Balanced and Barefoot Blog

Outdoor play and the unrestricted freedom of movement-based programs are vital for children’s cognitive and physical development, and help ensure that kids grow into healthy, balanced and resilient adults.

Posted on June 22

ADD and the benefits of outdoor play

Abbie McCafferey

Abbie McCafferey

When I was eight, I would sit down at the counter after school, lay out all my homework, but I wouldn’t get anything done for 2 hours. I wouldn’t fidget or run around, but I’d get distracted, get a snack, start to do homework, and then daydream instead. My mom tried her best to get […]

Posted on March 21

Beyond Skill Building: Nature & Self-Identity

Ellie Leonard

Ellie Leonard

It is a Thursday evening in November, 2020 and I am staring at my weekly planner incredulously. How in the world was I going to prepare for multiple assignments and an exam next week, visit with my fiancé for the two days she’s in town, and make travel arrangements for my next clinical rotation all […]

Posted on January 21

Is Snow A Loose Part?

Stephanie Wetherbee

Stephanie Wetherbee

When you hear snow in the forecast, what comes to mind? Do you think of ceaseless shoveling? A slow morning commute? Or do you think about the hours of fun you had as a child building, creating, and sledding in the endless sea of white? For me, I look back upon my childhood winters fondly, […]

Posted on May 28

How TimberNook Changed My Approach to Parenting

Steve Renner

Steve Renner

I became a parent in the early 2000s, right at the peak of the Baby Einstein epidemic.   The working theory at the time was that the combination of bright colors, moving geometric shapes, and classical music would spark brain development in babies and toddlers.   As with many other “fad” marketable strategies, the evidence […]

Posted on March 2

Why I’m Glad I Built Forts as a Kid

Jillian McCalvey

Jillian McCalvey

By Jillian McCalvey I built my first house at nine-years-old. Not alone of course. Building something as complex as a house takes nothing short of a community. So, I enlisted the help of my two closest friends: Grace and Olivia. We quickly got to work on our “masterpiece” and chose a perfect plot between two […]

Posted on October 26

Occupational Therapy in its Truest Form – An Occupational Therapy Student’s Perspective

Shayna Kennedy

Shayna Kennedy

I broke both occupational therapy and TimberNook down to their fundamental cores and made an important realization: TimberNook is not only a form of occupational therapy, but it is occupational therapy in its truest, most meaningful form.

Posted on July 27

A Post-Pandamic Blessing — A Deeper Appreciation of Nature

Devon Karchut

Devon Karchut

The evening glow is settling in. As the trail dips down, I feel a cool pocket of air around me. The trees are bursting with new growth, and I see three deer bounding up a hill in the distance.  There is hardly anyone else around even though I’m in a park in the middle of […]

Posted on March 30

Creating Child-friendly Environments During Tricky Times

Colleen Christman

Colleen Christman

In 2019, I would have said that in an increasingly overscheduled world, play is even more important. Now, just 4 months later and in the midst of a global pandemic, I repeat the same message, and for a similar reason– play brings joy.  The benefits of play are no secret. Children learn about the world […]

Posted on February 12

Why Adults Should (Frequently!) Refrain from Directing Children’s Play

Elizabeth Wilkins

Elizabeth Wilkins

By Elizabeth Wilkins & Angela Hanscom The woods are unusually crowded with adults. As a TimberNook provider, I am used to being one of only a few adults in the forest. However, today we have our parent/child group out exploring the space. The parents appear just as eager as the children when entering the natural […]

Posted on January 16

Building Confidence & Competence through Play

Chirsta Thomas

Chirsta Thomas

Growing up, the neighborhood kids and I had a special place where we liked to play. We called it, “the dirt field” and that is exactly what it was — a large wide-open space of red clay with a small patch of trees on the backside of a neighboring farm. We loved it, because it […]