2019 Summer Nature Day Camp: Weekly Schedule and Themes
View Registration and Policies
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
Pre-K (4 & 5 years)
| 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
| Adventure Seekers
| See columns to the left and right
|| Wilderness Adventures
| August 12-16
| Our Green Planet
| 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 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
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.
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