Curious preschoolers and their caregivers can learn all about where their food comes from at Little Sprouts, an educational program facilitated by the Lake County Forest Preserves at Bonner Heritage Farm on select Wednesdays, June through October.
Each session features stories, hands-on activities, and a craft project. Children may plant a seed, weed the garden, or even churn their own butter. All activities are age-appropriate and can be shared with an adult caregiver. I personally found it to be a nice little primer for young children entering preschool in the fall, to get them used to being around a large group of kids while still having the comfort of a familiar adult nearby. The program is facilitated by Seleena Kuester, a familiar and friendly face from the Lake County Discovery Museum who many may recognize from the Small Discoveries program.
The program is extremely affordable at only $3 for Lake County residents and $5 for non-residents, and is only one-hour long – perfect for short attention spans. Registration is required and programs take place up to twice per month on select Wednesdays. You can decide which individual sessions you wish to attend, so it’s perfect if you have summer camps or vacations to accommodate. Pick and choose when you’re available and sign-up accordingly. Unlike recurring classes, you have no obligation to continue, although your child may be anxious to return for each program, particularly to see how their plants have grown.
Crafts take place in a shaded barn, while story time and other activities occur outside, so dress appropriately, remember sun protection, and bring cool drinks on hot summer days.
After class, consider extending your morning at Bonner Heritage Farm and nearby Millennium Park. Larger-than-life farming exhibits are perfect for small children to explore and make great photo opportunities. Keep in mind that Bonner Farm isn’t an actual working farm, so don’t expect to see any live animals. It is, however, a fun and historical site that doubles as a self-guided outdoor museum and interactive playscape.
Across the spacious parking lot, you’ll find the playground at Millennium Park, which is part of the Lindenhurst Park District. This lovely park has real restrooms, water fountains and a shaded pavilion with picnic tables. On a sunny day, you may be tempted to stay and play all day!
Little Sprouts at Bonner Heritage Farm
201 Country Place, Lindenhurst
Advance registration required; $3 Residents/$5 Non-residents
Directions: Enter on Sand Lake Road just west of Route 45 in Lindenhurst. Turn north from Sand Lake Road onto Country Place. The parking lot is located on the right, just past the bend.