Friday, March 1, 2013

Nature Themed Preschool Programs

My three year old LOVES getting out in nature. He asks about going to nature preschool several times a week, bought his own bird feeder, and often requests nature hikes.

Want to get your preschool aged child out in nature more? It's great to get out in the backyard, grow plants, and take nature hikes; however, there are several options to learn together with other children as well. I find that sometimes I "mean" to pull together cool things like this, but don't get around to it or don't have as much knowledge about some topics. It's nice to have a professional pull it together and attend a program around a natural theme. In fact, I learn from these programs as well!

Elkhart County Parks--Nature Nuts
They have one program a month for the preschool aged group. Here is their current schedule. We love these programs!

Age:  3-5 years

Time:  9:30 – 11 a.m.
Cost:  $4/child, $3/additional sibling
Preregister: Call (574) 535-6458
Location:  Ox Bow Haus Shelter, Ox Bow County Park

March 5th--Owls
April 9th--WildflowersMay 7th--Ducks
June 4th--Worms

St. Joseph County Parks--Nature Munchkins

I'm looking forward to trying these out with my three year old! Nature Munchkins is designed for parents or grandparents to discover nature with their 3- to 4- year old. The sessions are scheduled for the third Thursday of every month from 9:30 to 11am at St. Patrick’s Park. The fee is $5 per adult-child pair and $3 for a second child. Participants may register for four sessions for $16. Advance registration and payment are required. Siblings outside of the age bracket are not allowed to attend please. For more information or to register call 574/654-3155. (Min. 5; max. 10)
  • March 14: Spring Babies
  • April 18: Rockin’ Reptiles and Cool Amphibians
  • May 16: BIRDS!
  • June 20: Fish at the Pond
Woodlawn Nature Center--Nurturing Acorns
I help with this program--we spend time outside almost every week and blend some preschool elements with learning about nature.

Nurturing Acorns is a nature preschool group based at Woodlawn Nature Center. We use hands-on nature themed units with edible crafts, nature exploration, playtime, learning and story time, and art projects. The cost is $28/child for the 8 sessions. There is a $4 discount for Woodlawn Nature Center Members. There is a $4 sibling discount for the second sibling. If younger siblings (above age 1 1/2 or so) attend, please pay half price for materials and consumable fee. Sign up by 
March 27th, 2013, with payment, or check on availability later. Email Woodlawn Nature Center any questions.

Wednesdays, 10 am-12 pm
April 10-Spring
April 17-Bugs, Insects, and Other Critters
April 24-Birds, Nests, and Eggs

May 1-Flowers and Plants
May 8-Butterflies and Ladybugs
May 15-Environmental Art
May 22-Pond Life
May 29-Water Cycle/Water Play

There is also a current group finishing out their March session, if interested.
March 6-Fossils
March 13-Dinosaurs
March 20-Fairy Houses and Huts
March 27-Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve (Additional Cost)

This is more of a play time to explore the museum and trails. Many materials beyond the regular activities of the center will be available. This is open to all ages, but tends to be younger children and homeschool children.
All times are 10 am to noon. It is $2/child or free for members. Feel free to bring a snack. Drop in--no registration required.

Upcoming dates:
March 8th--Fossils 
March 22nd--Dinosaurs
April 12th--Spring
April 26th--Birds
May 10th--Butterflies and Ladybugs
May 24th--Pond Life and Water Cycle

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