Recently we shared with you about all the fun we’ve been having in our Family Nature Club program, but it’s not just the kids that get to have all the fun. At the end of February we’re providing a FREE nature play training workshop for adults and we hope YOU will join us! The concepts of and benefits from nature play are important for parents and caregivers to understand so they can best encourage, support, and even appropriately join in the fun with their children. Our introductory workshop will give you a taste of just how much fun nature play can be.

This Phoenix Zoo is honored to present this workshop thanks to a grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, funded with support from the Disney Foundation. The Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo and Aquarium grant we received allows us to offer staff, volunteer, and community training workshops, offer fee waivers for our Family Nature Club so families can attend for free, and purchase materials to support our efforts at the Zoo and out in the community.

Nature Play Community Workshop
Sunday, February 26, 2017
1:30 – 4 p.m.

Location: South Mountain Environmental Education Center
Fee: FREE, but registration is required
Participant age: 18+ years old, this workshop is designed for parents, grandparents, and early childhood educators/caregivers

This workshop is limited to 60 participants, but additional registrants will be added to a wait list. You will receive notice whether you are on the registration confirmed list or wait list.

**Online registration closes on Thursday, February 23, 2017**

Register today!

Workshop Description:
This workshop is designed to help participants understand the importance of nature play and gain skills and confidence to seek out play opportunities on their own as well as engage with others through a variety of resources in their local community. Research has shown that free play immersed in an outdoor setting is fundamental to connecting children with the natural world around them. The Phoenix Zoo feels strongly that time spent outside, playing, exploring, enjoying and discovering in an unstructured way, is an essential component in the development of healthy children. We also acknowledge that the desert environment and our hot Arizona climate can be an intimidating factor that can limit parent and child comfort.

By attending this introductory workshop, adult participants will become more aware of and versed in the benefits and practice of nature play. Discussions will explore the barriers to nature play and identify solutions. Participants will recognize ways they can encourage and techniques they can use to support child-directed play with the goal of becoming more comfortable encouraging nature play in both developed and wild environments.

Benefits:
Participants will receive:

  • Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Learners Activity Guide – a full-color 11”x17” activity guide that focuses on wildlife and nature exploration and features 27 field-tested, hands-on, nature-based, ready-made thematic units and over 400 experiences
  • Nature Play Resource Packet
  • “Inspiration Kit” of creative play materials
  • Access to an invitation-only Phoenix Zoo Nature Play focused Facebook group – share and be inspired by ideas, relevant articles, and local opportunities to build and strengthen community ties through nature play
  • A fun and exciting experience – learn and play in a supportive environment that encourages social interaction and collaborative effort
  • An opportunity for increased knowledge of and comfort and practice in facilitating nature play with young children