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Area schools cancel classes for Jan. 22

Nature has what local kids want

Some claim kids don't want to go outside. They lament the lure of the Wii and Game Boy.

But don't let that fool you. Kids love the outdoors. No matter their age, socio-economic status, or background, children are happier when they play outside.

Increasing numbers of studies show that in addition to just plain having fun, children and teens physically learn better, think more creatively, and feel healthier when they get a daily dose of outside time.

Here in Red Wing, kids everywhere are heading outdoors, Live Healthy Red Wing reports. No need for fancy toys or electronics.

Donna Wordelman's fourth-graders wrote that with spring finally here, they plan to make toys out of whatever Mother Nature offers.

Here's a sample:

"I like to use brown sticks, a small gray rock, brown leaves, and a clear blue puddle. I put the sticks together to make a boat and cover the boat with the leaves so it won't sink. Then I put the rock on the bottom to stable it, then put it in the puddle and have races against other stick boats. Whoosh!" - Ella Prew

"I would use a bouncy ball, a stick, and a rubber band to make a sling-shot. I would shoot the ball so my friend's dog could fetch it." - Bryan Zucker

"I would whittle off the bark of an oak branch and use it as a walking stick. Then I would go on a hike and walk on the trails in my woods." - Mattias Fitschen

"In the spring during flood season I go in my back yard and make mini-dams with twigs, mud, and dead grass in the waterways that I dig out." - Tom Nemanich

"I would pretend a cardboard box is my fort and I would lead an army of knights. After that, I would play on a pretend boat and float on the smooth water." - Matthew Wilson

"I like to run down my front yard on the hill. My dog, Molly, does come with me. We find sticks and rocks." - Megan Ormsby

"I would take a couple of sticks and two vines, then line the sticks up next to each other and tie them together with the vines to make a raft. Then I would put it in the middle of a puddle to see if it floats." - Benjamin Prigge

"I like to play with chalk and make a rainbow with beautiful colors and pour water on it to make the colors mix." - Angel Rowan Thomas

"I would use 10 small brown sticks, gray clay from the earth, leaves, and bark. First, I would stick the sticks in the ground to make a cube. Then I would lay the clay on the sticks so they stay. Next, I would put the bark on top of the cube for a roof. Finally, I would make clay people and put leaves on them for clothes." - Mia Gronseth