Face it: winter can be a challenging time for kids and parents. It’s not so easy to get outdoors and burn off excess energy. A “Special Series” of nature-based activities at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center can be just the cure for those wintertime blues.
“It can be really boring to be stuck inside during the winter months,” said Laura McCoy, Nature Programs Supervisor. “Kids need something fun to do.”
Such was the inspiration for the 5-part series of hands-on activities that lets kids ages 1- to 5- years-old explore nature within the warm and welcoming walls of the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center.
“The programs are designed to be enjoyed indoors,” said McCoy, “but just the act of getting out of the house and coming to the Discovery Center gives kids a change of scenery.”
Once the 45-minute guided program ends, children and parents are encouraged to go outside and maybe apply the lessons of that day’s “Special Series” program to what they see on the Discovery Center grounds.
The series kicks off on January 17 with “Snow Much Fun,” an ice-filled adventure that explores the sensory experiences associated with snow and ice through a mixture of science experiments and nature-themed games.
Of course, most people just want to hibernate in winter, a topic that is explored in the second program, “Who’s Awake?” on January 31. With the Discovery Center’s resident critters and animal displays as inspiration, children will learn what creatures hibernate for the winter and how the clothes humans wear mimic the preparations animals take to get ready for this seasonal change.
On Valentine’s Day, with love in the air, kids can learn how they can best love Mother Earth through activities and crafts that focus on recycling materials. The “I Love the Earth!” program on February 14 will have a carnival-like atmosphere where kids can move from craft activities using repurposed items to age-appropriate games with a recycling theme.
By late February, cabin fever is really kicking in and kids with the need for speed can examine the nature of movement in the animal world through the “The Turtle and the Hare” program on February 28. Movement games that focus on hopping, crawling, slithering and other animal-like behavior will introduce kids to the concept of speed and why certain animals move the way they do.
Come March, the animals and plants at the Discovery Center are starting to stir in anticipation of spring. Inspired by the book, “If You Give a Pig a Pancake,” the program looks at the process that produces the sweet syrup that helps make pancakes so yummy. Look for a special appearance by the Center’s very own resident guinea pig!
Each program runs from 9:30 AM to 10:15 AM and combines science experiments, nature-theme games and critter visits to help children achieve some basic understanding of natural processes.
“Kids are naturally inquisitive,” said McCoy. “We hope these programs will help them start asking questions at home and open up a world of exploring and experimenting with science and nature.”
For more information about the winter “Special Series,” contact Laura McCoy at 630-513-4393.