Looking for a fun and inexpensive way to introduce your toddler to STEM? The Greenwood Community Center has you covered! During the school year, they offer two to five-year-olds and their adults the opportunity to attend 45-minute classes where participants engage in experiments and create projects using concepts from science, technology, engineering, art, math, and cooking.
Classes usually start with a story time related to the day’s theme, such as weather, outer space, or the five senses. Sometimes there is also a group experiment to get everyone thinking and interacting. Then, caregivers move with their children through three to five learning stations where they can perform their own experiments and complete various projects. Depending on the class session, there is usually something to eat as well. Throughout the class time, the incredibly enthusiastic and patient teacher is on-hand to explain the science behind it all.
Sessions are limited to 20 students and run for four weeks. Past session titles have included “Kitchen Science,” “Full STEAM Ahead,” “Little Scientists,” and “Fun with Food.” The price per four-week session is $20 for non-members and $16 for members. (Only Greenwood residents can become members, but anyone can sign up.) Registration and prepayment for classes is required and can be done online.
Are you wondering what sorts of experiments children this age can perform? During recent classes in the “Kitchen Science” session, students read “Bartholomew and the Oobleck” by Dr. Seuss and then made their own oobleck (similar to slime), watched Skittles candy turn into liquid rainbows, catapulted candy at targets, made their own lemonade slushies, and created art out of raw fruits and vegetables. The projects from one session to the next are always new and exciting, and there is typically at least one project each class that can go home to show off the child’s skills.
Bonus alert! At the end of class sessions, kids attending the classes can play for as long as they’d like in the Kid City areas. The indoor areas include a kitchen, grocery store, Lego center, huge Lite Brite, arts and craft area, giant foam blocks, and a two-story Luckey Climber (similar to the one in the Indianapolis Children’s Museum Playscape). There’s also an outdoor musical garden for the kids to explore that contains giant xylophones, drums, and talking tubes.
Check the Greenwood Parks & Recreation Facebook page during the summer as that is where new classes will be announced. You can also check current class offerings by going to www.greenwood.in.gov/parks and clicking on “Register.” If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any upcoming classes, subscribe to “The Playground” for free. This quarterly newsletter can be delivered via email or snail mail and gives details about all programs for the season at the Greenwood Community Center.
These toddler STEM classes and the following playtime are a great way for kids to burn off energy, socialize with others, and learn new skills. Just remember to dress the child in clothes that can get dirty and sweaty. As for the center, the entire facility is clean and kid-friendly. There are bathrooms on both levels, an elevator to the second floor, and a private nursing room within the Kid City area.
If you’re looking for courses for young children during the summer, an elementary school teacher runs four-day-long themed camps for toddlers and school-aged kids (ages vary per course). These summer camps run Monday through Thursday and fill quickly. Themes have included “iDig Dinos,” “Amazing Artists,” and “Science with Sparkle.” The toddler class is an hour and half each day and costs $40 per student; the school-aged class is two and a half hours each day and costs $60 per student. To sign up for these camps, go to https://register.greenwood.in.gov/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/wbsplash.html and click on “Camps” to see what is available.
Additionally, the Greenwood Community Center offers pop-up play dates and sports classes for toddlers. They also have a variety of activities throughout the year that are fun for the whole family. Some events my family has attended include breakfast with the Easter Bunny and the Monster Mash in October. Other offerings include birthday parties, fitness classes, gymnasium space, and before and after-school care.
- Who? Toddler STEM classes are designed for kids aged 2-6 and their guardians.
- When? The 45-minute classes take place once per week in 4-week-long sessions periodically throughout the school year (Greenwood schools calendar).
- Where? Greenwood Community Center, 100 Surina Way, Greenwood, 46143
- Cost? $20 for 4 weeks.