Optimum Customers: Your Newsday access has been extended until Oct 1st. Enroll now to continue your access.

LEARN MORE
TODAY'S PAPER
63° Good Afternoon
63° Good Afternoon
LifestyleFamily

Outdoor classrooms on Long Island

Now that the weather is warm and the days are longer, there's no better time to get outside with your kids. "When you connect a child to nature, you're enhancing their brain development, their health and fitness," says Patricia Manzi, director of LINCK (Long Island Collaborative for Kids), a project of The Early Years Institute in Plainview.

One of LINCK's initiatives is creating outdoor classrooms, or all-nature play spaces in parks, preserves, schools, libraries and farms throughout Long Island. These natural learning environments feature simple outdoor play such as digging in dirt or sand, building using wooden blocks, gardening, art and music using natural materials and water activities.

There are five on Long Island that are open to the public (most of them are free), 13 that are featured in schools and early childhood programs and more than 10 that are in the process of being built. Check them out today.-- Compiled by Jennifer Berger

The Nature Explorium at the Middle Country Library

The Nature Explorium at the Middle Country Library (101 Eastwood Blvd., Centereach) is a hands-on outdoor learning environment geared toward kids and families. It features areas for digging and playing with dirt, climbing and crawling with wooden logs, building with wooden blocks, art and music using natural materials, planting and a water section.

Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara