Guest Blog Post by Amy Nelson, with Outdoor Education Adventures

Outdoor Science Explorers (OSE) is a seasonal enrichment program that gets kids outside playing, adventuring, and learning.  This nature immersion program for kids 5-11 years old is designed to build self-reliance and social skills, and increase knowledge of local plants and animals.

OSE can help get kids moving and exploring outside. Kids today spend more time than ever in front of a screen. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) a recent study found that kids ages 8-18 years spend an average of 7 hours a day looking at screens! The AAP also states that excessive screen time contributes to obesity, irregular sleep patterns, impaired academic performance and issues with social skills, emotional awareness and attention spans.

Playing outside helps develop gross motor skills, coordination, and balance. Being in nature also improves mental and emotional health by reducing stress and increasing exposure to natural light and fresh air. Additionally, children who spend more time outside tend to have longer attention spans, better concentration, and improved memory.

Getting kids outside not only improves physical and mental health but also strengthens social skills and self-reliance as well. Outdoor Science Explorers helps build self-reliance by providing opportunities for kids to explore, problem-solve, and make their own decisions. OSE also provides opportunities for managed risk taking which can help kids build confidence and resilience. OSE is also a great way for kids to build social skills and learn to work collaboratively.

In addition to the health and developmental benefits it provides, OSE also helps kids increase their knowledge of local plants and animals. We create opportunities to observe and connect with the natural world with hands-on learning experiences. When children are in nature the educational impact is significant. They can see different plants and animals in their natural habitats and learn about their characteristics, behaviors and relationships with other species. They also witness the different seasons and experience the subtle seasonal shifts throughout the year.  By providing kids with opportunities to explore and discover the natural world, Outdoor Science Explorers can foster a deep understanding and appreciation for the diversity of life.

To help your kids get more green time and less screen time, sign them up for Outdoor Science Explorers today! OSE meets Mondays at Miller Woods from 9:00am – 12:00pm (for homeschool families) and Wednesdays at Maple Grove Nature School from 2:00pm – 4:30pm. Visit our website’s Camps & Programs page to learn more and register.


Amy Nelson grew up playing and exploring the woods of northeast Texas. Those long days spent building forts, fishing, and climbing trees fostered a deep love of the natural world. A trained ecologist, Amy earned a B.S. in Agroecology and Environmental Quality from the University Hawaii at Hilo. Much of her life has been spent working in and exploring the outdoors. She was the founder, director, and facilitator of the Yamhill County Free Forest School. Amy currently teaches at Maple Grove Nature School and facilitates Outdoor Science Explorers.