Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles is putting the wild into Wednesdays with interactive, imaginative programs for young children filled with critter visits, crafts and play-based activities.
For five Wednesdays in November and December, children will learn about one of the many Hickory Knolls amphibians, reptiles and mammals; make crafts based on the theme of the week; and participate in games with parents and/or friends in the class.
Since Wild Wednesdays welcomes ages 1-6, each program will include guided and unstructured activities based on the weekly topic.
“It’s meant for kids to have flexibility during the programs,” said Laura McCoy, Nature Programs Supervisor. “Whether it’s following along with the group or playing on their own, the program will include children no matter what their comfort level is that day.”
All Wild Wednesday programs are inside. Each program is from 9:30-10:15am and for ages 1-5, except Marshmallow Wonderland, which is from 9:30-10:30am and for ages 1-6.
Wild Wednesdays begin November 14 with Native American Children. Participants will step back in time to explore food and shelter of the Native American tribes that settled in ancient Illinois. Specifically, they will learn about wigwams and have a chance to build their own with cardboard boxes.
The next Wild Wednesday also will tackle the topic of food and shelter, but this time for animals in Getting Ready for Winter November 28. Questions on how animals survive the cold, winter months will be answered as well as a chance to meet the animals that are awake during winter and others who hibernate.
Then on December 5 children will explore the tracks of animals and different ways they get from here to there during Fun With Feet. As part of this program children will have the opportunity to make a plaster track craft, and also take the learning home, as they will leave with a track guide to discover footprints in their own backyard.
During the extended Wild Wednesday, Marshmallow Wonderland, December 12, children will learn about various animal habitats. Then they will create their own yummy house out of gingerbread, marshmallows and other decorating ingredients. “It’s completely up to them if they make a house or just have fun building with gingerbread and decorating,” McCoy said.
The final Wild Wednesday of the year will take place December 19 with a Snowflake Celebration. Science-based activities will keep little hands busy with ice exploration and melting experiments as well as making pretend snow.
The fee for Wild Wednesdays is $5 for residents and $8 for nonresidents except for Marshmallow Wonderland, which is $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents.
Wild Wednesdays will continue in 2019 with the following themes:
• January – Fur, Feathers, Scales and Slime
• February – Love the Earth
• March – Dr. Seuss Nature Adventure.
Register at www.stcparks.org. For more information, contact Laura McCoy at 630-513-4393.