Nature, Woodworking, And More: Parks & Rec Excited To Offer Diverse Winter Programs
It may be winter, but that does not mean residents need to hibernate through it.
There is still time to sign up and enjoy a variety of Newtown Parks and Recreation (P&R) programs this season.
Check out these upcoming classes and have something to look forward to during these cold months:
Junior Forest Forensics
Coming this month is the Junior Forest Forensics program for ages 8 through 12.
According to the 2021/2022 winter brochure, “While hiking through the Orchard Hill Nature Center, our junior forensic detectives will learn by exploring this diverse local ecosystem, asking questions, and making observations … We will combine movement, exploration, team building skills, and an understanding of our local ecosystem through games, challenges, and collaborations as well as note-taking and learning from the environment and the history of the Nature Center.”
The class will allow children to learn through hands-on outdoor fun.
Rose Ann Reggiano, assistant director of recreation for P&R, shared, “I was excited to offer this great nature program and to have it at our beautiful Orchard Hill Nature Center. It is always great to learn about nature and its wonders.”
The activity number for Junior Forest Forensics is 203502 A. It runs on Sundays, starting January 9 and ending January 30, from 2 to 4 pm. Fee is $170.
P&R is also offering two other nature-based courses this winter.
Junior Nature Engineers will also be for ages 8 through 12.
“During this session we will focus on designing small individual gnome and fairy shelters, building debris dens, lean-tos, tarp shelters, and if the weather provides us with snow, quinzhees with snowman guards and moats. Natural materials from the nature center, some small tool instruction and use, as well as a lot of imagination and team planning will go into our weekly creations,” the brochure details.
The session concludes with campers collaborating on a group project.
The activity number for Junior Nature Engineers is 203503 A. It runs on Sundays, starting February 6 and ending February 27, from 2 to 4 pm. Fee is $170.
Then in March, P&R will host Nature Artists for ages 8 through 12.
“Children will be creating nature art from materials they find in the forest and materials supplied by our teachers. We will hike the preserve and gather sticks, rocks, and other found objects to use in our projects ... Rock paintings, wands, and story sticks as well as self-portraits, frames, bark rubbings and inuksuk are among the many projects children can choose from,” the winter brochure states.
A photo of the artist and any of their work that cannot be taken out of the forest will be e-mailed to their family.
The activity number for Nature Artists is 203504 A. It runs on Sundays, starting March 6 and ending March 27, from 2 to 4 pm. Fee is $170.
This season, P&R is offering Woodworking: How To Make Mantel Piece Shelves & More for ages 16 and older.
“This woodworking course will enable you to design and make your own mantel piece shelves, similar to upscale, expensive display shelves included in home furnishing catalogs. We will use a variety of stock moldings. We’ll also cover the basics of trim carpentry, covering techniques for installing baseboard and crown molding and casings for windows and doors,” the brochure detailed.
Since safety is of upmost importance, every class member must bring hearing protection and wear protective eyewear.
Reggiano said that this course is “a great activity for a parent and child” to take together, and that it gives them the exciting opportunity to try something different and build something handmade.
“I think it is awesome to say, ‘I made this,’ and to add your own personal touch,” she added.
The activity number for Woodworking: How To Make Mantel Piece Shelves & More is 217402 A. It runs Mondays, starting January 17 and ending February 21, from 5:30 to 7 pm at the Teen Center, 53A Church Hill Road. Fee is $185.
Futsal & Street Soccer
“This one is more than just soccer and fundamentals of the game,” Reggiano emphasized.
According to the winter brochure, “This innovative program brings each player’s personal skills to the next level using Futsal (Futbol de Salao Soccer in a Room) as a platform for high speed, high volume ball touches, and maneuvering in tight spaces … A Futsal ball is smaller and heavier, allowing the player to easily command the ball and in return build confidence that seamlessly transforms to a soccer game.”
Attendees are asked to bring fluids for staying hydrated and to wear sneakers (not cleats).
There are multiple courses offered, all of which take place at Newtown Middle School, 11 Queen Street.
The activity number for Futsal & Street Soccer for ages 6 to 11 is 209602 D. It runs Wednesdays, starting March 2 and ending April 27, from 6 to 7 pm. Fee is $175.
The activity number for Futsal & Street Soccer for ages 12 to 14 is 209602 E. It runs Wednesdays, starting March 2 and ending April 27, from 7 to 8 pm. Fee is $175.
The activity number for Futsal & Street Soccer for ages 14 to 18 is 209602 F. It runs Wednesdays, starting March 2 and ending April 27, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. Fee is $175.
Reggiano said that P&R is also excited to offer some winter programs that focus on STEM – which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Winter Wonderland Engineering with Legos is available to children in kindergarten through fourth grade (ages 5 to 11).
The brochure description reads, “Bundle up, we’re creating a spectacular Winter Wonderland! Build bobsleds, design snowplows, and take a ride on the Polar Express. Explore your snowiest ideas and learn STEM concepts with tens of thousands of LEGO pieces at your mitten-tips and with the guidance of an experienced Play-Well instructor.”
The activity number for Winter Wonderland Engineering with Legos is 217502 A. It runs Wednesdays, starting January 12 and ending February 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, at Newtown Middle School, 11 Queen Street. Fee is $133.
There is Crazy Chemworks with Mad Science for children ages 5½ through 10.
“Put on your goggles, lab coats, and raise your flasks with Mad Science! Bubbling dry ice potions, crazy chemical reactions, and big explosions will be happening in this MAD LAB. Your scientists will be doing hands-on chemistry while learning the basic knowledge of the science. They will be creating chemical reactions such as the infamous elephant toothpaste that they can’t stop talking about and slime they think they have perfected but have not. Every student receives a lab coat, goggles, and specially designed Mad Science Take Homes to help extend learning at home,” the brochure details.
There are multiple courses offered, all of which take place at different locations.
The activity number for Crazy Chemworks with Mad Science at Sandy Hook School, 12 Dickinson Drive, is 219502 A. It runs Mondays, starting January 24 and ending February 28, from 3:45 to 4:45 pm. There is no class on President’s Day, February 21. Fee is $135.
The activity number for Crazy Chemworks with Mad Science at Head O’ Meadow School, 94 Boggs Hill Road, is 219502 B. It runs Tuesdays, starting January 25 and ending March 1, from 3:45 to 4:45 pm. There is no class on February 22. Fee is $135.
The activity number for Crazy Chemworks with Mad Science at Hawley School, 29 Church Hill Road, is 219502 C. It runs Wednesdays, starting January 26 and ending February 23, from 3:45 to 4:45 pm. Fee is $135.
The activity number for Crazy Chemworks with Mad Science at Middle Gate School, 7 Cold Spring Road, is 219502 D. It runs Thursdays, starting January 27 and ending February 24, from 3:45 to 4:45 pm. Fee is $135.
To register for classes and to learn more, visit newtown-ct.gov/parks-recreation.
Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at email@example.com.