Camp Activities: City Safaris

In “City Safaris!” kids explore many facets of nature in cities and towns, including plant and animal survival, ecosystems, weather, and water flow. This five-day sequence weaves together PLUM LANDING videos and digital games with outdoor exploration and hands-on activities. Each day offers about three hours of programming.

Day 1

Today, introduce your kids to PLUM LANDING and to the idea that some animals and plants thrive in cities and towns. Start by having kids watch Why We Live in the City, a short animated video about the advantages for certain animals of living in cities and towns. Then, head outdoors to search for local animals and plants with a Signs of Life scavenger hunt. Discuss why some animals are hard to see or find, and then explore animals’ camouflage survival strategies with Hidden in Plain Sight. If time permits, wrap up your day by completing one or more of the “Explore Some More” activities listed with the video or the hands-on activities.

Day 2

Today is all about exploring plants and seeds. Watch Plant Your Socks!, a video about collecting seeds in an empty lot or green space. Then head outside for Seed Travels, which contains two hands-on activities about how plants spread their seeds. Finally, play the Seed Racer game, in which kids explore the different ways seeds are dispersed. Time permitting, do the “Explore Some More” activity, in which kids wear old fuzzy socks to collect wild seeds.

Day 3

Did you know that city animals are superstar athletes? Today, you’ll explore how their physical feats help them survive. Watch Squirrel for a Day, a short video about squirrels finding water when rain is scarce. Then, head outdoors to stage an Animal-ympics contest about sprinting coyotes, jumping grasshoppers, flapping hummingbirds, and crawling snails. Play “Animal Crossing,” a city-traffic simulation game. Time permitting, try out some “Explore Some More” ideas, including more Animal-ympics contests and the fast-paced “Stash the Acorn” activity.

Day 4

Cities and towns have a special relationship with wind and heat. In today’s weather-themed activities, start by watching The Manta Ray Mystery, a video about how wind blows around structures and objects. Then, head outdoors to explore for yourself with the related Wild Wind activity. Finally, introduce kids to City Heat Island, a hands-on investigation into why cities and towns are sometimes warmer than their surrounding areas. Time permitting, choose one or more “Explore Some More” activities listed with the video or the two activities.

Day 5

Wrap up your City Safari by exploring how rain flows through and out of your city or town, and how it provides water for animals. Start by watching The Hidden Alligator Mystery, a video about a boat ride through a city’s underground drainage tunnels. Then, head outdoors for H2O on the Go, a hands-on activity that explores water flow and evaporation, followed by a search for drainage structures that channel excess water out of the neighborhood. End with the When Animals Are Thirsty video, in which Plum and the kids sing about all the places you’ll find water in the city, and its accompanying “Explore Some More” activity, in which kids time how long it takes water to absorb into different neighborhood surfaces.