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Nature Nuts

First time campers will be introduced to the Nature Center and the Great Outdoors! We’ll use stories to introduce each day.

Objectives:

  1. Orient and familiarize preschoolers with the center’s facilities and activities inside and out
  2. Develop and encourage an awareness and appreciation of nature through books, art and explorations

Day 1: Planting a Rainbow

Gathering

Decorate cups for planting seeds with stickers and foam shapes.
Plant wildflower seeds in cups.
Stations (books, puppets, etc.)

Circle

Introductions to camp, naturalists, other kids
Guidelines, rules, and what to expect for the week
Read Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Use Plant Costume to learn parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaves & flower)
What is a seed? What do they need to grow?
Seed to flower or tree – look at different seeds, pictures of trees & flowers

Outdoors

Plant Discovery Hike (Show oak tree – lowa state tree)
Shapes and Colors of Nature – (give children color and shape sticks to find a plant that matches their color and shape)
Plant wildflower seeds in decorated cups

Snack

Seeds and cereal mix and tree (apple) juice

Craft: Hand-print Painting

Swirl paint in trays. Ask children to put paint on one hand and press their hand-print around a circle on poster board. These will be the petals of a flower.

Press 2-3 hand-prints on a rectangle of poster board for the leaves. When dry, cut flower shape out and tape onto a dowel rod for the stem. Add the leaves. The children can then glue a circle of construction paper for the center of their flower.

Story

Sunflower House by Eve Bunting

Wrap-up

Review the day and preview tomorrow.

Book Table

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
The Tree; A First Discovery Book
Why do sun flowers face the sun?
A Gift of a Tree by Greg Henry Quinn
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
Eyewitness Books- Tree
Dandelions by Mia Posada
The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller
Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
Learn about Trees by Peter Mellett

Day 2: Waiting for Wings

Gathering

Finish hand-print painting flowers

Complete a butterfly life cycle pasta page. The pasta life cycle worksheet is divided into 4 sections. Two sections have a leaf, one section has a leaf or flower, and the last section has a flower. The children glue beans on the first leaf to represent butterfly eggs.

A twist pasta piece represents a caterpillar and is glued onto the second leaf. A shell-shaped pasta represents a chrysalis and is glued to the leaf or flower. A bow-tie pasta represents a butterfly and is glued to the flower.

Circle

Read Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
What is a Caterpillar? What does it change into? Use props to discuss the butterfly life cycle and their characteristics.

Outdoors

Caterpillar hunt

Snack: Caterpillar Rolls and Nectar

Tear or cut tube biscuits into smaller pieces. Roll pieces into balls. Place balls together to form a caterpillar. Bake according to package directions. When cool, decorate with icing. Add pretzels sticks for antennae.

Craft: Egg Carton Caterpillars and Butterflies

Cut egg cartons into 2 strips of six egg cups. Poke holes for antennae in one end of the strip. Have the children decorate with markers, crayons or paint. Use pipe cleaners for antennae. Glue on eyes or use colored paper reinforcements for eyes. To make a butterfly, accordion fold a square of tissue paper and tape in the middle of the egg carton strip.

Story

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Book Table

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Butterflies by Karen Shapiro
Know it all Butterflies by Darlene Freeman
Monarch Butterfly of Aster Way by Elizabeth Ring
Creepy, Crawly Caterpillars by Margery Facklam
How to Hide a Butterfly by Ruth Heller

Day 3: The Salamander Room

Gathering

Salamander Memory Game: Children match different salamanders in a memory game.

Circle

What is a salamander? Look at pictures of salamanders, frogs and toads and tadpoles and discuss what an amphibian is. How are they different from other amphibians?

Song

The Forest is a Wonderful Place by Steve Schuch

The forest is a wonderful place,
Filled with frogs and snakes.
l want to see a salamander’s face;
The forest is a wonderful place.

Outdoors

Salamander and Worm Search, meet a live tiger salamander.

Snack

Crunchy bugs and pond water (cereal mix, lemonade)

Craft: Squirmy Salamanders

Cut salamander shapes from construction paper. Have children glue yellow, tan, and brown construction paper ‘spots’ onto their salamander. Glue on wiggle eyes. Fold the legs so they stand up.

Story

The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

Wrap-up

Review of the day and preview tomorrow

Book Table

The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer
Frogs by Susan Canizares
All about Frogs by Jim Arnosky
Hungry Harry by Joanne Parlis
From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer

Day 4: Fish Eyes

Gathering: Fish Magnets and Pond Fishing

Fish Magnets: Cut fish magnets made of Model Magic clay with cookie cutters. Have the children paint them. Add a magnet to back of fish.

Pond fishing: Laminate fish shapes. Add a piece of magnet tape. Lay the fish in a hula hoop ‘pond’ and use dowel rods with a magnet on the end for fishing poles.

Circle

What is a fish? What makes them different from other animals?
Read Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert
Up close look at fish.

Outdoors: What aFish Never Sees Hike

Ask children to find 3 things in nature that they would want to show a fish if it could take a walk.

Snack

Fish crackers and “pond water”

Craft: Fancy Fish

Cut fish shapes out of colored poster board. Ask the children to decorate them with colored pasta, foam shapes, and shiny ribbon scraps.

Story

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Wrap-up

Review the day and preview tomorrow.

Book Table

Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert
What’s it like to be a Fish by Wendy Pfeffer
Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Day 5: Owl Babies

Gathering

Owl coloring page and stations (book table, fishing pond, puppets, and touch table)

Circle

Introduction to owls – how are they special?
Read Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Use feathers, talons, pictures for discussion. Use ldentiflier to listen to owl sounds.

Outdoors: Owl Hike

Look for trees that owls might roost in

Snack: Owl Cookies and Moth Juice

Sugar cookies that were cut out with owl cookie cutter and lemonade.

Craft: Paper Bag Owl Puppets (see directions below)

Materials Needed:

Cut random triangles out along the bottom of the paper bag to give it the appearance of feathers. Cut out two circles of different colors and different sizes for each eye. Glue these onto the folded part of the paper bag. Cut a diamond shape piece of yellow paper and fold in half for the beak. Glue this onto the folded part of the bag also. Glue feathers on the back top of the bag for ear tufts. Use crayons or markers to decorate the bag for the owl. – For 3-4 year olds, l have all the pieces pre-cut for them. For 5-6 year olds, l have the pieces traced for them to cut themselves.

Story

The Barn Owls by Tony Johnston

Ceremony

Have parents arrive 15 minutes early and present certificates

Book Table

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Night Creatures; A First Discovery Book
All About Owls by Jim Arnosky
Owls for Kids by Neal Niemuth
The Barn Owls by Tony Johnston (SCL)

Activity provide by:

Woodbury County Conservation Board
Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center
4500 Sioux River Road
Sioux City, IA 51109
www.woodburyparks.com [1]