February vacation week finishes Sunday the 21st from 1:30-4 PM with an exciting event at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, courtesy of Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center. The first-annual Winter Games invites families to complete a series of nature-themed challenges, such as “animal gait races,” compass orienteering, a scavenger hunt, and a mini bird-a-thon. (The day wraps up with home-baked treats and hot cocoa, of course.)
I caught up with Joppa Flats naturalist and Winter Games coordinator Kirsten Lindquist to find out what’s in store. “We’ve got a whole suite of games ready to go,” she says, “it really just depends on the weather.” If there’s snow on the ground, for example, activities may include winter-shelter building, animal tracking, and snow-science experiments such as looking at snowflakes under a microscope. Cold temperatures would be perfect for “Can Buddies,” in which families must figure out how to insulate a metal can to keep the water inside from freezing.
“It’s like Survivor meets science experiment,” says Lindquist. “Think facilitated nature play that incorporates a lot of games and very hands-on exploration.” Lindquist notes that it’s especially important to dress appropriately for the weather, including layered clothing and sturdy waterproof boots – participants may get a little muddy!
“Maudslay State Park is such a great community focal point. There’s just so much to explore,” Lindquist says. “We want children and families to connect with nature so that they’ll want to take care of it in the future.”
“I’m very excited about this event and hope it’s something we can do again and again for winters to come. Let’s make it a community tradition to play outside together each February!”
The Winter Games should help fill the sizable gap left by the popular Winter Carnival on Bartlett Pond, which will likely be cancelled this year due to recent unseasonably warm temperatures.
Stop by the Joppa Flats Education Center Feb. 15-17 for a series of indoor and outdoor “flyby” (drop-in) activities geared toward ages 2-6 and 7 and up. Each day will focus on a different theme: Wildlife around the World, Take to the Skies, and Animals of the Ice. Let’s go outside and play!
For more events for kids and families in the Greater Newburyport area, visit www.newburyport.macaronikid.com. Subscribe to our FREE weekly e-newsletter to have our complete calendar delivered right to your inbox: http://newburyport.macaronikid.com/subscribe/