Mon, Wed, Fri 11am-11pm; Tue, Thu 7am-11pm; Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 9am-6pm
Cost
Day, month, and annual passes are available
Ages
6And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
(503) 234-0468
3131 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR
Hours
See below.
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Parents Resources

Cami Curtis Performing Arts Center - Portland
(503) 227-8649
1932 W Burnside Street
Portland, OR
Hours
Mon-Thu 3-9pm; Sat 10 am-1 pm
Cost
$$
Ages
3And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Entertainment

The Young Players
(503) 624-7499
4300 SW 47th Drive
Portland, OR
Hours
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Cost
Moderate.
Ages
13-May
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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