Fun Friday Nature @ Long Key Nature Center

I love to be pleasantly surprised. That's what happened last Friday when we went to Long Key Nature Center for their Fun Friday Nature program. I figured they would have a couple of puppets, some coloring pages, someone would read a story, etc. When we walked into the center's discovery room, I saw many tables set up with all kinds of different activities. The theme was bugs. As a teacher, I immediately appreciated the amount of planning and coordination that went into the lesson. It made me think of a vibrant, hands-on kindergarten classroom. The activities included memory games, magnets, dead and live bugs in small containers, a very creative butterfly life cycle activity using pasta, etc. My daughter was busy and engaged for a good hour. She didn't want to leave. When she completed 10 stations, she earned a little prize. She was super happy with her heart-shaped plastic, pink bracelet. The program was educational, enjoyable, and engaging. Another bonus was the volunteers. They were seated throughout the room, helping and guiding the kids through the projects and games. I loved to watch all the kids enjoying themselves while learning about nature. I think that when kids learn about nature it makes them broad-minded, appreciative, and, hopefully, more responsible. The naturalist truly does a great job planning and coordinating the program. Here is some information for the next Friday Fun Nature event: (It says on the calendar that there is one on 7/13, but that is a mistake.)

Fun Friday Program – Can You Dig It?
Date:                     July 27th
Time:                     10a-1p
Cost:                      $5 per child
This program focuses on dirt!  Activities for “Can You Dig It?” feature geology, archaeology and paleontology – in other words soil, rocks and fossils.  Children will learn the importance of soil, how it is formed and what it’s made of.  They will find out why Long Key is called “Long Key” even though it isn’t part of the Florida Keys.  Participants will learn what Florida looked like thousands of years ago and how changing sea levels have shaped the peninsula.  They will explore the ancient animals of Florida’s past and compare modern animals from Africa, Asia and South America to their ancient cousins from Florida.  They will also learn what an archaeologist does and why some of them might don wet suits and SCUBA gear to dive off the coast of Florida in search of artifacts.  A collection of real and replica fossils and geologic specimens will be on display.  Games and hands-on activities will help the children learn and apply the concepts. 

Fun Friday Programs – General
Fun Friday Programs are aimed at children who are out of school on vacation.  We offer several Fun Friday Nature Programs during the summer and at least one during Christmas and Spring Breaks.  Each program has a nature and/or science theme and focuses on the Florida connection to the theme.  Most activities feature native Florida plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as Florida’s native peoples.

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