The Institute Presents Five Winter EXPLORE! Programs for Kids

WAYNESBORO, PA — Winter fun for kids is on tap with a new EXPLORE! programseries from The Institute. Designed for kids in grades K to 5, the programs will run on all five Thursdays in February: Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, from 4 to 5 p.m. at Pine Hill Recreation Area.

All program activities are outside. Taught by Institute educators, each program includes educational activities related to the season. 

The five programs are:

Winter Fun and Fort Building    

This popular favorite returns for winter. Students will go on a guided “wondering walk” through the forest, and learn how humans keep warm in the winter. Students work together with others to gather a variety of natural materials like branches and leaves. With a book for inspiration, they will build a lean-to structure or fort, requiring collaborative creativity and teamwork. This program introduces STEM concepts through problem solving.  Thursday, Feb. 1, 4 to 5 p.m. 

Mad About Mammals

What is a mammal? How do mammals survive through the cold winter? Students will learn about migration by playing a fun tag-like game, plus look at and feel various animal pelts. They will also experience what it is like to be a hibernating groundhog! Thursday, Feb. 8, 4 to 5 p.m. 

A Squirrelly Snowy Valentine

How many sides does a snowflake have? Can it be too cold to snow? Students will listen to a book about snow, including some “fun facts” about the fluffy white stuff. And what about squirrels? How do squirrels find food in the winter? Can a squirrel plant a tree? Kids will take a nature hike and gather decorations for a squirrel Valentine. If there is snow, they will decorate a “snow cake” with food coloring. Otherwise, they will create a nature art Valentine for squirrels. Thursday, Feb. 15, 4 to 5 p.m.        

Keeping Track 

Students learn the art of observation as they look for animal tracks in the snow—or in the mud! What kind of animal tracks are found in the woods? They will also learn other telltale signs of animals being near, like burrow entrances, deer rubs, and gnawed pinecones. They will go on a scavenger hunt looking for these signs, trace their own track path, and read a story! Thursday, Feb. 22, 4 to 5 p.m. 

Backyard Birding 

Backyard birding is just what it sounds like—looking for birds in your own backyard! You don’t need to go on a hike to interact with nature. Sometimes, nature is right outside our door! Students learn how to identify common birds, how to use a monocular to spot birds, and how to be respectful while birding. They will also make a bird feeder to take home, and read a story about what birds do in winter to survive.  Thursday, Feb. 29, 4 to 5 p.m. 

Pre-registration and payment in advance is required by the Monday prior to each program. The fee is $6 for members of The Institute, and $7 for non-members, per child, per program. Limit: 15 children per program. 

Register online at The Institute’s website: For more information, email The Institute at [email protected] or call 717-762-0373.

EXPLORE! programs are sponsored by The Anderson Family Fund, in memory of Vida Mae Anderson, and The Institute’s Today’s Horizon Fund Contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation; Marge Kiersz; and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support courtesy of Washington Township.

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