Doing its part to keep children active and engaged during the pandemic, Alley Pond Environmental Center in Oakland Gardens continues to offer some enjoyable weekend programs for them.
The programs, as always, focus on nature as well as enjoying its bounty.
“We’re excited,” said Bonnie Bromberg, early childhood coordinator at the center. “I think people are looking for opportunities to get their kids away from the computer.”
Tomorrow, Nov. 20, young chefs will prepare a meal of garlic mashed potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce and grilled cheese with fig jam sandwiches. All materials are included and participants are required to wear masks for the entire program. The program, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., is for children ages 8 through 12 and is $24 per child.
Children ages 6 to 8 can spend a Saturday morning learning about birds, exploring feathers, nests and eggs. On the outdoor bird walk Nov. 21 from 10 to 11:15 a.m., they can see a ring-necked dove, quaker parrot and northern bobwhite quail, though they will not be allowed to touch them.
Bromberg believes the kids will enjoy the quail, a “really sweet bird.”
She added, “Talking about birds and bird characteristics will hopefully inspire them to do a little bird-watching when they’re outside as well.” The event is $20 per child.
On Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. children will feed animals different foods and see what they like the most. The lesson, for ages 6 through 8, will include hot apple cider, a fresh apple pie snack and an arts and crafts activity. Participants are required to wear masks and the event is $20 per child.
From 1 to 2:30 p.m., children ages 9 to 11 can participate in an egg drop at which the goal is to create a protective case for an egg that will let it be dropped without breaking. It’s a new event for the center. “How successful the kids will be, I’m not sure,” Bromberg said. The event is $29 per child.
On Nov. 28, from 1 to 2 p.m. children ages 9 through 12 can learn about different aspects of veterinary care in I Want to Be a Vet. Bromberg said they will learn what being one entails and about the different types. “There’s not just pet vets,” she said. “There’s farm vets, there’s field vets, there’s zoo vets.”
Visitors are not allowed to touch the animals. “It used to be more hands-on before the virus but now it’s more demonstrating things and talking to the kids and engaging them,” Bromberg said. The event is $18.
On Dec. 6 from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., families will create a pinwheel to test out during an outdoor nature walk and learn about some wild weather and create their own rainclouds, snowstorms and tornado in a bottle to observe. The event is limited to six parent-child pairs, with only one adult per child. The event is for children ages 4 to 6 and is $24 per child.
Chefs ages 8 through 12 can make their own gingerbread houses on Dec. 11 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The event is $24 per child.
“Kids always love doing that so the parents won’t have all the mess at home,” Bromberg said.
On Dec. 12 from 10 to 11:15 a.m., children ages 3 to 5 will enjoy a story about animals dwelling in evergreen trees, create a painting using pinecones and enjoy an outdoor nature walk looking for local evergreens. Live animals will also be observed in the class. The session is limited to six parent-child pairs with one adult per child. The event is $20 per child.
On Dec. 18 from 5:30 to 9 p.m., parents who need to finish shopping or wrap gifts or just want to have a night to themselves can drop off their kids ages 6 and up for story time, a night hike, animal encounters and more.
Limited to 10 participants, but needing at least four to make the program run, children should bring a bagged dinner, snacks and a water bottle. The cost is $45 per child.
On Dec. 19, children ages 7 through 11 can learn about snow, take a winter nature walk and make a snowflake from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. The cost is $20.
From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., children ages 6 through 8 can play Nature Bingo and observe some animals. Each child will take home a science book to enjoy. The cost is $22 per child.
Advanced registration is required by going to alleypond.org.
“People do want to have their kids see other kids other than on the screen,” Bromberg said.