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2019 Summer Nature Day Camp: Weekly Schedule and Themes



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Children who like nature love camp at the Tenafly Nature Center! Our professional Environmental Educators lead outdoor activities that are fun and educational: hiking along TNC’s trails, engaging in nature-based crafts, games and activities. Campers will learn to identify native species and understand ecosystems and habitats throughout our nearly 400 acre forest. Sharp-eyed campers may spot native animals that live in TNC’s preserve; from Snapping Turtles to White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkeys, Bullfrogs, and Red-tailed Hawks.

Sign up early, as spots are limited. Don’t let your child miss out on fun, hands-on nature experiences, outdoor discovery, and the chance to explore our native hardwood forest and pond ecosystems.

  • Certified by the State to meet all NJ Youth Camp Safety health and safety standards. Camp ID #2248.
  • Curriculum and activities are designed for children ages 4 to 14. 
  • Curriculum complies with NGSS and NJCCCS
  • Led by experienced, adult professional educators.
  • Different sessions, grouped by age, meet each week.
  • Preschool to 8th grade campers may attend multiple sessions, each with different themes and activities.
  • A 1:9 teacher-to-child ratio enables us to give your child a lot of individual attention. 1:7 for Pre-K/K. 
  • Preschool and Kindergarten campers may attend half- or full-day sessions.
  • 1st through 8th grade campers attend full day sessions.
  • Option to extend care before or after regular day camp hours.
  • Camp fee includes a camp T-shirt
We welcome kids of all abilities and will work closely with you to make sure your child has a wonderful summer camp experience! 

Schedule and Themes

 2019 Schedule & Themes
Use the grade your child is entering next September to determine group.
If a session is marked as FULL, a wait list is available.
  • The 2019 camp season is June 24-August 30. 
  • Each session runs Monday through Friday 
  • Full day sessions run from 9:00 am-3:30 pm.
  • Pre-K (4-5 year olds) & Kindergarten may attend full day or half-day sessions. Half-day run from 9:00 am-12:30 pm or 12:00-3:30 pm









 Grade
(September 2019)            
 Pre-K (4 & 5 years)
 & Kindergarten                          
 1st & 2nd Grade   3rd-5th  Grade   5th-8th  Grade 
 June 24-28  Watch Out, Weather         Weather   Weirdness      
 Stirring up a Storm 
 July 1-5
 (No camp July 4)
 World of Wildlife   Save Our Species   Empowering Future Naturalists   
 July 8-12  Creepy Crawly Critters  Wet and Wild   Cold Blooded Creatures   
 July 15-19  Homes and Habitats   Pondering Habitats                 Natural Art 
 July 22-26  Superb, Splendid Senses  Did You Hear That?   Stewards of the Earth 
 July 29-August 2    Forest of Four Seasons   The Feisty Forest   Wild Detectives 
 August 5-9  Survival of the Fittest 
 (Pre-K-1st Grade)
 Adventure Seekers
(2nd-4th Grade)
 See columns to the left and right  Wilderness   Adventures 
 August 12-16  Mammalrama 
 (Pre-K-1st Grade) 

 Our Green Planet
 (2nd-4th Grade) 
 See columns to the left and right  Our Blue Planet 
 August 19-23  Plentiful Plants   Nocturnal Animals    Powerful Plants   
 August 26-30                      Look to the Sky   Fabulous Flyers 


Extended Care

Extended Care may be provided before and after camp for an additional fee. This is not an extended camp experience. During this time campers participate in supervised, self-directed, indoor activities. For more information on extended care, please visit our Registration & Policies page.

Please choose the camp theme below and it will take you to the registration page. 

Pre-K (4 & 5 years) & Kindergarten

  • Watch Out, Weather!: June 24-28
    Thunder, lightning and hail, oh my! When skies grow dark and ominous, we watch in fear and awe to see what is unleashed. Campers will spend time with their eyes on the sky as we explore what makes rain different from snow and hurricanes different from tornadoes. This will be the only week we hope for rain!
  • World of Wildlife: July 1-5 (No Camp July 4) 

    Who has feathers but can’t fly? Who doesn’t have gills but lives in the water? What organisms are capable of glowing? Life has evolved some surprising survival solutions. Come explore the wonderful world of wacky adaptations as we learn about some of the most unique inhabitants on this planet.

