As our school year winds to a close, we would like to share some ideas and suggestions to help your child transition out of the school year routine and into summer.
Whether your child will be returning to Minneapolis Nature Preschool in the fall, moving on to kindergarten, or going to another program, we encourage you to help them achieve a sense of closure during this final week. During the last few days of school it can be helpful to revisit some of your child’s favorite places around the nature center building and grounds and talk to them about what they remember, what they liked, and what they learned.
• Visit the animals at the front desk to say goodbye for the summer. Your child may be interested in saying goodbye to critters including Stella the salamander, Webber the turtle, Millie the millipede, and Tiny the toad. They may want to talk to you about how Tiny’s friend, Puff, recently died, which can be an opportunity to explore their feelings around death as a natural process.
• Say goodbye to the Kroening naturalists and thank them for all they have done for us this year!
• Have your child lead you on a hike to their favorite outdoor destination. They may have fond memories at the fort building area, Trail’s End Beach, the prairie, or any number of other locations. Ask your child what they liked to do in those places: How did they learn to climb that tree? Did they discover some cool bugs under those logs? Which friends did they enjoy playing with?
If you’d like to maintain your child’s connection to Minneapolis Nature Preschool over the summer, there are many ways to do so.
• Come to the FUNdraiser for Minneapolis Nature Preschool at Utepils Brewery on Saturday, June 1 from 3:00-5:00. There will be a silent auction, children’s activities, snacks, and the chance to snuggle a bunny!
• Kroening Interpretive Center offers several summer activities, most of which are free. You can browse events and activities here.
• Visit and hike with Teacher Jill on Mondays at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden! She is there from 3:30pm until one hour before sunset on most Mondays. You may also see her there on other days of the week. You are welcome to come any time!
• Come to a playdate at the Old Highland Peace Garden (1803 Emerson Ave N) on Tuesdays from 9:30-10:30. This will be a relaxed atmosphere for community building, connection, and time to play in the garden.
In addition to these suggestions, we also encourage your family to continue to engage with nature throughout the summer in a variety of ways. Here are some ideas!
• Raise Monarch butterflies:
• Visit a pizza farm:
• Visit Gale Woods Farm to meet the animals and take a beautiful hike. Pack a picnic lunch!
• Go camping and teach your child how to build a fire.
• Take a night hike to look for fireflies.
• Take advantage of rainy days! Put on rain gear, splash in the puddles, and make mud pies!
• Dig a hole and see what you can find. Designate a spot in your yard to dig!
• Go on a scavenger hunt.
• Take a child-led hike. Let them lead the way (even if they stop a lot)!
• Climb a tree - encourage your child to get up and down independently!
• Start a Passport book through MN State Parks: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/clubs.html
• Visit a nature playground. Tamarack Nature Center has an amazing one! Here are some other locations around the metro:
• Attend events at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden:
- Friends and Family Day - June 9th from 9:00-3:00 https://allevents.in/minneapolis/family-and-friends-day-at-the-wildflower-garden/200017158906459
- Story Time - Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30
- Nature Tots - Tuesdays at 10:30. $5/child
Remember, the best way to keep your children excited about nature is to model that enthusiasm and get outdoors as much as possible!
From all of the staff at Minneapolis Nature Preschool, thank you for a fantastic year!