Not your average exercise trail signs, the Born Learning Trail throws in an extra spoonful by promoting positive and engaging parent-child interaction, and both Great Bend and Claflin will benefit from the new trail in each community. The Born Learning Trail combines exercise with 10 educational signs that will provide a change of pace for relationship building and family exercise.
“There are fun activities to do with a child,” said Julie Bugner-Smith, director of the United Way of Central Kansas. “It will help parents engage kids and help them to learn.
“This will be an asset to the community,” she said.
In Great Bend, the Trail is at the zoo, and in Claflin, at the Claflin Recreation Center.
The trail building was a collaboration between the UWCK, Young Professionals, and the Claflin and Great Bend city crews. The Young Professionals group volunteered last Saturday morning to paint sidewalks with bright, decorative green, pink and purple flowers, shapes, and insects.
“It’s physical and mental, and an all sensory experience,” said Andrea Bauer, Young Professionals. “You waddle like a duck and jump like a frog.” She added that it’s a great supplement to other zoo activities.
Great Bend city crews assisted with stencils for the painting, and Claflin and Great Bend crews installed sign posts where needed. These helping with the stencils were James “Chewy” Giles, Tom Welcher and Vivian Bahr.
The Harms Trust and the United Way paid for the signs in Great Bend, and the United Way and CUNA paid for the signs in Claflin.
Volunteers Saturday morning were Emily Cowles, Andrea Bauer, Levi Stevens, Kirra Stevens, Sarah Mauler, Megan Hammeke, Parker Towles, Lexi Brack, Jean Aycock, Melissa Hipp, Julie Smith, Claudia Elsen, Richard Ammel, Brandon Steinert, Leann Steinert and Morgan Stevens.
In Claflin, volunteers were Christina Hayes, Steve Kummer-UWCK board member, Desa Bahr-UWCK board member, Austin Coyan and Emily Goad.
The signs are:
• Watch! Stop! Learn! Play! - Asks the child to lead the way by watching the things the child likes to do and what captures their interest.
• Look! Learn! Laugh! - Stand in circles, looking at each other and making each other smile or laugh.
• Talk! Listen! Sing! - Listen to the birds and ask what are they saying?
• See! Say! Point! Read! Point to the letters on the ground and say the sound.
• Imagine! Create! Pretend! Tell stories about yourself and your family.
• Jump! Clap! Skip! Move! Pretend to move like an animal. Walk backwards. Follow the leader.
• Hop! Toss! Shake! Wiggle! Play hopscotch. Take turns.
• Describe! Compare! Learn! Look at the shapes on the ground to talk about.
• Look! Listen Touch! Thank! Find a flower or tree. Touch it and talk about it.