If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my daughter and I have joined the 1000 Hours Outside movement. Since challenging ourselves to more outside time, I’ve also been diving back into reading lately and learning about the body and the effects of nature and play based learning. I’ve also been listening to the 1000 Hours Outside podcast and have learned something new from each episode. During one episode, I learned about TimberNook. After doing a little research, I found Payton and TimberNook of Greater Omaha.
Payton believes that all children have unique gifts that can be developed and refined within an environment where they are given permission to be themselves. All children deserve ample time and space to organically grow and practice necessary life skills with limited and strategic adult intervention. This is where children are challenged to achieve goals, learn risk assessment skills, enhance problem solving, show empathy, make responsible decisions, and develop healthy identity. Being outdoors in the creation of nature allows for the restoration of the mind, body, and soul. Each child longs for unhurried time in nature to wonder, explore, and create. If we allow children uninterrupted time and space in nature, they will grow and refine their unique gifts and qualities in ways that we could never imagine. I believe this is the recipe for each child to pursue their unique calling in order to change the world.
What is your name?
Where do you work?
-TimberNook of Greater Omaha
What is your job/credentials?
-Master of Occupational Therapy (OTR/L), TimberNook of Greater Omaha owner
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
-Paisley (4 years old), Nehemiah (1 year old)
What do you love about living in Nebraska and your specific area?
-We love living outside of Omaha in the country. We love our surrounding community in Blair. We get to feel like we are a million miles from the nearest grocery store, but we are really only a few miles from the nearest grocery store. We feel blessed to wake up to such beautiful creation every morning.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
-I enjoy playing outside with my kids, collecting vintage playground equipment, gardening, traveling, and spending quality time with my family and friends.
As hard as it is to find the time, what’s something you do just for yourself?
-I like to wake up early to drink my coffee before my kids wake up. This is when I am able to work on the logistical aspects of TimberNook and also read or study things that interest me.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
-People would be surprised to know that I didn’t grow up in the country. Both my husband and I grew up in the city, but we fell in love with the country when we were looking for a spot for our “forever home”. We wanted our kids to grow up in a place where they could spend all day playing outside.
Tell us about your career.
-I graduated in 2017 with my master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. After graduating and passing my board exam, I worked part-time in home health and part-time in a skilled nursing facility until my daughter was born in January in 2018. I continued to work part-time in home health and launched TimberNook of Greater Omaha in July 2020. Now, I stay at home with my kids and run TimberNook of Greater Omaha as my full-time job.
Why did you decide to become an Occupational Therapist? Why & how did you become involved with TimberNook?
-I decided to become an Occupational Therapist because I loved the idea of helping people increase their functional skills through their occupations, or things that are meaningful to them. My greatest fulfillment as an Occupational Therapist is increasing someone’s overall quality of life by helping them increase their function through their meaningful occupations. My inspiration for TimberNook originally started with my daughter, Paisley. When I was 20 weeks pregnant with her, we found out that she had a severe heart defect and various other health problems that would put her at a greater risk to stay on track with typically developing kids. We knew that providing her with an environment where she could develop confidence, resilience, and courage was going to be important throughout her life. Through my hours of research on child development, I found TimberNook. It felt like the program of my hopes and dreams. We were passionate about providing our daughter with an environment that nurtured confidence and courage through healthy risk taking and play, which is the mission of TimberNook. I knew I had to become a TimberNook provider to share this hidden gem with the rest of the community, while also providing this lifestyle for our children. I love being an advocate for all children by giving them the opportunity to develop necessary life skills through proper time and space to play through TimberNook.
What is TimberNook?
-The mission of TimberNook is, “to provide children with sensory-rich play experiences that inspire, restore, and strengthen the mind and body. The environment and activities are carefully chosen to encourage children’s creative play, social connections, and to provide an environment where children can practice and build essential life skills.” TimberNook experiences are developed based on their therapeutic value and ability to inspire children to think and play in new and creative ways. The benefits extend far beyond the duration of the program- children take away valuable skills that can last a lifetime. Research has shown that kids who participated in TimberNook programming demonstrated improved development in the areas of: gross motor, attention, visual skills, auditory processing, fine motor, social skills, creativity, emotional stability, conflict resolution, and problem solving. Children of all abilities are able to challenge their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills at TimberNook, the therapeutic benefits of which are vast and evident to all involved.
What’s the best thing about your job?
-The best thing about my job is that it allows me to run a business that benefits both my kids and the greater community. TimberNook allows me to impact the community, while also impacting my family. I have the privilege of running TimberNook from my own property, which maximizes the time I get to spend with my family. It’s truly a dream job!
How do you “balance” being mama and a business owner? Do you experience the dreaded “mom guilt”?
-I often wake up early before the kids get up to address most of the logistical aspects of my business on a day-to-day basis. When I run my Tiny Ones playgroups, my kids get to come with me to TimberNook, which is awesome. I look forward to the day when my kids can attend all of the TimberNook programming. That is why I brought TimberNook to the greater Omaha area because I know how vital it is for the development of my own kids, and I wanted to share this vital program with the rest of the community. This is more than just a business for me, it is a lifestyle for our family.
What is the best mom advice you’ve ever been given or the best advice you have for new moms?
-The best advice I have for new moms is to try and enjoy time with your kids. Do what feels right and normal. Don’t put too much stress about getting your kids involved in all of the latest activities. They long to spend time with you, even if it means sitting in the sandbox with them while they play in the sand. Being present with them in the moment and investing time with them is one of the best things you can do for their physical, social, and emotional development.
What is a favorite quote that you live by?
-“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows. Not the flower”. Alexander Den Heijer
You can find more about Payton and TimberNook on Facebook.