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Combat the Winter Blues with Nature Tots in Okoboji
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Combat the Winter Blues with Nature Tots in Okoboji

We see you moms of toddlers.

It’s been quite the day. You woke up at the crack of dawn, made breakfast, sculpted flowers and trucks out of Play-Doh, watched cartoons, swept the floor twice, washed dishes, started a load of laundry, put together a puzzle, and you glance at the clock.

It’s 9:30 a.m.

What are you going to do with yourself, let alone your children, for the rest of the day?

We have the solution!

Bring them to the Dickinson County Nature Center, and once a month, join in our Nature Tots program. January’s sessions will take kids on a Wintertime Walk.

“We will focus on snow and how animals survive through the winter,” said naturalist Charles Vigdal.

A story about how different animals make it through the coldest season will kick off both the 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. sessions on Wednesday, Jan. 11, and Vigdal will talk about how animals in Iowa cope with the chill. Frogs, for instance, hibernate through the winter, but kids will get to see the northern leopard frog at the nature center up close because it stays warm and toasty inside.

Different than amphibians, fish stay active during these darker months.

“Fish are still active under the ice,” Vigdal said. “When you’re ice skating on the lake, there are still fish under your feet eating and swimming and doing fish stuff.”

After the story, kids will split into groups to make snow art or to go on a prairie hike.

“Dress for the weather, because we will be going outside. Wintertime is a really great time to see wildlife, because a lot of animals are moving around trying to find food. It’s also easier to see them on the white backdrop, and you can see their paw prints in the snow,” Vigdal said. “We will find evidence of animals and see other winter patterns in nature. I put some apples outside and animals have been eating them, so we’ll look for other signs of animals in nature.”

Nature Tots is held the second Wednesday of each month, year-round, and each session is limited to 25 toddlers. The morning sessions for January-March are filled, so make sure to call 712-336-6352 in advance to reserve your spot for these programs.

The 2017 series has plenty of fun themes planned, and Vigdal is especially looking forward to June’s "Wonders of the Wetlands", October’s "Icky Animals" and December’s "Discover Dinos" topics.

“Nature Tots has been growing rapidly, and each month we are seeing new faces and welcoming back families who come to each program diligently,” said Kiley Roth, community relations coordinator. “Our naturalists work hard to plan programs that are educational but are also fun, because we know that at this stage of life, toddlers should simply learn that nature is fun. Once they develop a love for the outdoors through programs like Nature Tots, they hopefully will have a passion for the environment that will grow throughout their entire lives.”

To see the full Nature Tots schedule, visit our website. You can also keep up with the latest Dickinson County Nature Center happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The nature center is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday at 2279 170th St. in Okoboji.


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