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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Camp Theme Details

What you should know about Nature Day Camp and the themes for each week...

Every week of camp contains traditional Nature Day Camp activities, regardless of the theme. Our traditions include many educational (yet really fun) nature games, stealthy sneaking & observing of other groups of campers, nature crafts, unstructured nature play, exploration and small group activities. In general, younger children spend more time in unstructured play, while older children spend more time in organized games & activities. The days are an intricate balance of planned activities & child-directed choices. For many campers, a typical day at camp contained numerous activities, conversation & hiking to a different spot. This makes articulating "what happened at camp" difficult on some days!

Jump to TEEN CAMPS


ROCKIN ROBINS (ages 3.75 - 6)

Nurture your child's sense of wonder and curiosity with activities that help them connect to nature! Sneak through the trees, explore for birds & animals, get creative in nature's kitchen. Give your 'super sleuth' a chance to uncover the wonders of the natural world through play, exploration, games & crafts! These camps are lead by staff with training and experience working with younger children.

Each week, your child can expect a smattering of walking, exploring, open-ended art, nature games, magical stories, and lots of unstructured nature play with the group! Each week is built around a nature theme (listed in the SCHEDULE).


NATURE THEMES AT NATURE DAY CAMP (ages 5-9)

Every week of camp is a magical journey – a pairing of ecology and science with the awe and wonder of nature! Traditional activities such as our opening smudge ceremony bring us together to experience nature with new eyes while stealth games and camouflage teach us to walk quietly and slowly like animals. Myths & legends hone our listening skills and fairy houses spark our creativity and imagination. Unstructured time exploring the plants, animals and insects let us create our own meaningful experience. Projects that help the park in some way teach us to care about the future.

Each week, your child can expect a smattering of hiking, stewardship, open-ended art, games that teach, magical stories, unstructured exploration – as well as ecology activities from one of the following nature themes:

Animals-Adapt or Die!
How do animals survive in their habitats? Their bodies and behaviors are modified to help them stay alive, even in danger. Spend the week looking for animals, and learning about their coolest traits.

Buzz & Flutter 
Bees, Butterflies, and Hummingbirds are the great pollen-movers of the world! Spend the week looking for our much-needed pollinators and understanding why they are so important to us.

Imagine, Invent, Inspire!
Nature is full of loose parts -- a stick can be part of a fort, a bow and arrow, part of a catapault, or a wand. Spend the week using your creative juices to search for found objects and put them to use, your way!

Let's Wing it! 
Make a new friend! Discover winged creatures around every corner as you imitate bird calls and see who answers back. Pay attention - the birds have a lot to tell us about the forest! Come and learn their secrets...

Look Mom, No Spine! 
Snails and slugs, worms and spiders, centipedes and pill bugs – what do they all have in common? They have no backbone! Spend the week searching for and learning about these well-adapted, spineless creatures. Play games that teach the differences and make temporary habitats that match the ones you find!

Plant Potions
Leaves, needles, flowers, and berries - they not only offer us a source of food, but can also be used as bandaids, tea, medicine - AND they can prompt wild and magical play with a little imagination. Come and find out what plants do for us!

Wet & Wild Watersheds
Explore the science of rivers, creeks, ponds & wetlands through investigation and observation. Test the water quality, dip for macroinvertebrates, explore for predatory animals who depend on water as a food source. Discover how all creatures are connected through water – including you! (Water exploration is optional and takes place in shallow water.)

You are Here.
Compasses, maps, and the sun all help us know where we are and how to get where we're going. During this week of camp you'll have a chance to learn how to follow a compass, draw a map, interpret a sun dial, and create scavenger hunts for others to find buried treasure.

 


 DIY NATURE CAMPS FOR OLDER YOUTH

DIY Nature (for youth ages 10-12)
Experience the outdoors firsthand through hiking, ecology, games and do-it-yourself primitive skills. Be active, have fun and learn about nature with a diverse staff! Older campers travel as a group and learn what it takes to both utilize and protect the land. Each camp week contains many of the same games and traditions as Nature Day Camp, but has an added do-it-yourself project that's fun for teens. **Please note!** A $10 fee will be added to the cost of camp to cover the DIY materials.

Dates Location  Ages  Camp and Nature Theme
June 26-30 Mt Tabor Park 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Leather Crafting
June 26-30 Hoyt Arboretum 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Leather Crafting
July 10-14 Mt Tabor Park 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Salve & Natural Dyes
July 10-14 Hoyt Arboretum 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Salve & Natural Dyes
July 17-21 Mt Tabor Park 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Wool Processing
July 17-21 Hoyt Arboretum 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Wool Processing
July 24-28 Mt Tabor Park 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Nature Photography
July 31-Aug 4 Sellwood Park/Oaks Bottom 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Nature Photography
Aug 7-11 Mt Tabor Park 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Building Birdhouses
Aug 7-11 Hoyt Arboretum 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Building Birdhouses
Aug 14-18 Mt Tabor Park 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Mapping the Forest
Aug 14-18 Hoyt Arboretum 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Mapping the Forest
Aug 21-25 Mt Tabor Park 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Simple Machines/Loose Parts
Aug 21-25 Hoyt Arboretum 10-12 yrs DIY Nature: Simple Machines/Loose Parts