Preschool and Kindergarten Programs

These programs are 90 minutes in duration and include a short educational program, a hike, craft and “hands-on” nature activity.  You are welcome to bring your own snack to enjoy during your time at Fern Hollow.  The nature center has a kitchen with a refrigerator that you may use.

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs –Venture into the meadow to search for various beetles, crickets and spiders!  See how insects use camouflage to help them escape predators.  Use our special insect goggles to see how bugs feel as they fly around our meadow!  Go on a bug camouflage hunt! Create your own litter bugs to take home.  This program is best done in the fall. 

Animal Tracks – This program is a basic introduction to the mammals of Pennsylvania.  Students will touch and feel different animal fur, skulls and pelts.  Learn to identify different calls and sounds of local wildlife.  Take a hike and see how animals use camouflage to blend into their environment and look for tracks. Make a plaster animal track of a Pennsylvania mammal to take home and paint.

Exploration Adventure – This program stimulates children to develop their innate sense of curiosity about the natural world.  The children will use their imagination and transform into outdoor explorers for the day! They will learn about some of the challenges historically faced by explorers and settlers.  Students will try to catch their dinner from a simulated fishing pond, then learn how to build a “lean-two” for shelter, mark a trail with cairns and play instruments during a celebratory dance upon their triumphant arrival home from their journey.  This is a physically active program and children will need to dress appropriately to hike, climb and get dirty in our “Nature Play Area.”  

Our Feathered Friends – Students will learn about birds in our area and what special adaptations (beaks and feet) they have to survive.  Learn the basics of bird watching in our meadow as we search different habitats for evidence of our feathered friends.  Forage like a bird by experimenting with different beak types.  Students will see bird models up close and learn about bird anatomy.  Students will have a chance to try out a pair of bird watching binoculars.  

Indian Tales and Nature Trails – Take a trip back in time to learn more about our local Native Americans in western Pennsylvania.  What types of food did they grow and eat? What types of tools did they use?   What animals and plants did they depend on to survive?  Try out some snowshoes, use a mortar and pestle to make cornmeal, practice spear throwing and shoot a real bow and arrow.  Students will come to appreciate Native American culture through this interactive program. 

Creek Walk – This introduction to the aquatic ecosystem includes a creek walk where students will see the variety of aquatic life living in Little Sewickley Creek.  Students will learn about different levels of the aquatic food chain from leaf litter to mammals!  Salamanders, fish and aquatic insects are frequently encountered while the students explore this pristine tributary to the Ohio River.  Children should dress to get wet and dirty.  Rubber boots are highly recommended.  This program is offered early May through mid-October.