March 21, 2017

Little Nature Explorers at Shaw Nature Reserve

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Spring is officially here and it’s my goal to be outside as much as possible. A couple of months ago I came across a fun program that the Missouri Botanical Gardens and Shaw Nature Reserve host called Little Nature Explorer. Shaw is about 40 minutes from our house in Gray Summit, so it would definitely keep us out of the house for a solid morning. Knowing we would still be in construction during that time I jumped on the opportunity to try it out.  They have an assortment of classes, but before we jumped into more, I wanted to see what one class was like, and I’m certain that we’ll be adding a few more to our spring schedule. This particular class was all about weather.

We arrived right a few minutes before it began, perfect chance for a potty break and we were ready to go. Our first activity we learned about how clouds were made and read a story about clouds. Then we moved onto a hands on activity where we painted our own rain clouds and used glue sticks to add lightening and rain drops.

After cleaning up, we moved onto the next activity of learning how rain happens. This was really fun. The kids took turn using pipettes to squeeze “rain” over the “cloud” aka shaving cream. Over time it showed how the cloud gets so heavy the rain falls. This was a big hit and good fine motor skill practice with the pipettes.

Next up was snack time – I also forgot to take photos, but we had the opportunity to make our own trail mix with weather themed items. Fruit Loops for rainbows, rains for the sun, marshmallows for snow and even pretzel sticks for lightening. There were a few other items too. They also offered milk or water. Then we enjoyed our snack out on the patio and talked a little more about weather. After we finished, we went on a nature walk and learned all about shadows.  Everyone was given a piece of paper and we picked up different items to look at shadows.

We continued outside and we learned about wind with bubbles! We also learned about clouds too with a fun cloud sheet we brought home. It wasn’t quite cloudy enough to check out everything.

Our final activity was planting sunflowers to bring home with us. We learned how the rain helps to water the seeds and helps flowers to grow.  Miss H was so excited to bring home our flowers to watch grow before we can plant them in the backyard.

Overall, I was very impressed with the program. For 2 hours, it is very well organized and it keeps a 3-5 year old’s attention very well. I can always tell if Miss H isn’t interested and she was very much into the entire time. I’m looking forward to signing us up for a couple more sessions this spring! The cost is $15 for non MoBot Garden Members and $12 for members. But, for 2 hours and a snack, totally worth it in my book. There is also a play area and so much to roam and play, the next time we’ll pack a lunch and make a long morning of it and hopefully good naps. The flowers are blooming everywhere and we really enjoyed our morning.

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