Why Nature Play?
Welcome to Wild and Free! As you may have gleaned from our website - we are an indoor, nature inspired free play space in the mountains of Summit County, Colorado.
One of my favorite past times as a kid was playing in the woods. I don't ever recall being bored when I was outside. We were fortunate to live on a little land with a small stream, enough forest that you could hardly see the neighbors, and a decent hill for sledding. What more could a kid want?
Fast forward to our current lives in the mountains. We are surrounded by some of the most breathtaking landscape in the world, yet we rarely see kids engaging in extensive, unstructured, outdoor free play. Add in the 8 months of winter, demanding job schedules, tons of after school activities...and our kids have structure from the moment we drag them out of bed until we send them back to it!
This is what inspired Wild and Free. I am so grateful for our wonderful recreation centers, art studios, and libraries...but I've longed for a place where I could bring my kids and just let them PLAY. Better yet...I wanted a place where they could play as if they were outside. Being in nature is amazing for a child's mental and physical development. It ignites their imaginations, strengthens their ability to concentrate, and stimulates their senses. Kids playing together in natural environments navigate leadership, cooperation, and teamwork. They will unknowingly learn limits, managing risk, and problem solving.
Wild and Free is not meant to replace outdoor play...it is meant to give kids and parents the confidence to engage in unstructured outdoor play. We want kids to become comfortable with using their imaginations...turning sticks and boughs into forts, creating small worlds for creatures of their imaginations to live in, and practicing using the tools that our outdoor community engages with on a daily basis. For a lot of kids (and parents), taking the leap to allowing your kids to play outside, unstructured and unhindered, is a huge change. Wild and Free exists as a stepping stone to this shift in mindset...and for a fun place to come play when the weather is down right crappy outside.
Want to learn more about the benefits of spending time in nature? Richard Louv is a thought leader on the importance of nature in our lives - I highly recommend his books!