We built a fishing rod to explore outdoor learning

 DIY Fishing Rod

Go Fish, DIY Style

My son Blake and I built this fishing rod out of spare parts we found on-site, including the reel and worm – we basically just brought the white string and a paperclip (as a safe hook) with the idea we'd find or build everything else we would need. Fun and challenging for both of us, we got guidance along the way from JCRPA representatives Carl and Chris (thx guys!) and had a blast casting out... even though the "big one" got away that day :).

Open to the public and located right in the heart of Jersey City, this is a unique resource for outdoor play and learning. There are a wide range of activities – include hiking, biking, fishing, exploring, and learning about nature – and the JCRPA also currently holds free Saturday fishing events (children 7+ or kids <7 with adults) that include rod/gear, as well as other events such as kayaking during the summer. Check the JCRPA website and JCRPA Facebook page for additional details.

Children need spaces for play and outdoor exploration to establish a love for our environment, experience nature-based activities, as well as build physical and mental health. Unstructured, outdoor places for play and exploration are essential to learning and healthy development for kids everywhere. As Sue Palmer writes:

"What the experts do know is that play, especially play in the natural world, is vital for children’s physical and mental health. It underpins everything from self-confidence and social skills to behaviour control and emotional resilience." – Outdoor play: why it's important

Childhood is a relatively short time during which we form the basis for lifelong learning, goals, and values. It is also a time when our youth need balance and healthy exposure to all our world– including nature– has to offer their education. Learning, like life, exists both inside and out of the structures we build, and it's critical to the successful future of our communities for part of education to occur outside as well. You may also be interested in a U.K. program, Project Wild Thing, that encourages children to explore and embrace nature:

Project Wild Thing is a movement to get kids playing outside more, roaming freely and re-connecting with the natural world on our doorsteps. – PWT

Hat-tip to @NarcisoEspiritu for showing us this one, and for JCRPA on-site assistants Paul, Carl, and Chris for helping us explore it on our recent prescout visits – it's a unique natural playspace and outdoor community educational resource located right in our city. Drop a comment below if you've been here, and help vote it up if you'd like to see us do an episode on it.