Day 2 of our school year included a field trip to a nature center not too far from our home. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is the opportunity to get out and explore!
And the trip today was terrific. It was a ponding adventure for families with children aged 3-7 and many schools aren’t in session until after Labor Day so this was part of the summer program. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never taken our children to a program at this center before but by the end of it I was 100% satisfied.
When we got there, our guide (and education specialist), Mr. Tom, talked to the group about the surrounding area and the ponds we’d be visiting. He then led us on a hike into the woods where we stopped along the way to look at some animal tracks and various insects. Once we arrived at the main pond we were able to use our nets to catch any living creatures we could find. The kids and I caught a frog and some snails and we also had the opportunity to observe and touch a tadpole that another family caught. Mr. Tom provided lots of information and kept it kid-friendly. Snootz, Tootsie and Kitty really had fun “ponding” and so did I, even though it was a super hot day.
Mr. Tom was really considerate and once he saw that everyone was melting from the heat he brought us all back to the main building. He used the time we had left to talk to the group about a couple of animals they keep at the center; a turtle and a snake. Snootz was eager to touch both the turtle and the snake and although the girls were hesitant at first they did end up touching both animals. All three of them fell in love with “Boxy” the box turtle and I think they would have taken him home with us if they could have. Thankfully that wasn’t an option.
Overall, I was impressed and will definitely sign up for another program there in the future.
If you think a ponding adventure is something you and your children might be interested in, I encourage you to check out the nature centers in your area. Wikipedia has a list of nature centers in the U.S. You can either look into the formal programs your nature center offers or just take a ponding adventure of your own!