Tiny Explorers at Key

Free and open to the public, Tiny Explorers at Key is a workshop series designed to engage children aged 18 months - 3.5 years and their parents in authentic hands-on exploratory work, making use of the resources available in Key School’s Certified Nature Explore Classroom. 

Guided by Key faculty members, parents and children will spend each workshop exploring their natural surroundings as they construct meaning from all they observe.

All activities are designed to support foundational learning skills in mathematics, science, literacy, visual-spatial reasoning, observation, and memory.

All Tiny Explorer workshops are held from 9-10 a.m., rain or shine, at The Key School, 534 Hillsmere Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403.

Fall 2016 Tiny Explorer Workshop Series

Monday, October 17—Perfect Pumpkins

The pumpkin fascinates young children and provides perfect scientific subject matter as they investigate the shape, color and texture of this special gourd and predict what it will look like inside.

During the workshop children will:

  • Find pumpkins growing in the garden and hidden on the Nature Explore Playground
  • Dissect pumpkins, taking time to carefully examine the contents
  • Learn the terms "pulp" and "seed" and why they are important
  • Carefully separate the pulp from the seed and then count and sort the seeds
  • Perform pumpkin sink and float activities in the water table
  • Hear stories about pumpkins and learn pumpkin songs

Monday, October 24—Loving Leaves

Autumn leaves and trees provide many opportunities for teaching young children about the seasonal changes that occur in nature during the fall months.  

During the workshops, children will:

  • Hear stories and learn songs about leaves
  • Gather leaves in and around Key's Nature Explore Classroom
  • Examine the leaves closely using magnifying glasses, the light table and color paddle
  • Sort leaves by shape, appearance, color, and size 
  • Make patterns with their collected leaves
  • Create artistic leaf prints
  • Enjoy dancing and moving like falling leaves

Monday, November 7—We Dig Dirt

Young children love dirt and mud, and most little scientists are naturally curious about soil and its contents. Simple explorations of the interaction of soil, water and air lead to wonderful conversations about how soil is made, how it behaves under different conditions, and the many ways soil is an important part of our lives.

During this workshop, children will:

  • Hear stories about dirt
  • Explore soil in a sand table
  • Discuss the characteristics of dirt, such as color, texture and moisture
  • Use the senses to touch, smell and pinch dirt to explore its properties
  • Create smudge art
  • Dig and explore in the "Messy Materials" area of Key's Nature Explore Classroom
  • Use wheelbarrows, hoes, rakes, and spades to work with dirt outside
  • Sing a song about dirt and mud


Monday, November 14—The Arts In Nature

Through music and movement, children learn about sound, pitch, rhythm, and tonality. Using a variety of musical instruments made from natural plant materials, our Tiny Explorers will have the opportunity to make music and dance in unstructured ways allowing for improvisation and creativity.  Found natural items also will be used to create works of art.

During this workshop, children will:

  • Listen to a nature story
  • Make pinecone art
  • Work with seeds and pinecones at the outdoor Nature Art Table to create patterns and mosaics as temporary works of art
  • Learn a song, combined with dance and movement
  • Dance, sing and move on Key's outdoor stage
  • Play the amadinda (a traditional Ugandan xylophone) and other rhythm instruments


Monday, December 5—Outdoor Architects and Indoor Builders

Building with blocks and other materials provides one of the most valuable learning experiences for young children, stimulating all domains of development—intellectual, physical, social/emotional, and language—while enhancing visual-spatial abstract thinking and problem-solving. Block play also builds motor skills and fosters eye-hand coordination.

During this workshop, children will:

  • Experiment with measurement and balance
  • Explore many kinds of blocks, including tree blocks, magna-tiles and duplos
  • Build on the light table
  • Work with floating blocks in the water table
  • Make artistic block prints
  • Construct ramps and build a variety of structures with natural blocks
  • Learn a building song
  • Hear stories about building


Click here to register!

Parents may select up to 2 workshops to attend;  Space is limited to 14 children each week.