The laughter spewed forth as we read the book “Everyone Poops” in preparation for the next Nature Tots 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.
The popular program for ages 2-5 continues year-round and has some unique themes coming up, including Everybody Poops Sept. 14, Super Seeds for the Oct. 12 program, Turtle Power for the Nov. 9 class and Paw Prints for the Dec. 14 event.
“I’m really excited about our Turtle Power program that’s coming up in November,” said naturalist Mary Petersen. “We have four species of turtles here at the nature center, and any time we can show kids the live animals we have here and allow them to experience an animal up close I think we pique their interest right away, making for a fun, exciting program.”
Nature Tots includes story time, an educational lesson, time outdoors and a craft, and it is all free. The program is limited to the first 50 pre-registrants.
“I think Nature Tots had a lot of success this summer because the way we set up our programs is aimed at the children’s natural curiosity,” Petersen said. “We work really hard at the nature center to create activities and learning opportunities that are fun and engaging for the kids. Our goal as educators isn’t just to simply pass on our knowledge to your kids. We want to get them involved and passionate about the world around them — that’s when real learning happens.”
Parents and guardians are invited to stay with their toddlers for the hour-long program to help them with the hands-on activities and to share in these fun outdoor experiences together. The naturalists enjoy spending this time with the younger generation to see their faces light up as they learn.
“My favorite part of Nature Tots is watching the kids having a fun time while learning,” Petersen said. “We tend to have a mindset that learning must be totally structured, but I believe that fun and learning, especially in the early years, go hand in hand.”
To participate, simply call 712-336-6352 to register your toddler.
“If you haven’t been to Nature Tots before I highly recommend checking us out,” Petersen said. “As summer comes to an end and the temperatures cool down, it’s a great way to get the kids out of the house doing something fun, educational, and free. After the program, you and your toddler can stick around and check out the interactive nature center displays and the live animals we have on display here.”