Homeschoolers Hop In

Heathcote hosted the Homeschool Hoppers as part of a collaborative field trip series. The Ox-Bow Center, Savannas Preserve State Park, Smithsonian Marine Station, and the Manatee Observation and Education Center are other stops on this journey of learning.

The theme for this series is “Decomposers and Scavengers: Nature’s Recyclers.” At Heathcote Miss Nan led the Hoppers on a search for some of those recyclers. Kids spied earthworms, lichen, and more as they looked up, down, and through plants, compost, and leaf litter.

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To learn more about Miss Nan’s educational field trips, please call her at 772-812-1682 or email her at

Small Pioneers Learn About Olden Days

First graders from Morningside Academy visited Heathcote on October 27 for our Pioneer Day experience. Educator Nan Billings started out with a lesson in the Pioneer House. Hands-on activities from bygone days followed outside.

The children shook cream to make delicious butter. They learned how to knead dough and cut out biscuits. They scrubbed on a washboard and hung clothes on a line with wooden pins. After the chores, they had some pioneer fun with square dancing.




If you’d like information about booking one of Miss Nan’s curriculum-based field trips to Heathcote, just give her a call at 772-812-1682, or email her at

Indian River Lagoon Science Festival

What can you do with pink, blue, and green magnetic marbles? Kids who stopped by Heathcote’s exhibit at the Indian River Lagoon Science Festival on September 26 got to combine these “atoms” into molecules of water and carbon dioxide. Then they saw how inside a plant leaf these ingredients “cook” in sunlight to make sugar for the plant’s food and oxygen for us to breathe. Future scientists and gardeners had fun moving the bright marbles around the magnetic board to create the chemical formula for photosynthesis, and they gained a new appreciation for the usefulness of plants. We loved sharing Heathcote’s story with new folks on the Treasure Coast, and saying hello to our long-time friends as well.

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Summer Camp Concludes with World of Weather

Children gathered on the Main Lawn for Day 5 of our camp. The kids made paper helicopters and airplanes to play with in our summer breeze. Miss Nan used a globe to show where in the world tornadoes are most likely to form. She demonstrated this wind vortex with a water vortex in the Reflection Garden pool. Then the children created a water vortex through a neat experiment with soda bottles, a washer, and duct tape.

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After a bit of summer fun with balls, Frisbees, and small golf clubs, everyone gathered to create an edible rainbow above a palm garden out of veggies and fruit. Certificates for campers capped off the week of fun and learning.

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Camp Day 4 Explores World of Insects

Campers began Day 4 in the Pioneer House where they had an interactive lesson on insects. They learned about the difference between a person’s endoskeleton and an insect’s exoskeleton. Children used little fingers to eat marshmallows in the way that ladybugs gather aphids with their mandibles. They explored the Butterfly Garden looking for butterfly eggs with magnifying lenses.

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Food activities followed the theme with a veggie endoskeleton and celery and pretzel butterflies.

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Camp Day 3 Features Pioneer Life

Campers gathered at the Pioneer House to learn about the life of Florida settlers in the 1880s. Our small pioneers made butter, kneaded dough, washed clothes in tubs, and hung them on a line with wooden clothes pins.

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They tried a pioneer game of watermelon spitting. Since our modern watermelon was seedless, the kids spit watermelon pieces instead. Then they carved watermelon bowls to serve fruit snacks. Many thanks to Nelson Family Farms for the donation of the tasty fruit and veggies used for our camp.

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Summer Camp Day 2 in the Rainforest and Beyond

Day 2 of our kids’ camp began in the Rainforest with making nature-themed sun-catchers and wall hangings. Next the children embarked on a scavenger hunt for living and nonliving things throughout the Rainforest and all the Gardens. In the Bonsai Pavilion they began a project painting coconuts. They trekked back to the Rainforest to create a train made out of vegetables and a homemade hummus dip. These kids LOVE veggies and hummus!

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