  • Creepy Crawly Critters: July 8-12

    They're creepy and they're kooky /mysterious and spooky/ they’re all together gooky…no, not the Addams family; it’s the week of Creepy, Crawly Critters at Tenafly Nature Center! Are snakes slimy? Do toads give you warts? Join us this week and learn about the slimiest and most slithery organisms.

  • Homes and Habitats: July 15-19

    Humans have homes, animals have habitats! Campers will investigate the various habitats of animals found at Tenafly Nature Center, from frog to fish to fox. Each day is an experience and a discovery as they are introduced to insects, mammals, amphibians and reptiles native to our woods. Stories, puppet shows, games, arts & crafts and guided hikes will round out our week.

  • Superb, Splendid Senses: July 22-26

    What are the tools we use to investigate the world around us? Campers will discover that they contain all the tools they need to study their surroundings! As we focus on a particular sense each day we will encourage campers to develop and appreciate its attributes. Through meeting live animals and engaging in activities, we will compare our human senses to our animal friends!

  • Forest of Four Seasons: July 29-August 2

    What’s the reason for our seasons? Campers learn to appreciate why winter is cold and summer is hot as we investigate the changes our forest goes through each season. We will check out climate, trees, weather, and adaptations to gain a clear picture of the four seasons!

  • Survival of the Fittest (Pre-K-1st Grade): August 5-9
    Do you have what it takes to survive? Animals do! When baby robins fall out of the nest, it’s using a survival strategy, as is a snake with black, red, and yellow coloring. Animals have many means of protecting themselves and their young. Campers will be fascinated to learn about the numerous adaptations animals use for getting ahead in the game of life. We will learn all about how animals protect themselves by means of claws, colors, and chemicals.  
  • Mammalrama (Pre-K-1st Grade): August 12-16

    Being hairy is not so scary! Campers will discover what it means to be a mammal, and learn to identify what characteristics they all share (including people). We will also explore the diversity of different mammal types through live animal visits. Campers will trek our woods in search of our furry friends and any evidence they have left behind.

  • Plentiful Plants: August 19-23

    Plants are just about everywhere; rain forests, grasslands, and even the desert! They belong to an amazing kingdom! Campers will develop an appreciation for all life stages of plants, from seeds to trees. By learning to identify plants common to New Jersey as well as plants that we use in our lives, campers will appreciate the persistence of plants.

  • Look to the Sky: August 26-30

    Is it a plane? Is it a superhero? No, it’s a magnificent flying animal! From birds to butterflies, campers will soar up to the sky and learn about animals that fly. They will get a better understanding of what makes some animals able to take off and why people couldn’t fly (without the use of a machine) even if we glued feathers to our arms and head. 

1st & 2nd Grade

  • Weather Weirdness: June 24-28
    From snow in the Saharan Desert to December hurricanes, this planet has some weird weather! Campers find out why the wind blows and the rain falls. Once we’ve covered the basics, the sky is the limit! We will learn about weather so extreme, it seems impossible, as well as the weird weather we’re likely to witness here in the Northeast. 

  • Save Our Species: July 1-5 (No Camp July 4) 
    What causes species extinction, and what we can do to help protect our animal friends? Utilizing artifacts and live animals, campers will learn about the classifications of at-risk species, and develop an appreciation for the diversity of organisms around us.

  • Wet and Wild: July 8-12
    It may be calm on the surface, but the fun is beneath! With a variety of tools campers will investigate all the life that lurks beneath the surface of the pond. From frogs to fish and insects to invertebrates, we’ll explore the watery depths of Pfister’s Pond.

  • Pondering Habitats: July 15-19
    Sometimes you've got to get your hands in the muck to be a lucky duck! Like field scientists, campers will get hands-on experience with the pond's many inhabitants (such as tadpoles and dragonfly larvae) as we “pour” over pond ecology and habitats within the pond. For full immersion, ponds will be compared to other ecosystems, as well as to other bodies of water.

  • Did You Hear That?: July 22-26
    Squirrels chatter, birds chirp and tweet, and coyotes howl. What is thunder? Why does the rain sound different in a forest than on a roof? What do these sounds mean? Campers will get an earful about nature’s sounds and will talk your ear off with all the facts they hear!

