The Placerita Canyon Nature Center continues its popular monthly Nature Tots program for children ages 3-5 with a virtual Zoom program about coyotes on Saturday, September 12, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nature Tots encounters at the Center on the second Saturday of each month were mainly for preschoolers, but the last two sessions (on snails and hummingbirds) have been virtual and kids of all ages participated.
The following article by Placerita Nature Center Docent John Whitaker describes the Nature Tots program in more detail. To sign up, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the pandemic, and the fact that all the school programs have been canceled, Placerita Canyon Nature Tots is still going strong, but for a few changes.
The program is still on the second Saturday of the month, at 9:30 a.m, and it runs about 30 minutes. The program, the planning meetings and the dress rehearsals are all done on Zoom. There is no age limit for participants, although we state that it is meant for young children. There is also no limit on how many participants.
It is actually becoming so popular that we have children from Boston, Long Beach and Colorado. Parents still need to register their children at least two days before the actual event.
When we held our Tots program in person, we tried to keep the children engaged with activities that were “hands-on.” Using Zoom has been challenging to do that. So, we try to keep the kids involved. During the program, we have asked the children to go look for items that we need to talk about.
For example, to demonstrate the fact that snails carry their houses on their back, Melissa asked the children to look for a backpack, or a towel to wrap around their back. Brian asked the children to look for coins so that he could compare the size of the hummingbird to a dime.
When each parent registers for the program, they receive the Zoom instructions and also a craft to do at home. On the day of the program, we ask the children to bring their crafts to the zoom session so that they can share what they made.
At the planning meetings, everyone shares ideas for the theme of that month’s program. There are some people that have perfected their skills and do the same each month. For example, Herb does a fantastic job of storytime with the children and Sandy comes up with cute crafts for the children. We have been having 2 dress rehearsals each month since the technology can be challenging especially since we are all new at Zooming.
We would love to have more people join us with Placerita Nature Tots. It really is fun and the docents learn a lot. It is also a way of keeping connected. Even if you don’t want to be a presenter, you could come and pretend you are a Tot and give us constructive criticism. Just let me know and we will add you to the Zoom list.
I hope to see you at Zoom Nature Tots.