LEAP: Learn, Explore and Play Spring Series
We have sold out all LEAP series. Please register for the program in order to be added to the waitlist. You will be notified via email if your child clears the waitlist.
Join us for a morning of connecting with nature through play in an immersive, sensory-rich play space for children and adults at the Regenstein African Journey and Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo! Explore the natural world by meeting animals, building, painting, sorting and making music at your own pace. The choices are up to you!
Program Options and Pricing
Wednesday Series: March 22 & 29, April 5, 12, 19 & 26, May 3, 10 & 17
March 23 & 30, April 6, 13, 20 & 27, May 4, 11 & 18
March 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, May 6,13 & 20
(Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday sessions are the same. Please register for only one program series.)
$144 ($126 for Lincoln Park Zoo members) for nine-class series
For children ages 2–3 and an adult (cost is per child)
The allowed adult-to-child ratio for each class is up to two adults to one child. You are welcome to bring children under 6 months of age to an older sibling’s class at no additional charge. Children older than 6 months must wait until they reach 2 years old to attend.
Lincoln Park Zoo adheres to a strict cancellation and refund policy. If for any reason you need to cancel your registration before March 15, a refund will be issued, less a 12.5 percent processing fee. After March 15, Lincoln Park Zoo will not be able to offer any refunds for cancelled registrations.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-742-2056.
Lincoln Park Zoo offers a limited number of scholarships, ranging from partial scholarships to full scholarships which cover the cost of one nine-class LEAP series. Please complete and submit an application to be considered for a scholarship.
Please note: scholarships are limited. Applying for a scholarship does not guarantee a spot in a program.
Application deadline: Wednesday, March 8
Download the Scholarship Application in English
Descarga la Aplicación de Becas en Español/Download the Scholarship Application in Spanish
The Benefits of Nature Play
Think back to your childhood. What are some of your fondest memories of play? For millions of Americans, those memories are of playing outside and with nature. Free from adult supervision, you were able to explore, experiment, take risks and discover the world on your terms. Today, our children are spending less time engaged in play outdoors and more time watching TV and interacting with electronic media indoors.
But play has powerful impacts on our growth and development, and losing it will influence how our children progress into adulthood. Play in nature engages all our senses at once. It helps us learn how to problem-solve, fosters creativity and helps us concentrate. When playing, we feel happy and joyful, and by playing outside we learn to love nature and thereby develop lifelong conservation values.
At LEAP, you will notice many different activity areas designed to help your child make those discoveries and begin that process of exploration in nature. Let your child decide when, where and how to play; then join in. There are no rules about what you need to do or learn. During LEAP, you don’t need to visit every station either. Feel free to walk the rock path, build a fort or dig in the dirt. Just play and have fun!
Child directed play is exactly what it sounds like—an opportunity for the child to lead the way by making choices on how to spend his or her time. This type of play is the basis of our LEAP program. At LEAP, children choose what stations to explore and how long to spend at each station, all with parents, guardians and educators playing alongside them and following their lead. Child-directed play is an important part of early childhood and provides many benefits across all areas of development.
Children who make their own decisions at play are building a sense of self direction and self-confidence. They are constructing an understanding of the world around them and using these experiences to process and make sense of how things work. Playing with your child fosters language and social development. It provides positive, uninterrupted interactions with you and strengthens the bond between parent and child. Playing together and engaging with children in a fun, safe environment free from commands, quizzing and strict rules or structure opens up the opportunity for huge growth socially, cognitively and emotionally.
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