San Diego Kids’ Program

Custom Experience:

This year’s theme will be animal science. Our two-day program will focus on what we can learn from the animal world. We’ll take the theme and create fun, innovative activities that keep kids engaged and smiling throughout the day. This theme will be reflected in the décor elements that we bring to transform the space. We’ll bring the outside into our space on the SENG Conference hotel site, and create a space that evokes the world outside and the animals’ natural habitat.


Students will have the opportunity to participate in scheduled activities and demonstrations or to engage in free-play activities if they prefer. Participation is always encouraged, never forced. There are always multiple choices for children to choose from and enough program leaders to ensure each student has the attention they require.

OVERALL THEME: “If we could talk to the animals…”

How do scientists learn from animals when we don’t speak the same language? What can we learn from how animals navigate their world? How do we avoid assuming the intentions of animals based on our own human experience? And while we’re at it, is there a scientific reason why we find some animals to be so cute?!

We’ll explore this theme through topic blocks that allow students to ask questions, make discoveries, and get hands-on and interactive. Outside presenters, activities, and live animals will bring excitement and emphasize the real-life significance in each topic.



1. Communication

How do animals communicate? Do humans communicate in similar ways? We’ll explore the scientific principles behind various modes of communication. Does communication ever lead to misunderstandings in the animal world or is that a uniquely human experience?

Activity: One Word Plays

Animals may not appear to use different words when they communicate; rather, different sounds, tone, and emphasis help tell their story. We’ll divide into groups and create short plays where the characters can only use one word to tell the story. Costumes and props will help set the stage.


2. First Flight

Creatures large and small have been flying for millennia. What took humans so long? We will look at the mechanics of birds’ flight and compare them to human flying machines.

Demonstration: Raptors

We will be joined by Lanner Falcons, Augur Buzzards (Hawks), owls and even a few chickens to learn more about these birds’ flight, diet, behaviors, and more. We will also compare these birds to reptiles. Students will have a chance to get in on the act and experience these beautiful birds up close.


3. Survival

What can animals teach us about survival and the efficient use of resources? We’ll learn about the various survival strategies used in the animal world.

Activity: Survival Challenge

Learn about each animal’s way of surviving, while trying to survive some challenges yourself. Volunteer students will “compete” in certain challenges against our animal guests, measuring speed, bravery, strength, and more.


4. The ‘Clothes’ We Wear

While some animals adorn themselves with plants and sticks, most rely on their natural coverings. What are the advantages of each?

Demonstration: Sensation Adventure

Our live animal guests will help us explore scientific inquiries about the sensations of touch, from fur to feathers and scales to spines.

Agenda – Day One

8:00 am Welcome, introductions and small group allocations
▪ Overview of each day
▪ Ground rules/what to expect
▪ Forming of small groups for future activities
8:15 am Group ice breaker
8:35 am Visible thinking exercise
9:00 am Behavioral animal science (Group discussion/small group activity)
9:45 am Animal communication (small group activity)
10:15 am One-word plays
11:00 am Show time
12:00 pm Lunch
12:30 pm Discussion – large group
1:00 pm Flight demonstration live experience
▪ We will be joined by Lanner Falcons, Augur Buzzards (Hawk), owls
and even a few chickens to learn more about how birds fly, where
they are from, their diet, behaviors and more. We will also
compare these birds to reptiles. We’ll watch them soar, swoop and
dive. Guests will have a chance to get in on the act and experience
these beautiful birds up close.
1:30 pm Hands-on time with the birds
▪ Questions for the trainer
2:30 pm Discussion – what impacts the ability for flight?
3:30 pm Small group project
4:30 pm Creature races
5:00 pm Goodbye for the day


Agenda – Day Two

8:00 am Welcome and day two overview
8:15 am Warm up animal improv games
8:45 am The clothes we wear – discussion
9:15 am Form or function – discussion and art project
10:30 am Team trivia game – small group/all group
12:00 pm Lunch
12:30 pm Free time rotation in activity zones
1:30 pm Survival challenge – demonstration and audience participation
3:00 pm Discussion
3:30 pm Visible thinking routine revisited
4:00 pm Talk about it challenge – lightning round
5:00 pm Final goodbyes


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