Tots in touch with nature

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
With Gantz Barn temporarily closed to repair the damage done by a colony of bats that had made the site their home, officials at the Grove City Parks and Recreation Department had to “think outside the barn” when it came to providing educational programming for the area’s early learners. While the programs that they have created are not yet as intensive or extensive as the popular RecSchool that had been hosted at the location in Gantz Park, they have recently begun to offer a limited number of educational programs for pre-kindergarteners at the Eagle Pavilion in Fryer Park. According to recreation supervisor Michele Demmy, Nature Kids and Nature Tots provide early learners with opportunities to experience the “joy of nature and being outdoors” while also allowing them to engage with their peers through hands-on activities and crafts. Shown here working on his budding construction and pumpkin demolition skills at a Nature Tots session on Nov. 4 is Charlie Steines, 3, with his mother, Melissa, supervising the action. Nature Tots will be held on Friday Nov. 11 and 18 at 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Nature Kids will be held on most Tuesdays and Thursdays through Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. For information regarding fees and registration, contact the Kingston Center at 614-277-3050 or visit the city’s registration page at recreation.grovecityohio.gov.
Danielle and Lucian Davis enjoy the weather while building towers of Lego blocks at the pavilion. Davis said she signed-up to participate in Nature Tots so her son could meet other children his age. “It’s so great to see these kids outside and interacting with each other because we didn’t get to experience it all that much due to Covid shutting down so many programs for children,” she said. “It’s wonderful to be able to get out of that isolation and enjoy these types of programs with his peers and their parents.”
Lilian Greenwood, 3, races to pick up the pumpkin that she rolled down the hill near the playground.

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