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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland 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 
**Children must be full potty-trained to participate.**


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 and a half 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. Children must be potty trained to participate. Ratio of students to teachers is 4:1 or better. 

This is a drop-off program -- parents do not attend class. Please register early so the classes are not cancelled due to low enrollment! Spring class must have at least six participants by March 28 to avoid cancellation.

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 Street.

Hats or mittens, rain jacket, rain boots, snack to have along the trail, water bottle, backpack. Please also make sure to bring a completed health form with you the first day of class! (Find it HERE)

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