Nature Tots program ready to begin

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Little campers, Nature's Pals, Magical Rainbows — Nature Tots has a whole new slate of engaging themes for 2019.

The series for ages two through five kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Dickinson County Nature Center. Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman said the program continues on each year’s schedule because of its ever-increasing attendance.

"I think the community feels it's a valuable resource," she said. "Moms and guardians enjoy coming to the nature center, and we enjoy having them."

Nature Tots is held 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month, with additional 9 a.m. programs held June through August. Each program is limited at 25 participants and programs fill quickly.

"We use a variety of different methods to help educate kids at the level they're at — play-based learning, books and crafts," Kuhlman said. "We enjoy getting out with the kids and letting them lead the way."

Although Kuhlman and naturalist Ashley Hansen always have a program's activities prepared in advance, they like to be flexible and in tune with what engages the toddlers that day, whether it be collecting acorns, counting steps or touching leaves.

"I typically follow with what the majority of kids get excited about — not all kids learn in the same way," Kuhlman said. "My favorite part is just seeing how excited they get about different parts of the program, whether it collecting acorns or gathering faux fire flames. They're always excited about something, and it's never what you think."

Kuhlman and Hansen worked hard to come up with new themes and activities for the 2019 Nature Tots programs, and the first one of the year is "Little Campers." Little ones will have fun with indoor camping activities on Jan. 9.

Kuhlman is especially excited for March's Magical Rainbows theme, when kids will get to go on a leprechaun hunt and step inside a rainbow.

From holding her hand to asking to be her best friend, toddlers always seem to make Kuhlman's day.

"Their enthusiasm and zest for life is refreshing," she said. "You never know what to expect. It keeps you on your toes."

For the 2019 Nature Tots themes as well as a list of all Dickinson County Conservation Board programs, visit dickinsoncountynaturecenter.com or call 712-336-6352. The latest happenings can also be found on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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