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The City of Portland, Oregon

Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Lil' Nature Kids (ages 3-5)

Sometimes the sidewalk is our desk...

Lil' Nature Kids; Learning Ecology through Play

DROP OFF PROGRAM at Mt. Tabor Park for ages 3-5

It's proven - young children need nature! Research supports it: time in nature as a young child with trusted adults increases creativity, focus, coordination, and social development. During our experiential ecology lessons in Portland's parks and natural areas, children learn about Pacific NW ecology through songs, stories, exploration, and unstructured play. Lesson topics vary depending on the season, weather, and interest level of the children. Winter nature topics may include (but are not limited to) worms, water, squirrels, raptors, mushrooms, winter flowers, and weather. Spring nature topics may include (but are not limited to) bees, birds, flowers, butterflies, plant growth, sun, and shadows.

Lil' Nature Kids is a drop-off program that pairs enthusiastic environmental educators with young children to teach ecology through hands-on experiences. This program combines ecological concepts with developmentally appropriate skills in a relevant, meaningful way. Classes are two hours long and take place rain or shine. The primary goals are to give children positive outdoor experiences in all types of weather and to teach about local plants, animals, and concepts in an age-appropriate way (i.e. through imitation, sensory learning, songs, stories, and guided exploration.) All classes are mixed age. Ratio of students to teachers is 4:1 or better. 

Lil' Nature Kids at Mt. Tabor Park (Winter and Spring Classes)
Activity Code Season Day of Week Dates  Time Resident Cost  Non-Resident Cost Ages
1083050 Winter Mondays Jan 29, Feb 5, 12, 19, 26, Mar 5, 12, 19 9:30-11:30am $112 $157 3-5 yrs
1087487 Winter Tuesdays (Just added!) Feb 27, Mar 6, 13, 20 9:30-11:30am $56 $79 3-5 yrs
1083051 Spring Mondays   Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 17, 21 9:30-11:30am $112 $157 3-5 yrs
1087486 Spring Tuesdays Apr 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22 9:30-11:30am $112 $157 3-5 yrs

This is a drop-off program, where parents do not attend class. Winter classes must have at least five participants by January 22, 2018 (Monday) and February 6, 2018 (Tuesday) to avoid cancellation. Spring class must have at least five participants by March 26 and 27.

Need help covering the cost of classes? Set up a payment plan or apply for a scholarship. Call our office for more information at 503-823-3601. Scholarship form can be found at

Classes take place at Mt. Tabor Park, and meet at the covered picnic shelter across from the playground. Travel up the hill to the right from SE 69th Avenue and Yamhill Street, or up the hill from SE 60th Avenue and Salmon Steet.

Hats or mittens, rain jacket, rain boots, snack to have along the trail, water bottle, backpack, and a COMPLETED HEALTH FORM.

Visit our Once Registered page to be ready for your first day of class.

To receive a full refund, a participant must be withdrawn at least 7 days before the class or camp begins. Withdraw or Transfer from activities using your online account. Go to "My Account", then the "My Account Details" page. Need help? Call our office at 503-823-3601.

"My daughter loved the first day. She's not typically very cold tolerant, but she went out on a cold, rainy 41 degree day and had a blast. That's a ringing endorsement!"
Parent - Winter 2016

"My kiddos have been absolutely LOVING this program. I have signed them up even though we typically have another obligation on Wednesdays, and am excited to get to go with them to 'Nature School'!"
Parent - Winter 2017