The Nature Explore Classroom at

Mill Creek Activity Center Natureplay
Johnson County Park & Recreation District

From its conception, the Natureplay outdoor classroom has been designed around mud. One of the first features installed was a mud kitchen, followed by a mud pit. Children flock to the mud pit when the spring rains fill it with fresh, cool water. Shoes come off, toes squish in the clay, and some children even wallow in the mud like a pig, covering every square inch of their body in mud. International Mud Day is celebrated every June with a mud fest. For the children who don’t embrace the mud as much as others, there are many other options.

The hill is a favorite of nearly every student that has come through the program. Rolling, running, or sledding down the hill provide endless hours of fun for all. The teaching staff find delight in the vegetable gardens. Seeing the joy and amazement on the children’s faces as seeds turn to sprouts and then turn to produce, sparks joy in our hearts. We also enjoy the fruits of our own labor and enjoy the fresh produce with the children. In the summer and fall, our gathering area is nestled into a tallgrass prairie. One of our favorite activities in the gathering area is searching for insects and evidence of insects amongst the plants and the tree stumps. In all seasons, and for all reasons, we love our outdoor classroom!



6518 Vista Drive
Shawnee, KS