Outdoor Classroom

Welcome to the Outdoor Classroom!

Studies confirm that play in the outdoors leads children to relax, be happy, and form a bond with the natural world. Outdoor play boosts their physical and mental health, prepares them to learn, and teaches them to love and respect nature!


Can you find the bronze animals hiding in the garden?

 IMG_2908Raccoon - Art by Geoffrey Gross

IMG_3952TZFP1116Titmouse and eggs - Art by Geoffrey Gross 

IMG_3953Pinacate Beetle -  Art by Geoffrey Gross 

BQKK6042Deer Mouse -  Art by Geoffrey Gross

sawmill horned toadHorned Toad - Art by Geoffrey Gross

chubRoundtail Chub - Art by Geoffrey Gross 


… what each animal eats … what sounds does it make?

… if the animals were real, how would you get close to them?



… hop on the boulders and walk on the logs; see if you can balance like an ant on a stick.

classroomAnimal Tracks Path by Geoffrey Gross


… using the sticks, pine cones, shells, stones, and tree rounds in the baskets to make patterns, build things, and play games. 

 TNTG3903Art and installation by Geoffrey Gross 

For Parents


Children naturally seek out play that builds skills, develops their bodies and brains, and uses their imaginations. The following "behavioral schema" are ways of growth and development seen in all children, all over the world. 

  1. Transport: carry things in hands or arms, or use a bucket or a wagon.
  2. Rotate/circulate: spin, run in circles, stir things, roll down hills, watch a spinning object. 
  3. Trajectory: line up objects, walk on a log, balance on a line; drop, toss, or roll things.
  4. Position: arrange objects or people, including other children; draw, paint, or carve lines and patterns.
  5. Enclose: cover, wrap, or shelter things, including themselves.
  6. Connect: connect things to one another with tape, glue, or string.
  7. Transform: decorate or modify objects.

FJFR3568Rest in nature at the bench, art by Geoffrey Gross

 For More Information: children and nature

Children & Nature Network

Cities Connecting Children to Nature 

Who Made the Outdoor Classroom?


Coconino Parks and Recreation Natural Resource Supervisor Geoffrey Gross created the bronze animals, fish pond, shelves, fence, animal prints in the concrete, and wooden bench.

Eagle Scout candidate Austin Rae sealed and stained the benches, then led fellow scouts and adults in spreading and compacting cinnamon soil on the classroom's "floor."