Two Great Locations, One Organization

The Gaffield Children’s Garden at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is hosting weekly hands-on Nature Play Pop-ups summer 2019. On Monday mornings 10 – 11:30 am and select Sunday afternoons 3-4:30 pm through August, volunteers will lead interactive, exploratory nature play activities. These lightly guided activities take place in the nature art area of the Gaffield Children’s Garden. Young children will have hands-on fun while taking a closer look at nature, and parents will leave with easy ideas to encourage creative nature play at home. No registration. First to arrive, first to play. Kids can join in as spaces open during the pop-ups. Suggested ages 3-7. NOTE: All materials stay at Gaffield Children’s Garden unless otherwise specified. 

getting ready for a nature play pop up
Nature Play Pop Up activity
Nature Play Pop Up fairy house
JUNE

Monday, June 3: Seashell Dig Digging is satisfying work! Use your imagination to pretend you’re on the beach, digging for these beautiful seashells, and wondering about the fantastic creatures who created them.  

Sunday, June 9: Insect Clay Play Young children and their adults are invited to choose natural artifacts and use them to create insect-themed art. As Chagall once said, “Great art picks up where nature ends.”

Monday, June 10: Soil Insect Exploration If it weren’t for the work of soil dwelling insects, our earth would be covered in detritus. Children and their caregivers are invited to examine soil inhabitants in hands-on digging and sorting play focused on the helpful soil dwellers.

Monday, June 17: Building Wee Fairy Houses Volunteers will offer a specially curated supply of fairy house building materials. While building, consider the tiny creatures who might find it a suitable home.

Monday, June 24: Bubbles! Bubbles! Marvelous, magical bubbles encourage even the smallest among us to consider the wonder of physics and chemistry. Spend some time with our volunteers creating giant and tiny bubbles!

JULY

Monday, July 1: Nature Painting Paint a nature scene with soft colors made from natural materials: maybe berries, soil, moss. Children and their caregivers can bring home their paintings today.

Monday, July 8: Digging for Treasures Digging is always a favorite. Children and their caregivers are invited to join our volunteers on a digging expedition. Maybe seashells, maybe dinosaurs, maybe root vegetables; always satisfying.

Sunday, July 14: Cutting-Garden Bouquets Curious about the relationship between insects and flowers? Love creating beautiful color combinations? Young children and their adults may join our volunteers in the cutting garden to make a petite bouquet to admire, share, or offer to the fairies in the Fairy & Troll Knoll.

Monday, July 22: Cairns: Stacked Stone Towers Stacked stone towers have acted as wayfinding markers throughout history. Young children can try building cairns of their own, developing concepts of pre-physics, pre-geology, and exercising tenacity, too. Easy to replicate at home.

Monday, July 29: Nature Potions Young children the world over enjoy mixing and mixing and mixing. An important schema of child development, join us as we transform petals, pebbles, water and other magical finds from the natural world.

AUGUST

Monday, August 5: Cutting-Garden Bouquets Curious about the relationship between insects and flowers? Love creating beautiful color combinations? Young children and their adults may join our volunteers in the cutting garden to make a petite bouquet to admire, share, or offer to the fairies in the Fairy & Troll Knoll.

Sunday, August 11: Leaf Safari Search for leaves and make pastel rubbings to highlight the shape and structures of leaf architecture. I wonder why each tree has a distinctive leaf…

Monday, August 12: Nature Canvas Painting Abstract or still life? Young children and caregivers are invited to paint on a supply of natural objects including sticks, leaves, rocks.

Monday, August 19: Nature Painting Paint a nature scene with soft colors made from natural materials: maybe berries, soil, moss. Children and their caregivers can bring home their paintings today.

Monday, August 26: Cutting-Garden Bouquets Curious about the relationship between insects and flowers? Love creating beautiful color combinations? Young children and their adults may join our volunteers in the cutting garden to make a petite bouquet to admire, share, or offer to the fairies in the Fairy & Troll Knoll.

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