Outdoor Children's Camps Urbandale IA

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Bulldog Soccer Academy
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA
 
Des Moines Menace Soccer
6400 Westown Parkway West
Des Moines, IA
 
Betty Hill Dance Studios
(515) 277-8333
1233 73rd Street
Des Moines, IA
Hours
Check studio website for class schedule.
Ages
4And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes

YMCA of Greater Des Moines
(515) 246-0971
1611 11th Street
Des Moines, IA
Hours
Mon-Fri 5am-10pm; Sat 6am-6pm; Sun 12n-5pm
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Indoors

Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater
(515) 274-6868
401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
Des Moines, IA
Hours
Mon-Wed 9am-5:30pm; Thu 9am-8pm; Fri 9am-9pm; Sat 9am-5:30pm; Sun 12n-5:30pm
Cost
Adults $10-$25; Children (2-12) $7-$19
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Entertainment, Indoors, Tourist Spots

Camp Sunnyside
(515) 289-1933
Des Moines, IA
 
YMCA of Greater Des Moines
(515) 224-1888
948 73rd St
Des Moines, IA
Hours
Mon-Thu 5am-11pm; Fri 5am-10pm; Sat 6am-6pm; Sun 9am-7pm
Ages
All Ages
Services Available
Camps, Indoors

Des Moines Playhouse
(515) 277-6261
831 42nd Street
Des Moines, IA
Hours
Box Office: Tue-Fri 12n-6pm, plus two hours prior to curtain time
Cost
Varies
Ages
4And Up
Services Available
Camps, Classes, Entertainment, Indoors, Tourist Spots

SuperCamp
(800) 285-3276
Des Moines, IA
Hours
2008 Dates: Junior Forum Jul 13-22; Senior Forum Jul 25-Aug 3
Cost
$2,495/10 days
Ages
12And Up
Services Available
Camps, Kids Resources

Living History Farms
(515) 278-5286
11121 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA
Hours
Varies seasonally; check the website.
Cost
Adults $11; Children (4-12) $6; Seniors (60+) $10
Ages
3And Up
Services Available
Camps, Indoors, Tourist Spots

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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