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Outdoor classrooms on Long Island

The Nature Explorium at the Middle Country Library

(Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

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

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