Friday, April 3, 2015

Nature's Buddies Spring Session #1

Our zoo does a program for toddlers called Nature's Buddies. Carter and I participated in their winter session and had a blast, even making a new friend who we now meet up with for play dates. The program included an activity, game, read aloud, meeting an animal, and walking out on the zoo grounds in the winter. We got an email about their spring session early in March. The spring session was set to start earlier in the morning and was broken up into more groups so there was less of an age range. Rather than being in a class for 2-4 year olds, Carter would be in a class for just 2 year olds. Due to the age the class would only last an hour rather than the 1.5 hours of the winter classes. I really wanted to sign Carter up but the dates fell in April and Elise would be with us for at least 2, if not all of the sessions. Not knowing what kind of baby Elise would be and fearing the worst, I didn't want to spend the money and then not be able to go. So I called my brother, Jeremy, and he said he was free those days and could take Carter. Problem solved so I signed Carter up!

With how easy going Elise is and how well she sleeps in the morning I started toying with the idea of going along with them. The program allows for 2 adults to accompany the child signed up, so I decided, why not!? I figured if Elise woke up and wanted to eat I could stay back to feed her while Jeremy went with Carter. Our first session was yesterday and was scheduled from 9-10 am which would give us plenty of time to walk around the zoo afterward. With that in mind I took the double stroller for walking around the zoo along with the baby carrier to put Elise in during the program and it worked out great! 

The program started with a read aloud, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is right up Carter's alley. He was the only kid sitting intently listening, not crawling around on the carpet. After reading the book our teacher passed out towels for the kids to put on, pretending to be eggs, and hatch out of. It was funny because with our Easter/egg learning theme, we'd already done that earlier in the week with blankets.
Enjoying the read aloud.
Our next activity took us outside to their nature walk area. This session was about water and how baby animals use water in the spring. Our activity was the exact same as the water activity we did during the winter water session. Each child was given a fishing net so they could attempt to discover animals living in the pond. This time went much smoother with Elise in the baby carrier rather than in my belly! One little girl even scooped up a large crawfish! Although he had difficulty turning the net to the side to effectively scoop up mud on his own, Carter thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water.
Searching for animals in the water.
After quite some time exploring outside. Too much time in Carter's opinion as he started running laps around the nature trail as the rest of the kids continued to search for animals in the water. We went back inside to meet and touch an animal. I'll be honest, this was the part of the class I was most looking forward to. I was disappointed when she pulled out the same turtle we saw during our first winter session. Carter was again afraid of the turtle and didn't want to touch it so the teacher got out an empty turtle shell for him to feel. He loved that! Hopefully we'll get to meet different animals than we met during the winter at our next 2 sessions.
Touching an empty turtle shell.
Meeting the turtle ended the session and Carter was quick to head out the door to look at more animals. The highlights of our trip were feeling a giraffe neck bone, listening to a tiger roar, watching tortoises eat lunch, and, of course, playing at the playground area. When we approached the tortoise area one of the workers told us they were on the other side eating. I asked Carter what he thought they would be eating and he said, "Mac and cheese!" Afterward I had him share with daddy what tortoises eat and he was proud to say, "cardits (carrots) and lelees (lettuce)". 
He loved watching the tortoises eat!

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