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Interactive trails combine learning and fun at local parks

December 20, 2018

United Way team members attended the Forestry Tower Park Born Learning Trail ribbon cutting Monday, Dec.17, 2018. Pictured (left to right): Coretta Hill, vice president of volunteer and community engagement, Mark Mitchell, corporate engagement development manager, Jan Morse, director of childhood and youth strategies, and Erica La Spada, volunteer and community engagement manager.


Have you ever stumbled upon a trail of children’s games in a Northeast Florida park? If so, you may have encountered a United Way Born Learning Trail.

Born Learning Trails are a series of 10 interactive games for young children marked by engaging instructional signs. The trails turn a trip to the park into an active learning experience, helping children develop skills for school readiness.

Play is more critical to a child’s development than most people realize. From the moment a child is born they possess an incredible natural ability to learn from their experiences. According to Lego Foundation, “Young children have an imagination and inventiveness that helps them create new ideas, opportunities, and a strong motivation to connect and engage with others. Play harnesses and builds on this potential.”

Not only does the combination of education and entertainment keep children more engaged in learning, children are also more likely to retain what they learned according to Dinner Table MBA.

United Way offers Born Learning Trail installations as an engagement opportunity for corporate and leadership donors. Most recently, volunteers from Regency Centers and United Way’s Builders Society installed trails, generously sponsored by Aldi, in Forestry Tower Park and Crystal Springs Park. The trails cost $3,000 to install and require close to 30 hours of labor with the help of more than 15 volunteers.

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How you can help

At United Way, we advocate for initiatives that provide children the resources they need to succeed in school, ensuring equitable education opportunities and promoting lifelong learning. And we believe the foundation of a successful life begins with high-quality early learning. You can join us in the fight for high-quality education by joining the movement for community change. For opportunities on how you can get involved, visit unitedwaynefl.org/get-involved.