Celebrate summer

Nature Tots to learn about the summer solstice

Summer isn’t officially here.

But the summer solstice, the official first day of summer, is just weeks away and the Dickinson County Nature Center is inviting toddlers and their parents to learn more about this time of year.

They will be hosting their monthly Nature Tots program on Wednesday, June 12.

The Nature Tots programming is aimed at ages 2-5 and is held the second Wednesday of each month at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. For the months of June through August they are adding a 9 a.m. session to the lineup as well due to the program’s popularity.

Each session is limited to 25 toddlers, and spaces fill up quickly, so please call the Dickinson County Nature Center to register.

Each Nature Tots program has a theme and the one for June is “Summer Solstice.”

“This program will focus on the longest day of the year, which is also the first day of summer. Although this program is before the first day of summer on June 21, it is still a great time to celebrate the new season,” said Kiley Roth, the community relations coordinator with the Dickinson County Nature Center.

Since the weather is likely to be nice for this month’s program, the plan is to get the kids out into nature.

“Environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman and naturalist Ashley Hansen will get kids outside to enjoy this approaching new season, which is the favorite season for many people in the Okoboji area,” Roth said. “They will talk about how the tilt of the Earth creates different seasons and different day lengths in different times of the year. We’ll spend time enjoying the sun and warmth outside in Kenue Park.”

While Nature Tots is about having fun, it’s also about sharing lessons with children and their families and hopefully making a lasting impression.

“We hope that toddlers and parents, learn a little bit about changing seasons and why we have summer in the months that we do in the northern hemisphere. We always hope that our lessons and activities increase an appreciation of our natural world,” Roth said. “Iowa gets to enjoy all four seasons, so it is nice to be able to celebrate when a new season is upon us. We want people to appreciate all seasons and the many things that they have to offer.”

Now that they have added an additional 9 a.m. session, Roth is excited about offering up the Nature Tots program to even more excited toddlers.

“We love Nature Tots, because we love getting to foster an appreciation of our natural world in kids as young as 2. They pick up so quickly on why nature is important, whether it be wildlife, flowers, pollinators or soil. They learn quickly that it’s important to take care of the world around us,” Roth said. “We know that a love of nature starts young and starts with fun and will only grow as the kids grow, so we like being able to make an impact on young kids, and their parents too.”