Two Great Locations, One Organization

The Gaffield Children’s Garden at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is hosting weekly hands-on Nature Play Pop-ups for summer 2022. On Tuesday mornings 10 :00 am–11:30 am – and an occasional Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon — through August, UM student interns will lead interactive, exploratory nature play activities. This lightly guided play takes 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, free event. 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.

JUNE

Tuesday, June 28, 10:00am-11:30am: 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.

photo of children creating potions from a variety of nature ingredients
Nature Play Pop Up fairy house

JULY

Tuesday, July, 5, 10:00am-11:30am: 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.

Tuesday, July 12, 10:00am-11:30am: 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.”

Wednesday, July 13, 6:30pm-8:00pm: Super Squirrel Sound-Making Do you want to become a squirrel? Do you want to make sound with other squirrels to become a Super Squirrel? In this activity, kids and caregivers are invited to communicate with the natural world by creating percussive animal sounds, assembling instruments from foraged materials, and planting oak seedlings (just like squirrels do) to take home.

Sunday, July 17 , 2:30pm-4:00pm:  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.

Tuesday, July, 26, 10:00am-11:30am: Building 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.

AUGUST

Tuesday, August 2, 10:00am-11:30am: Nature Sketching Come! Look! Observe! Sketch! Draw what you see in the Gaffield Children’s Garden with a variety of materials: pencils, crayons, markers, paints, paper. Children and their caregivers can bring home their sketches today.

Tuesday, August 9, 10:00am-11:30am: Super Squirrel Sound-Making Do you want to become a squirrel? Do you want to make sound with other squirrels to become a Super Squirrel? In this activity, kids and caregivers are invited to communicate with the natural world by creating percussive animal sounds, assembling instruments from foraged materials, and planting oak seedlings (just like squirrels do) to take home.

Tuesday, August 16, 10:00am-11:30am: 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!

Tuesday, August 23, 10:00am-11:30am: 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.

Wednesday, August 24, 5:00pm-6:30pm: Hybrid Cultivars Nature Music with Composer in Residence Alexis Lamb Join MBGNA Composer in Residence and UM PhD candidate, Alexis Lamb, to make music and explore sounds of Nature, as her Hybrid Cultivars installation is re-inaugurated in Gaffield Children’s Garden.

The Visitor Center, Conservatory and Display Gardens at Matthaei Botanical Gardens are scheduled to be closed on Monday, June 27 until 12:30 PM while maintenance is performed on the facility. We apologize for any inconvenience.
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