LEAP Winter 2018: What to Know Before You Go

We are so excited for LEAP sessions to start this week, and we hope you are, too! Please read on to find out what to expect at LEAP, and what we're expecting of you and/or the caregiver attending with your child.

Let your child lead the way.

Most of the class will consist of free play among 6-8 different stations. Some kids might hang out at the same station for half the class filling and emptying buckets of beans, while others may run around and continuously sample each station. Watch what your child is drawn to, and then join in! 



Check out the theme for each class.

Each week will investigate colors. What colors show up in nature? What happens when you mix two colors together? Do you know all the colors in the rainbow?

We will end class each week by reading a related story or having an animal experience. An animal experience can mean getting to meet and possibly touch an animal or watching enrichment be given out to an animal that lives in the building we’re in that week. The themes are listed on the blog under the “themes” tab, so check it out to see what else we’ll be exploring this season!

Dress for a mess. 

Playing with natural materials sometimes means getting dirty, be it creating with clay, squishing paint between our fingers or splashing in the sensory bin. If you and your child are dressed for a bit of mess, then you can dig right into the activities and not worry about the clothes.

Enjoy this special time together.

LEAP is centered on nature play- playing in and around nature as well as with natural materials- so it's a great opportunity to take a break from technology. We’d like everyone to unplug for the hour that you’re at LEAP each week and ask that you keep phone use to a minimum during class. Explore the fun materials and the animals surrounding you, and share in your child's sense of wonder, seeing the world through their eyes.

You’ll see us taking pictures at class to capture these wonderful moments. We share all the photos either on the blog or at the end of the series.  

Subscribe to the blog- http://www.lpzooleapblog.com/ 

There are loads of resources on the blog, from the benefits of nature play to understanding the importance of risk in early childhood. You can also find info about the animals you'll be playing alongside, weekly photos and our favorite children's books! Throughout the series we'll be posting ideas for ways to get outside more often and how to's so you can create your own nature play experiences at home. 

--Lincoln Park Zoo LEAP team