Kids enjoy digging in the dirt during Nature Playtimes. Courtesy photo
The Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s Nature Playtimes are one of its most popular programs.
Offered free to families every Monday morning, the Playtimes combine fun, developmentally appropriate stories, songs, crafts and activities with time outside enjoying nature. Albuquerque’s Albert I. Pierce Foundation recognizes the worth of this program and the value it brings to families, and has given PEEC $5,000 to support it.
During a recent Nature Playtime, families explored an ant theme. They heard a story comparing the families of ants to families of children. Children created egg-carton ants with clothespin jaws, and hunted outside for “food” to grasp in the jaws and take back to the anthill. They examined the harvester ant display in the nature center and observed how busy the ants were digging tunnels, finding food, and keeping their home clean.
They discovered how ants leave trails for one another, and then they followed a trail to an anthill fort, where children role-played ants. As ants, they took care of their eggs, foraged for food, worked together to carry large objects, and escaped predators.
The Albert I. Pierce Foundation is a private charitable foundation that supports the environment and the arts by offering opportunities for professional development, communication, and partnership. Its mission is to memorialize its benefactor through grants that enrich the cultural life, education, and environment primarily of the citizens of New Mexico. PEEC is thrilled to have been chosen as one of its five $5,000 grantees in 2015.