We are officially into winter and that means cozy fires, snowy rooftops, and children with cabin fever. To help take the edge off we hosted two big events these past few weeks; Winter Wildlife and Winter Warm-Up. The two events combined drew over 200 children and their families to the Center. Winter break and the holidays can be a topsy-turvy time. Between holiday events, gift buying, and other expectations, families in the Columbus area are often under lots of pressure. Free events like the ones we offered not only took a little of that weight off but brought first time families to the Center.
The first event was on the 21st of December. We spent the evening celebrating the winter solstice by providing our visitors with winter themed crafts, stories, songs, snacks, and games. We also had special guests from the Ohio Wildlife Center; who brought in a couple of their educational animals to introduce the children to some of the backyard animals they might see during the winter months.
The Winter Wildlife event was a part of our quarterly, seasonal events that celebrate the solstices and equinoxes and allow children to celebrate the changing seasons. Our hope is they will become regular guests and that as they spend more time at the Center throughout the year they will deepen their understanding of the environment and their role in protecting it.
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th of January we opened the doors to parents and children from all over Columbus who needed to get out of the house after the bone chilling few weeks we have experienced. We put out crafts, snacks, and scavenger hunts and we had songs, stories, and face painting. We even set the multiple purpose room up like a theater and played winter movies.
Anne Barnes, one of the grandmothers who attended Winter Warm-Up with her granddaughter wrote, “I have attended many storytimes, preschooler-age activities, etc. over the past few months. Today’s Audubon Center’s program really stands out. It was a very relaxed, safe, enjoyable morning for us.” From the minutes the doors opened to when they closed we had families enjoying a warm fire, sweet treats, and nature themed adventures.
The education staff was thrilled to provide such exciting and entertaining activities for Columbus families during winter break and we are looking forward to what spring brings us. If you would like to try one of the winter games yourself you can find a link to instructions for candy-cane fishing here.