ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) Homeschool Adventures

Calling all homeschool families! This program takes place on select Wednesdays and occasional Tuesdays. Our Elementary sessions meet from 10 – 11:30 am, and our Middle & High School session meets from 1 – 3 pm. Sessions fill up quickly, so register early for your preferred dates.

Our sessions may include hikes, nature exploration, games, experiments, art projects, or scientific surveys. Participants in our younger sessions will also receive extension activities that can be completed at home with their whole family. Topics rotate each month and sessions are offered August through May.

Program Fees: $8/child members, $10/child non-members. Parents/guardians are free. Pre-registration is required.

Select an age group below to find out our upcoming dates and to register.

Elementary (1st – 5th)

This program is geared towards students in 1st – 5th that are learning from home, but older siblings are welcome to attend. Siblings 2 and under are free. Parents/guardians are required to attend with children. 8 child minimum, 30 child max for Elementary sessions.

Program Fees: $10/child for non-members, $8/child for members. Parents/guardians are free. Pre-registration is required.

  • August 13th (Tuesday) – Math in Nature
    • Let’s look at numbers, shapes, and measurements, all while outside! From symmetry in nature, to finding the numerical data we need for plants, we’re rounding up our best outdoor math activities.
  • August 21st or 28th – Bug Safari
    • Catch and examine insects in the prairie! Learn the parts of an insect and practice collecting nectar like a honeybee.
  • September 11th or 25th – Wildly Creative Creations
    • Create nature-inspired art using a menagerie of tools and supplies! Students will complete several outdoor art projects during our time together.
  • October 9th or 23rd – Funky Fungi
    • Molds, mushrooms, lichens, and more! Explore rotten logs, dissect some fungi, and design your very own mushroom.
  • October 29th (Tuesday) – Nocturnal Nature, 6 – 7 pm
    • Explore TNI at night! Learn about our local nocturnal wildlife, take a night hike, and do special experiments in the dark.
  • November 13th or 27th – Survival Skills: Part 1
    • Build a shelter, light a fire, and learn to identify edible & medicinal plants in part 1 of our 2-part survival skills lesson.
  • December 11th – Wilderness Medicine (3rd – 6th)
    • This special upper elementary class is all about how to treat injuries and illnesses in a wilderness setting. Students will get hands-on experience in splinting, scene assessment, and assessing their ‘patients’. Parents/guardians should come prepared to be our unlucky patients, complete with fake blood and scenarios! Limited spots available. 3rd – 6th graders only due to content. 
  • December 12th (Thursday) – Ooey Gooey Science (1st – 3rd)
    • This special lower elementary class will focus on messy experiments! We’ll explore the properties of slime, oobleck, and bubbles. You’ll also get a chance to shake up some homemade ice cream! Limited spots available. Older siblings are welcome.
  • January 15th or 29th – Wonders of a Prehistoric Era 
    • Who roamed the earth before humans? Dinosaurs, of course! Stomp into a paleontological adventure this month by examining fossils, excavating a dinosaur from an egg, and more.
  • February 12th or 26th – Sustainability Scientists
    • Dig into sustainability in this special earth-friendly class. We’ll investigate a vermicompost bin, create recycled art, and make a few homemade supplies for you to take home.
  • February 6th, 6 – 7 pm: Owl Prowl
    • Join a TNI naturalist to call for owls on the property. Students will also have the opportunity to dissect real owl pellets!
  • March 12th or 26th – Survival Skills: Part 2
    • Learn how to use a compass, gain introductory archery skills, and make your own water filter. Feel free to register even if you did not complete part 1. Ages 8 and up required due to the archery component. Younger siblings may attend, but cannot complete the archery segment.
  • April 9th or 23rd – Trek to Beaver Falls, 10 am – 12 pm
    • Journey to Beaver Falls on a naturalist-led hike to explore all of the seasonal spring happenings. Learn to identify spring wildflowers and discover species living under creek rocks. Beaver Falls is a 2.3 mile hike round trip with uneven and wet terrain. This adventure is slightly longer than usual and recommended for ages 8 and up due to hiking length. If your kiddo is used to longer hikes and is younger than 8, they are welcome to join!
  • May 7th or 21st – Forestry Fundamentals
    • Learn the basics of forestry through examining tree cookies, exploring special tree adaptations, and discovering the elements of a healthy forest.

