He would have been 124 today. Sam and I got the opportunity to go to a birthday party for Aldo Leopold today. Okay, really it was just a part of the theme for the preschool public program that we went to today at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC). Wonder Bugs is the series of preschool programs that the ALNC puts on each season and was created by a graduate student! I am jealous of what she has created, its popularity and success. The programs she has developed are amazing. I was super excited to get to see it first hand today.
But maybe I am a bit biased because these programs are at the place I get to call "work" (I don't know if I can really call building fairy houses with 10 adorable little girls work!)!
So today's program was all about snow and Aldo. The program had a great mixture of inside time and outside time. Starting indoors with an introduction and meeting some animals (mounts), then heading out to do some experiments, exploring and playing in the snow, and then finally heading back inside for a snack and crafting fun.
Here are some of the parts that Sam loved.
The touch table that the nature center has where kids can touch anything they want.
Getting to see the skunk mount up close!
Collecting snow! The kids were asked to find different kinds of snow; new snow, old snow, soft snow, hard snow. Since it was currently snowing the new snow was easy to find. And Sam loved digging down to find the old snow/hard snow. Really I think she just liked picking it up and filling the bucket.
A matching snowflakes game. The instructor had taped snowflake halves up all over the room and then there was a basket of the other halves. The kids had to pick out a half and then walk around to find the other half. They were different designs and sizes. They talked about how no two snowflakes are alike and were able to look at snowflakes up close outside under magnifying glasses so this activity acted as an inside follow up to that.
I loved this activity becase the idea of a matching game that was also kind of physical, walking around, hunting kind of game is really interesting to me. The possibilities of how to use this idea or expand on it are endless! A hunt to match leaf halves, animals, birds, etc. I can also see the halves being placed outside and it becoming a race for older kids! My brain is running wild with ideas!
And finally some cutting and glueing. Serisouly what two year old doesn't love to cut and glue!
But probably Sam's favorite part was the snack. Sorry no pictures, between helping Sam make/eat the snack and managing Avery I had no hands for the camera. The snack was a cottage cheese Aldo Leopold head! No, I am not kidding. We made the circle base of the head out of cottage cheese and then used raisin, craisins, almond slices and a few other seeds to make the ears, nose, eyes and mouth. Sam LOVED making the face and then really enjoyed eating it too. Then, because it was Aldo's birthday they all got homemade cupcakes too! Delicious.
It was a great preschool program! Thanks ALNC for a good morning.
The Nitty Gritty!
Because nothing is perfect....
Part of the introduction was reading a long excerpt by Aldo about January and snow. Though I always love reading/hearing his work it was WAY over the little kids head. They lost interest after just a few words. I know they wanted to connect the program to Aldo, the nature center and his birthday but I thought there might have been a more creative way or kid friendly way to show off his work.
I was also a bit bummed that the outside time seemed to go so fast. We barely got 20 feet away from the building! The kids did a lot of activities outside but I think it would have been nice to spread the activities out in different areas of the property and do a little hiking at the same time. But even with bringing us back in so quickly Sam and I didn't finish up our crafting and leave the nature center until 30 minutes after the program was over (and the program was 1 hour and 15 minutes long!)! So glad they are flexible and let us stick around so long to finish!!
It just goes to show that when you have outside time and activities included in a program for young kids you don't need much else! Just getting them ready to go outside in this kind of weather takes 10 minutes at least.