Audubon Nature Play Care now available daily, weekly, or 3-week sessions

Playing in the Mud Kitchen is just one of many fun and learning opportunities at Audubon Community Nature Center’s Nature Play Care. Parents can now enroll their 4- to 6-year-olds most Tuesday through Friday mornings for daily, weekly, or full three-week sessions.

The Audubon Community Nature Center has made many additions and alterations to its programming to accommodate changing needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nature Play Care is an opportunity for 4- to 6-year olds to spend Tuesday through Friday mornings, 8-11:30 a.m., at Audubon, playing outdoors, engaging with nature, and learning about the natural world.

While it was originally offered exclusively as three-week sessions, to be more flexible for parents, Nature Play Care is now available for single days or weeks.

The October session began October 6 and continues through October 23. November’s full three-week session is November 3 – 20.

Following summer mini-camps, Nature Play Care was initiated as a nature-based supplement to indoor day care or virtual schooling and to promote the playing and exploring that provide the foundations for successful learning.

In all but the most inclement weather, the children play outdoors, explore the trails, and engage with nature. Experienced nature educators provide a host of supplies and activities that are the building blocks for engineering, science, art, physics, and math skills.

In the open space of the outdoors, children participate in a mix of self-chosen and guided activities. Both group and solitary self-chosen activities develop a number of early childhood skills such as full-body movement, fine motor skills, balance, core muscle development, risk assessment, and socialization. Guided mini-lessons help students get ready for classroom settings, and the three-week session allows students to learn routines and develop school-readiness skills.

The normal health benefits of playing outdoors are undisputed and even more important now as everyone struggles to adapt to the restrictions and consequences of COVID-19.

Audubon requests that children have face coverings with them, but they are not required outdoors or when students are spaced out.

Children must be completely potty trained and able to take care of their own toilet needs. ACNC does not provide food, so parents are asked to send a snack and water bottles with their children.

The fee for the full three-week November session is $336. Daily fee is $36, and weekly is $120. Nature Center members receive a 10 percent discount.

Space is limited and paid reservations are required two days prior to the dates chosen. To register, call the Nature Center during open hours from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays at 569-2345 or go to AudubonCNC.org and click on “Upcoming Programs.”

Audubon also offers The Outdoor Classroom for 7- to 10-year-olds. This full day on Thursdays and Fridays has outdoor formal lessons in the morning and free-choice activities in the afternoon. Learn more by going to AudubonCNC.org and clicking on “Upcoming Programs.”

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa.


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