ECO Homeschool Adventures: Elementary

Contact Details

Are you a current TNI Member(Required)
TNI Members receive access to member only events and discounts.
Name(Required)
Email(Required)
Address

Event Details

Please list the names and ages of everyone attending this event.
Name
Age
 
ECO Homeschool Adventure Dates(Required)
Photo Permission(Required)
Marking Yes gives The Nature Institute permission to use any photos taken during the program in informational and promotional materials such as Facebook, news media, website, etc.

Payment Details

Ticket Type(Required)
Add up all students 3 and up and multiply by number of sessions registering for. Adults attend at no charge. For instance: 3 students coming to 3 sessions = 9
Credit Card
American Express
Discover
MasterCard
Visa
Supported Credit Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Expiration Date
 

Middle & High School (6th – 12th)

This program is geared towards students in 6th – 12th grade that are learning from home. Unlike the younger group of ECO Homeschool Adventures, this is a drop off program and requires a drop off program health form prior to dropping off your child. Drop off forms can be found by clicking here.

Program Fees: $10/child for non-members, $8/child for members. Pre-registration is required. 4 child minimum, 16 child max for MS/HS sessions.

  • September 11th, 1 – 3 pm: Junior Entomologists
    • Dive into the world of entomology! We’ll collect data on local insect populations through hands-on findings.
  • October 23rd, 1 – 3 pm: Chemistry Collective
    • Join Dave, who taught middle school science for 17 years, for a class all about chemistry. Investigate chemical reactions through hands-on experiments!
  • April 16th 1 – 3 pm: Outdoor Escape Room – FULL
    • While visiting TNI, you might become lost, left behind, encounter confused or inquisitive aliens/monsters, or run afoul with some insane scientists. Your only hope is to use your brains to show off your knowledge and solve puzzles in order to escape the preserve. Limited to 8 participants. 
  • May 14th, 1 – 3 pm: Solar Power Palooza
      • Unleash the power of the sun! Conduct experiments all about solar power.

ECO Homeschool Adventures: Upper

Contact Details

Are you a current TNI Member(Required)
TNI Members receive access to member only events and discounts.
Name(Required)
Email(Required)
Address

Event Details

Please list the names and ages of everyone attending this event.
Name
Age
 
ECO Homeschool Adventure Dates(Required)
Photo Permission(Required)
Marking Yes gives The Nature Institute permission to use any photos taken during the program in informational and promotional materials such as Facebook, news media, website, etc.

Payment Details

Ticket Type(Required)
Add up all students 3 and up and multiply by number of sessions registering for. For instance: 3 students coming to 3 sessions = 9
Credit Card
American Express
Discover
MasterCard
Visa
Supported Credit Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Expiration Date
 

Frequently Asked Questions

For kids 5 and under, we recommend attending Knee High Naturalists or Tiny Trekkers. If, however, you feel that your child is ready for higher level content or longer hikes, you are welcome to register for these sessions. Some things to keep in mind when deciding:

  • The Elementary session will cater to 1st – 5th grade, so younger children may have difficulty with activities or understanding content. Some extra adult guidance may be necessary.
  • Hiking length is anywhere from 0.5 – 1.5 miles for most sessions.

At this time, based on feedback from families, this is a drop off program. Parents/guardians may not attend with their child.

Very few of our trails are stroller friendly. If you have an infant or young toddler that is coming along, you may consider bringing a sling or baby/toddler carrier.

100% of the program is outdoors in 45+ degree weather. During our winter sessions, a portion of the session will be spent in our indoor classroom to give everyone a chance to warm up. Be sure to be prepared for the weather elements when you attend!