Finding your inner child outdoors

There is a new trend in the outdoor world, adult summer camp. Evidently meeting deadlines, answering emails, paying the mortgage, and all the other responsibilities of adult life have many people longing for a break. Even for a short time, (those bills still need to get paid), the return to carefree, outdoor fun of our childhood days is a dream people are willing to pay for.  

The place that sparks our sense of discovery, exploration, and curiosity can be found right outside your door. Sometimes we need a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or neighbor to show us how to delight in the simple joys of outdoor play. Try laying in a hammock to read a book or drawing with sidewalk chalk on the driveway. It is hard to tune out all the things that aren’t getting done while you are playing. 

Spending time outdoors with a child, you get caught up in his/her sense of wonder. Children help you change the lens you use to view the world. With practice, you may begin to regain your inner childlike sense of play and find yourself skipping stones or organizing a game of wiffle ball with your friends.  

You don’t have to go away to camp to find your inner child, there are plenty of great places to play outdoors in east-central Indiana. There are plenty of neighborhood parks and school playgrounds. Try throwing a frisbee at a neighborhood park or walking through a woods to hear the birds. 

Find a quiet spot and try fishing in the river or at Prairie Creek Reservoir. The purchase of a fishing license supports conservation in Indiana.    

Ride a bike along the Cardinal Greenway, the White River Greenway or a nearby trail. Did you know there are 3 nature preserves along the Cardinal Greenway? Plan to stop at Hughes Nature Preserve, the John M. Craddock Wetlands, or the Red-tail Nature Preserve to have a snack and enjoy nature.  

Walk along a river trail, and then count the turtles sunning themselves on logs and rocks along the river. Build forts, balance on logs, or hop from rock to rock at the nature playground located at Red-tail’s Dutro-Ernst Woods. Wander the trail looking for signs of urban wildlife.  

To really play like a kid don’t plan an outing. Just go outside and look at the clouds, using your imagination to decide what they look like. Grab a blanket and book, get lost in the story and lose track of all time. When the sun goes down, cook hot dogs and s’mores over a campfire (no vegetables). Before you head inside, chase and catch a lightning bug in your hands. Watch it glow and feel the warmth of your happy heart.  

To find places to explore nature nearby visit:  https://www.naturefind.com/

Visit  http://www.fortheland.org/land/ to find a Red-tail Land Conservancy nature preserves to explore.  

Julie Borgmann

Julie Borgmann

Executive Director
Julie Borgmann is the Executive Director for Red-tail Land Conservancy. Her passion is connecting people to nature for conservation and wellbeing.