Our Day Outside
FREE Class for Tots, Preschoolers & Families

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Our Day Outside

First Five Placer

Our Day Outside

Looking through a bug viewerUsing art, song, movement, discovery tools and free and structured play, Placer Nature Center's "Our Day Outside" was developed to encourage the natural instincts of very young children to learn and explore - especially about nature and the world around them.

In partnership with First 5 Placer County's Children and Families Commission, "Our Day Outside" nurtures children's natural curiosity for the outdoors, setting the foundation for scientific literacy, stewardship and life-long learning skills at a very young age.
Learn more about First 5 programs below.


Our Day Outside family activityClass activities include an easy family hike, nature investigations with do-it-yourself discovery tools, nature arts and/or crafts, take-home activities, puppets and playtime.

Bring a picnic to have lunch after class in Placer Nature Center's courtyard amongst new and old friends.

Families in the gardenWe practice "Leave No Trace" so be prepared to pack out the trash you bring with you. Any left-over compostable lunch food items (vegetables, fruit, crackers, etc.) can be fed to the worms!

"Children have a natural affinity towards nature. Dirt, water, plants, and small animals attract and hold children’s attention for hours, days, even a lifetime." -Robin C. Moore and Herb H Wong

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The Importance of First 5

Ninety percent (90%) of brain development occurs in the first 5 years of a child's life.

At birth, a child’s brain is fertile ground for knowledge. Sights, sounds, Child using hand-made lens to explore soilsmells, and feelings all create the foundation for growth and development, now and throughout a child’s life. In particular, a child’s relationship with parents and other caregivers is crucial for providing the building blocks that the child will depend on to help endure the many stresses experienced over a lifetime.

Scientists have learned that different regions of the cerebral cortex — where memory, attention, thought, language and consciousness are processed — increase in size when they are exposed to stimulating conditions. The longer the exposure, the more they grow. Research bears out that an enriched environment can boost the number of synapses that children’s brains form.

"Children are born ready to learn. During the preschool years a child’s brain  is twice as active as an adults, with trillions of connections between brain cells being made. And it is the child’s relationships and experiences during the early years that greatly influence how the brain develops." - Diane Gordon, former kindergarten teacher

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Our Day Outside family in gardenDuring Our Day Outside, families with young children explore and play together. The class activities are specially designed for children 5 years and younger.

Through nature investigations with hand lenses, singing, crafts, make-believe, puppetry and much more children interact together and with their families. The children learn about the world around them while having lots of fun!

This free class helps build a foundation of necessary skills needed for excelling in school, which include:

  • Close Observation Skills
  • Creating New Ideas
  • Developing Critical-Thinking
  • Strengthens the sense of community, place and the feeling of connection
  • Creates an opportunity to meet new friends for parents and children
  • Builds a foundation for scientific literacy

Exploring in the fieldParents and Caregivers learn to encourage understanding and awareness of the natural environment to help cultivate stewardship attitudes towards our community and shared natural resoureses.

Above all families have lots of fun learning together!

*Spanish interpreter is always available.

"As children observe, reflect, record, and share nature’s patterns and rhythms, they are participating in a process that promotes scientific and ecological awareness, problem solving, and creativity."
- Deb Matthews Hensley, early childhood consultant

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