WAYNESBORO- Winter fun for kids is on tap in January and February with a new EXPLORE! program series from The Institute.
Designed for kids in grades K to 5, the programs will run on Tuesdays, Jan. 24 & 31 and Feb. 7 & 14, from 4 to 5 p.m. at Pine Hill Recreation Area.
All program activities are outside. Taught by Institute educators, each program includes educational activities related to the season.
The four programs are:
Tuesday, January 24, 4 to 5 p.m.
Winter Fun and Fort Building
Students will go on a guided “wondering walk” through the forest, and learn how humans keep warm in the winter. Students work together with others to gather a variety of natural materials like branches and leaves, and build a lean-to structure or fort, requiring collaborative creativity and teamwork. This program introduces STEM concepts through problem solving.
Tuesday, January 31, 4 to 5 p.m.
Let’s Go on a Hiking Adventure!
Students will hike and explore Fox Crossing and Deer Trail at Pine Hill park. They will discover signs and clues about the animals that live in the park, searching for animal tracks, homes, food, and where they might get water in the winter. During the hike, kids will try to spot the elusive black squirrel of Pine Hill.
They will learn how animals stay warm in the winter, and think about how people stay warm when it’s cold outside—do animals and people do any of the same things to stay warm?
Activities include listening to the book, The Hat, by Jan Brett. If there is snow, they will make colorful snow volcanoes. If not, kids will make an edible nature garland for birds and other small animals to enjoy.
Tuesday, February 7, 4 to 5 p.m.
Where’s My Worm? How birds survive in the winter.
Students will search for birds during a hike on Fox Crossing Trail, exploring the trail and learning about how our feathered friends cope with cold winter weather.
Do birds ask themselves, “Should I stay or should I go?” Kids investigate the challenges and benefits for birds of staying in our area or migrating to someplace warmer, and learn about special adaptations (including diet and behavioral changes) of birds that don’t migrate.
Kids also discover how birds’ beaks and bills are specialized tools to help them capture and eat their food. The kids will experience “catching food” with different household items that work like birds’ beaks and bills. Other activities include building a bird feeder to take home and place outside to help birds find food during the winter months.
Tuesday, February 14, 4 to 5 p.m.
I (Heart) Pine Cones: Discover the Pines at Pine Hill
Students will take an adventure hike on Deer Trail to look for pine trees and cones, and try to spy the elusive black squirrel “pine-cone-eater” that lives there. They will learn about pine cones and why they exist—what is their job? Kids will engage in activities including pine cone science experiments, such as trying to close up an open pine cone, a sink or float discovery activity, and finding out how far they can throw a pine cone. A pine cone wind chime craft will be created if time permits.
Pre-registration and payment in advance is required by the Friday prior to each program. The fee is $6 for members of The Institute, and $7 for the general public, per child, per program. Limit: 15 children per program.