Archive for January 8th, 2013

January 8, 2013

Little Sprouts: Our Desert Adventure!

by Melissa Harding

Phipps Science Education LS Deserts (1)

Even though it is cold outside, our Little Sprouts have kept warm this winter by exploring the desert. December’s Little Sprouts: Singles, Our Desert Adventure, taught campers that even the hot, dry desert is full of life. Campers learned that desert plants are very special and that there are lots of animals that depend on them for food and shelter.

To begin, campers worked with their grown-ups to paint cardboard camels with sand paint and attach legs made out of clothes pins. Living in the desert, camels are always sandy! Campers also had time to play in an exploration station full of different sand bins, animal puppets and books about the desert.

Phipps Science Education LS Deserts (10)

During the lesson, campers learned that plants in the desert need to find a way to survive in the hot, dry climate. They do this by being succulent! Campers each got to smush the liquid out of some succulent leaves to see how the plants store water, as well as touch the smelly goo inside of an aloe vera plant. Campers also learned that cacti are covered with spikes to prevent predators from eating them. Even though the campers weren’t allowed to touch the cacti, they did sing a fun song about them! Finally, they learned that the desert is full of animals and read a story about them, The Three Little Havelinas by Susan Lowell. Campers pretended to be snakes, woodpeckers, mice, havelinas (wild pigs), and coyotes.

Phipps Science Education LS Deserts (6)

During the tour, campers went through the desert room to see what desert plants look like in the ground. They observed the dry dirt and spiky plants from a safe distance with their grown-ups. Campers also picked their very own jade leaves to plant!

Phipps Science Education LS Deserts (4)

Finally, campers potted their jade leaves and played a fun game with the sand bins. Inside each bin was hidden a number of items, some of which belonged in the desert and some of which didn’t. Campers found and sorted the objects, digging for buried treasure.

Phipps Science Education LS Deserts (8)

If you want to read some great stories about the desert with your own Little Sprout, here are some suggestions:
The Three Little Havelinas by Susan Lowell
There was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea by Jennifer Ward
Way Out in the Desert by Jennifer Ward

Our next Little Sprouts Singles program, Our Tropical Adventure, is scheduled for February 15, 10:30 am-noon. If you would like to sign up your child for a future Little Sprouts program, please contact Sarah at (412)441-4442 ext. 3925.

For a complete list of all our Little Sprout offerings, please visit our website. We hope to see you there!

The above pictures were taken by Amanda Joy.

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