By Camila Acosta, SAReads Intern
The San Antonio Botanical Garden hosted 11 lucky SAReads® students for a week of outdoor adventure and learning. The activities and experiences are captured in our very own “Diary of an SAReads® Camper,” by SAReads® Summer Intern from Trinity University, Camila Acosta.
The room was bustling with excitement. Ms. Myra, the Botanical Garden’s instructor, had all the children pick a colorful mat to sit on while she read the Lorax by Dr. Seuss. We then talked about the importance of trees and plants, and Ms. Myra passed around different kinds of seeds for the kids to examine. Campers held different pine cones, coconuts, cotton seeds and the largest seed in the world, a Coco de Mer! Campers were also given a pot to decorate and plant lima beans in. The children were so excited they kept looking at the pots expecting their beans to sprout! The campers then followed Ms. Myra on a walk through the garden. The children saw a cacao tree, a cinnamon tree, a vanilla vine, a coconut tree and many other wonderful and unique plants! Finally, campers were given a chance to run around and play in the Family Adventure Garden before heading home for the day!
We kicked off day two by learning about the differences between bats and birds. After investigating a bird blind, campers were each given a sheet with the pictures and names of some of the common birds that could be found in the garden. Campers searched excitedly for the birds during our walk and were challenged with searching through owl pellets using toothpicks to find mouse bones. After, they played in the water at the Family Adventure Gardens. They had so much that they didn't want to leave, not even to eat their snack!
As usual we started the day by reading a book! Campers listened intently to Ms. Myra as she read aloud Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin. Ms. Myra then presented a big box of dirt and instructed campers to dig for and examine worms! Campers giggled and squirmed as the little worms wiggled around on their napkins. We then went bug catching in the garden and compared them to resin encased bugs that Ms. Myra showed us. Campers ended the day with splash play in the water zone and enjoyed snacks before departing for home.
The day kicked off with a shared read aloud of What’s Your Favorite Animal by Eric Carle. Campers then enjoyed a walk around the pond to feed ducks, fish and turtles. Ms. Myra then presented a bucket filled with water bugs and tadpoles. Campers sat around the bucket, and with Ms. Myra’s help, identified what they saw. With nets and buckets in hand, campers then caught their own bugs in a nearby canal. Campers had so much fun using nets to scoop for bugs in the water like small leeches! Ms. Myra then taught them a frog themed game before campers had to leave for home.
It was the last day of camp and Ms. Myra read a book provided by SAReads called, How Did That Get In My Lunchbox? The Story of Food by Christine Butterworth. Ms. Myra then took campers on a walk around the food garden and identified all the vegetables, herbs and fruit they grow including: basil, orca, marigolds (which we learned is actually edible), and blackberries. Campers enjoyed picking and tasting the ripe blackberries! After eating every ripe berry in sight, we headed back to the room and made a very tasty fruit pizza using cream cheese, honey, blueberries and strawberries. Campers loved measuring and mixing the ingredients, decorating their pizza, and even more fun eating it! We also visited the Family Adventure Garden for lunch, reading, salsa making and water play. Campers then packed up their stuff and received a free book! Our fun week at the San Antonio Botanical Garden came to a close, and the children said their goodbyes to Ms. Myra and thanked her for a memorable and fun week!