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Childhood, Unplugged

September 20 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Outdoor play is associated with positive cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. In today’s tech-heavy world, children experience more screen time and are savvier than ever engaging with technology. Where can we find balance?

Colorado is rich in outdoor resources, but many families and communities struggle with inequitable access to these resources due to geographic, financial, safety, and other constraints. Fortunately, many public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and initiatives across the state and country are seeking to address these very issues.

This event invited attendees to discuss technology and hands-on learning’s impact on child development. We explored barriers and opportunities to improve equitable access and identify low-cost, low-burden strategies to thoughtfully incorporate good outdoor and experiential learning practices in formal and informal learning environments.

Childhood, Unplugged is presented in partnership with Great Outdoors Colorado and the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Want to learn more about outdoor learning and free play? Download our Childhood Unplugged Reading and Resource List for additional reading and local resources

Event Description:

Keynote Remarks: Dr. Yuko Munakata, Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder, Cognitive Development Center

Moderated, Multidisciplinary Response Panel, featuring:

– Sarah Konradi, Program Director, National Wildlife Federation Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) Initiative

– Mary Mackenzie, ICS Senior Fellow, and Child Care Quality Improvement Consultant

– Justin Svingen, Planner, Public Health Madison and Dane County leading the National League of Cities-funded Connecting Children to Nature Network Initiative

The panel will zoom from the individual, educator-level to coordinated systems building, connecting the dots and exploring low-cost strategies to apply across a variety of disciplines. Attendees are encouraged to participate in this discussion!

5:45-7:00: Networking Reception and Exhibitor Expo. The exhibitor expo will connect attendees to the various organizations and government entities working to increase access to outdoor learning experiences. To be held outside in Joy Park, the outdoor play area at the Children’s Museum, the expo is designed to make experiential learning, equity, and early childhood work more visible and tangible to those not directly in the environmental education space.


September 20
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
2121 Children's Museum Drive
Denver, CO 80211 United States


Institute for Child Success