  • The Feisty Forest: July 29-August 2
    Forests may not have fangs, but some of the critters in forests do! Campers discover that forests are home to amazing animals and plants. We will enjoy the forest and frolic under the trees as we learn about our furry and feathery friends and our scaly and slimy pals!

  • Adventure Seekers (2nd-4th grade): August 5-9
    Have you imagined yourself as Peter Pan or Lucy Pevensie?  If you have, then Adventurers camp is the camp for you! We may not have magic wardrobes to new worlds, but we can provide a week of marvels to satisfy any explorer. Campers come to base camp and meet their team of fellow explorers as we take to the woods!

  • Our Green Planet (2nd-4th grade): August 12-16
    Imagine a car that runs on gas made from plants! Whether you ride in a car run off vegetable oil or petroleum, you wouldn’t be going anywhere without plants in the tank. Campers celebrate the plants in our lives as we eat them, wear them, and use them to get by as we explore the importance of plants in our lives. Activities will involve looking at how plants produce food for themselves, the purpose of flowers, and planting for tomorrow.

  • Nocturnal Animals: August 19-23
    Ever wonder what goes on while you’re sleeping? We will take a look at animals who are awake at night. Campers will learn all about nocturnal animals and what adaptations they have for surviving in darkness and sleeping during the sunlight. 

  • Fabulous Flyers: August 26-30

    One of rarest abilities in the natural world is flight. Birds, insects, and bats can fly, but that’s about it! Campers will focus on animals that can take to the skies as well as how humans learned to mimic their winged friends. We will have an opportunity to meet a live feathered friend and gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the animals that reach the world above.

3rd-5th Grade

  • Stirring up a Storm: June 24-28
    Weather is all around us. Some days it’s calm and serene; other days it’s wild as it whips up a storm. Campers focus on the extremes weather can throw our way, from heat waves to droughts, to floods and massive storms. Campers will identify clouds and the types of weather they bring, why it rains instead of snows, and what our future weather could bring.

  • Empowering Future Naturalists: July 1-5 (No Camp July 4) 

    Empower means to make (someone) stronger and more confident. This week campers will focus on building a connection to nature and growing an appreciation for what nature has to offer. We know that some things can make us nervous and afraid but we will face the unknown head on and leave with enough knowledge to teach the group! 

  • Cold Blooded Creatures: July 8-12

    We will take an in-depth look at reptiles and amphibians that not only live in our area, but around the world! Campers will get to know about our cold-blooded Animal Ambassadors and learn about the adaptations that make them unique. Through trips to the pond and exploration of the trails, arts & crafts, games, projects and science exploration we will gain a better understanding of these creatures and the ones found outside.

  • Natural Art: July 15-19
    Everyone can be an artist! We will examine how ancient cultures expressed themselves and compare our views with these cultures. Campers will create wonderful works of art using natural and recycled items and explore many types of environmental art. Using nature and our surroundings as a source of inspiration will encourage campers to feel a deeper connection to our natural world. 

  • Stewards of the Earth: July 22-26
    The Earth is not a dead thing you can claim. Should we care if the Rainforests are being cut down? Do we really need all these National Parks? Campers will learn about what the Earth has to offer for people and if we can or should try to survive without any natural necessities.

  • Wild Detectives: July 29-August 2
    Grab a magnify glass and your binoculars, we are going on a week-long case! An animal came through these trails, but who could it be and what were they doing? Campers will focus on animal tracking by learning about their behavior, diet, tracks, skulls, and more. Together we will get to the bottom of this unsolved case. 

  • Powerful Plants: August 19-23
    From breaking through rocks to curing diseases, plants are pretty powerful. Campers will spend the week at camp learning how important plants are. We will learn about the plants growing in our forest as well as the plants within the gardens of the Tenafly Nature Center. 

5th-8th Grade

  • Wilderness Adventures (5th-8th  Grade): August 5-9
    Adventure is out there! This week is for campers ready for anything. Exploring trails most visitors have never been to, learning survival skills, and tracking down animals are just a few of the activities we will get into. As we trek along our trails, campers will leave camp with a stronger sense of confidence and teamwork. 

  • Our Blue Planet (5th-8th Grade): August 12-16
    How much water do you use in a day? How much water does a person need to survive? What do people do for water in the desert? Water is a resource we often take for granted and that every living organism needs, not just people! Campers spend the week learning why water is a valuable resource as we investigate the competing uses for water in the 21st century.

View Registration and Policies