Jacob Rodenburg, executive director of Camp Kawartha, said it is especially important to stay active during the pandemic and during the winter.
“The latest research is showing that being outside even 20 minutes a day boosts your serotonin levels, which means you feel better,” he said. “These days especially, kids are trapped in front of screens so getting them outside is more important than ever.”
Rodenburg had a few ideas on how to stay busy this season.
“I’ve been getting really into snow sculpting,” Rodenburg said. “What you do is take a recycling bin, fill it with snow, build it a couple of levels high and then let the snow sinter.”
He said sintering means leaving your snow pile for a couple of hours, allowing the snowflakes to coalesce. Then you can carve and shape it.
Rodenburg said another activity to try this season is looking for animal tracks.
“When you see a set of tracks, take a look at it and see if you can figure out which way it’s going and then take a look at its pattern or its gate.”
He said you can also try a winter scavenger hunt, like in this YouTube video from the camp.
“Just spending a bit of time outside in nature each day can have a huge impact on our mood,” Rodenburg said.
And if you are still looking for more, he said they are starting another session of Forest School at Camp Kawartha, on Jan. 11, 2020. It is an alternative to indoor learning that was launched during the pandemic.
“Some parents are hesitant about sending their kids back to class,” Rodenburg said. “We follow the curriculum, but our work is done outdoors in smaller groups.”
He said the kids still learn math and English, but it is done through nature.
“Our educators are really talented. They are inspired and love taking the kids outside,” Rodenburg said. “We cross country ski and snowshoe to stay both physically and mentally active.”