Thursday, July 07, 2011

Nature Center Nights

A few months ago, I signed Caroline and Bryce up for an evening nature "camp" at a nature center not too far from our house.  It meets on Tuesday evenings for 2 hours for 5 weeks.  I figured since often the kids complain of being bored on summer evenings if no one is around to play that this would be a fun way to spend an evening.  They love exploring the riverfront at my IL's house with my FIL.  They are constantly looking for all kinds of critters on their exploration.  I mentioned it to the kids soon after I signed them up (no, I didn't ask them) and Bryce said he wasn't interested and Caroline didn't seem that into it.  But at the time it was still far off and I didn't give it another thought.

Last week we got the reminder mailing and I told them about it again.  Bryce voiced his desire NOT to go and Caroline said it would be "boring."  (Shocker, that's one of her favorite words right now.)  Even though it was only $25/kid, I'd still paid for it and I was NOT letting them off the hook.  I just knew they'd enjoy it.  I told them we were going and then I had Jason give Bryce a pep talk because he tends to be good at talking Bryce into things - that's what buds do!  Jason agreed to come along too so it was clear that we were ALL going and there was no way anyone could stay home.  I told them they just had to try it out and if it was terrible, we'd reconsider making them go (I was pretty sure they'd like it, so I was hedging my bets).

Both kids balked about the fact that they were supposed to wear pants and socks/tennis shoes.  I told them that's what the paper said and even let Caroline read it for herself.  They also were supposed to wear hats and bug spray.  I did feel a little bad about the pants since it was hot but we were in AC in the car and in the nature center. We got the kids into the car and the complaining ceased, thankfully.

We arrived on time and were greeted by some very friendly staff.  Ms. Kasie is the naturalist and teacher and was very upbeat and had name tags for all the kids.  The kids seemed to go along and went right into the classroom to wait for the other kids.  There ended up being about 15 kids in the class ranging from ages 5 to 7.  Mostly boys but enough girls that Caroline didn't seem to notice the gender imbalance. 

The kids spent some time in the classroom and then went out for a short hike and then back to the classroom for the remainder of the time.  Ms. Kasie explained that they didn't spend as much time outside during the first class since not everyone was prepared (which she expected) and that next week they'll be doing a longer hike.  While the kids were in their session, Jason and I sat out on the deck and read and entertained Piper.  Piper wanted to walk everywhere.  We walked down to the dock, we walked all around the grounds, and we tried to keep her out of trouble.  Every time she saw a bird, animal, crab, etc, she'd say, "Oh hi there cutie pie!"  It was adorable.  She also tried to make friends with the other younger siblings that were waiting.  She also kept saying she wanted to a "nick-nick" another time.  I'm thinking that next week I'll treat the big kids to McDonalds beforehand and leave Piper at home, but I think we can do a picnic in a future week.  She was very intent on that!

As for how the kids liked the class, Caroline came out with the BIGGEST smile on her face and admitted that she really liked it.  Bryce, on the other hand, said he did not like it.  But when I told him about McDonalds next week, he said he'd go again.  Knowing Bryce like I do, he can be Mr. Negative so I really didn't believe him that he truly didn't like it.  I also reminded him that the first week wasn't a true representation of how it will be next week and he had to give it a try.  We'll miss a week when we're at the beach, but we'll get 4 of the 5 classes in and Ms. Kasie said she kind of expects that a lot of kids will miss a week based on the summer timing. 

Next week is Caroline's "American Girl" camp at the community college and I'm hoping she'll enjoy that as much as she ended up liking the nature camp. 

1 comment:

Viv said...

My girls were not happy with the hats, long pants, socks & sneakers either especially since their nature camp was during the day (and some days it was rainy too and they still went out in it so rain jackets were on as well!) But my girls loved it too! The hike to the pond one day and the hike to the open water area to catch fish were BIG hits! I hope the do the same things for your camp too! Lots of fun!