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Hands-On-Nature Anarchy Zone

Kids rule at the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone

We all know that children need fun opportunities to get outside and connect with nature in hands-on and bodies-on ways using all their senses, but did you know that children who play outside are more likely to become adults who care about the environment? ICG’s mission is to cultivate environmental stewardship, and we believe the best way to do that is getting kids outside, having fun in the natural world.

The Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone, a partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invites visitors to take it to the next level and dig for worms, play with water, sand, and clay, build forts out of straw bales and stumps, climb trees, and more — and in the process get muddy, wet, and dirty while exploring their connection to nature.

A storage shed houses tools and materials to be used during each program. Locust logs, straw bales, topsoil, river clay, cardboard, sand, and boulders, invite children to play, create, destruct, work together, work alone, solve problems, and have fun.

Featured on the Katie Couric show and recognized on NPR, the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone integrates models of nature play, adventure playgrounds, and city farms from Germany, Scandinavia, and the UK, and works with international play experts to train our playworkers. Ithaca Children’s Garden is the first example in the US of integrating Playwork and nature-based learning into a children’s garden setting.

Made possible by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Park Foundation. International Mud Day and the Festival of Fire & Ice funded with grants by the Tompkins County Tourism Program.