July 23, 2012

Guided Discoveries - What's in a name?

By Miranda Furrer, Program Intern

Every summer Squam Lakes Natural Science Center puts on various summer programs for kids of nearly all ages. These Guided Discoveries are fun learning experiences for kids. But what does the name ‘Guided Discovery’ really mean? I suppose it means different things to different people. We can break down the name: guided and discovery. The guided part is the instructor. Each program has an instructor, someone who helps the kids enjoy their time here at the science center while learning about the natural world around them, and also usually a helper (often an intern, like me!). Now the discovery portion is unique to each child. This part is really up to them. Each program is packed full of activities that are designed to be both fun and educational. When you put those both together, you only begin to scratch the surface of what Guided Discoveries are all about.

Sadly, I am already done helping with my three weeks of Guided Discoveries. I helped with Wild Art, Geo Camp, Nature Sense, and Fabulous Flyers. I had a great time being able to help the teachers and watch the learning that was going on around me! My first camp was Wild Art, and at first I was a bit leery seeing how I have little artistic ability. As the week went on, I became more comfortable, as did the kids. The got to do a lot of neat nature projects and by the end of the week had a beautiful gallery to show their parents. There is another session of Wild Art in August so be sure to get your registration in!

Next for me was Geo Camp. I know absolutely nothing about rocks! The kids were able to use their imaginations and hands to create topographic maps and volcanoes. We also hiked up Rattlesnake Mountain and learned about how glaciers made Squam Lake. We even got to go to Ruggles Mine! Such a great week even though I did not have much interest in geology.

I will lump the last two programs I helped with together. Nature Sense and Fabulous Flyers. Both of these programs have a lot to offer kids, especially for the younger ones. In Nature Sense, the kids learn about the five senses. I’m sure the adults out there reading this can name all five of them!  Smell, taste, hearing, sight, and touch. Using each as a theme for a day, the kids got to see how different animals, including ourselves, use these senses. It is an interactive camp that 4-6 year olds loved. If your child missed out, don’t worry! There is still another session open for nature sense. Fabulous Flyers is all about, you guessed it, birds! The kids spent the week learning all about birds. How birds fly, how they make their nests, and we even got to go on a few hikes to do some actual bird watching!

Does any of this sound like fun to you? Or maybe to your child? Worried that you missed the sign up deadline? Not to worry, there are still spaces in a few Guided Discoveries this summer:

July 30 - August 3, Fabulous Flyers, Ages 5-6
July 30 - August 3, Science Sleuths, Ages 6-8
July 30 - August 3, Nature Notes, Ages 8-11
August 6-10, Night and Day, Ages 7-9
August 13-17, Nature Explorers, Ages 4-5

For more information about these Guided Discoveries please visit http://www.nhnature.org/guided_discoveries.html.

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