Youth programming is FREE this summer!

Photo of a girl holding a painting

Standing amidst the prairie, pre-teens held up their abstract art.

Giant smiles graced their faces as they showed off the creations they made using squirt guns to shoot paint onto hanging canvases during a Young Naturalists program at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

“You don’t have to camp or fish to enjoy the outdoors. You can enjoy playing outside or sitting outside, or shooting squirt guns outside,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator at the nature center. “You can enjoy the outdoors and still have other interests.”

Young Naturalists and other summer youth programming will continue this summer at the Dickinson County Nature Center.

(See the full summer schedule here.)

Young Naturalists, for ages 9-12, will be held 10:30 a.m. Thursdays June 14, 28, July 12, 26 and Aug. 9 with themes such as Leave No Trace Skills, Animal Tracking 101 and Recycled Art.

Nature Explorers, for ages 6-8, will be held 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays opposite of Young Naturalists — June 7, 21, July 5, 19 and Aug. 2. Kuhlman is excited for the Camping 101 theme for Nature Explorers on July 5, during which kids will get to participate in tent relays, learn how to set up a campsite and talk about safe camping practices.

“I think it will be fun and active. They will get to play games and learn basic camping skills they can use in the future,” she said. “This is an age you can really start to teach them safety principles, and they really start to engage with the outdoors.”

Photo of a child looking at a frog

Nature Tots, a year-round monthly programs for ages 2-5, will continue this summer as well. Programs will be held 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. June 13, July 11 and Aug. 8 before returning to the typical 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. sessions the second Wednesday of the month to finish out the year.

“Parents enjoy Nature Tots because you get to enjoy the outdoors with your tots and learn different ways families can enjoy the outdoors,” Kuhlman said. “It’s usually a collaborative experience between parents and tots.”

Kuhlman loves preparing the Nature Tots programs because she can look for fun new children’s book, find new crafts and plan activities for kids to get dirty in the outdoors.

“I like just getting out with the kids, showing them different things and exploring the environment,” Kuhlman said.

(See 10 nature-related children’s books Bry loves!)

All youth summer programs are free but are limited at 25 children per session. Please call 712-336-6352 to pre-register your child for each program. Each program lasts approximately one hour.

For more information on Dickinson County Nature Center year-round programming, visit or call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Also, summer camps are filling up fast. Click here to register before it’s too late!

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