TimberNook Orlando: And We’re Off!

Welcome to Orlando, TimberNook!

Sunday, March 19th marked another exciting moment in 2017 for everyone at Doglando: TimberNook time! TimberNook Orlando is an official partner of TimberNook, a creator of innovative, creative summer and day kids camps that give children ample time to explore their surroundings, create, build, design, take risks, and dive into their imagination – all while fostering a love for the great outdoors.

Basically, these camps demonstrate the importance of play, while giving participants opportunities to dive deep into more playful experiences. 

Before the children’s camps started on Monday, we held a special event for adults-only. We wanted grown-ups to experience the magic of TimberNook for themselves. Lucky for us, it was also Holi! I won’t go too far into the specifics, but Holi is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring, and it’s celebrated in India and Nepal.

It’s also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”. If you’ve ever seen the Color Run, you’ve seen one of Holi’s favorite activities in action: an explosion of colored powder!

The therapeutic benefits of play

Each TimberNook camp has specific benefits, and the Holi event was no different. I’ll take you through the day by explaining some of the therapeutic benefits of play that our participants experienced.

Strength & Endurance

We did a lot of running around in the woods – stretching, moving through grass and around obstacles, bending, and all sorts of other muscle movements. It was a full-body experienced that involved navigating tree limbs, walking through muddy areas, and wading through tall grass.

The goal was to find sari fabric, and then everyone had to search the area for their color. There were 9 participants, and everyone had their own color.

Once the color-throwing started it was easy to see who was getting their color on the most people!

Planning & Problem Solving

Holi wasn’t a contest, but it was still a challenge, and there was a level of competitiveness.

People wanted to find their color first, squirt/spray/toss their color on other people first, and more. They needed to ask themselves, “How much or how little should I use?” and “Is there anyone I haven’t gotten yet?”

Fine Motor Coordination

Participants also had to wrap their sari from the fabric that they found in the woods. If you’ve ever done this before, you know it’s no easy task. You have to fold the pleats in a certain way, and only 3 fingers can be used. Everyone had to learn how to coordinate their hands to get the job done.

Gross Motor Coordination

This benefit wasn’t intentional, but it was amazing to watch. Aside from Doglando staff, most of the people who came to play were seniors. Our Holi experience involved so much robust movement and play.

Unfortunately, our world doesn’t usually allow for this type of movement with seniors, because we’re so concerned about safety. But they’re so desperate for that level of interaction and engagement with the world around them.

Balance

Some people even fell as they were playing… and that’s totally okay! We don’t get to balance and move often in our daily lives, and running around on uneven terrain with obstacles way a great way for all of us to test our balance.

Engaging All Senses, Moving the Body on a Grand Scale

Walking through the tall grass, through the mud, climbing obstacles, listening to where everyone is, might want to creep up on them, auditory awareness and processing.

Sensory Awakening

How often do we really use all of our senses? Holi had us smelling the bonfire, feeling the fresh earth we were digging into, smelling the scent of roasted papadums, and so much more. Everyone had their own unique experiences around the senses, too.

The purpose of play

The idea behind this Holi-based play experience was to allow our group of adults to enjoy an uninhibited play experience, totally free spirited. There was so much creative expression going on.

We were getting into each other’s spaces as we tried to throw our colors on each other, and for some people that can be really uncomfortable. We all had to “step outside the box,” so to speak, and get our color on everyone… not just the people we may have known beforehand and were comfortable with.

And that’s part of the beauty of play: This life-giving expression of creativity and movement helps us learn, move, try new things, test our assumptions… and that’s just the beginning. As Sunday’s TimberNook experience demonstrated, play isn’t just for children.

But, we will be recapping the TimberNook Orlando children’s camps as well. Check back in tomorrow to learn all about what the kids have been up to!

For more information on enrolling your child in TimberNook Orlando, click here.

Do you make play a priority in your life? How do you play with your children? How do you play with your dog(s)? We’re trying to start a Play Revolution here at Doglando, so please speak up, share your thoughts, and help us make the world a more playful place!