Ladybug Nature Walks for Kids 6 and Under – Spring & Summer Schedule

By Portland Parks and Recreation

2021 Ladybug Nature Walks have begun! Join us!

Walks resumed the first week of February 2021. The schedule is listed below. Please make sure to read all COVID-19 requirements if you plan to register for a walk this winter or spring!

Little Ladybug Nature Walk explorers… Join them for lots of fun!

Ladybug Nature Walks 

Ladybug Nature Walks are a way for children ages 0-6 (and an adult) to explore a local Portland park. Nature educators guide families to notice plants and animals. Walks are child-directed and open-ended. Nature educators walk with the children in small groups. Children learn through questions, observation, and play. Groups move slowly through the park, stopping often. In this way, children have time to notice the plants and animals around them. If we have extra time we might also read a story, sing a song, or use puppets for imaginative play.

Walks last one hour. Content is geared for children ages 18 months-6 years. (Younger siblings under 18 months are welcome. Please give us their names and ages when prompted during registration.) 

While exploring with a nature educator, children borrow a small Ladybug backpack containing a few tools that are easy to clean:

  • Magnifying lens
  • Small plastic tub with a lid
  • Metal Spoon
  • Laminated color wheel for matching
  • Plastic Bug box
  • Plastic paintbrush
  • Small toy insect for imaginative play

For more information, email enviroed@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-1149. 

We offer weekly walks for the general public, but we ask that preschool groups, classrooms, and organizations with more than five children schedule a customized group Ladybug WalkFind information about customized group Ladybug Walks here

Program changes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ladybug Walks have some new guidelines to comply with COVID-19 protocols. If you are interested in participating, please read details carefully.

We will be offering two walks each day of programming (except during the last two weeks when the weather is much colder). Please make sure you are registering for the correct walk. 

  • Walk 1  –  9:30-10:30am
  • Walk 2  –  11am-Noon

There are 14 participant spots available for each walk (this number does not include the adults attending).

All children and adults will need to be able to follow these guidelines to participate in a walk:

  • Registration is required. All children 18 months – 6 years must register. List information about the adult attending and any younger siblings coming along during registration. 
  • Group sizes are limited. Walks are for children ages birth through 6 and their caregivers or parents.  
  • Physical distancing is required. Everyone must stay 6′ feet apart from people not living in the same household. 
  • Face coverings are required for everyone age three and older (3+). Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth. If your 3-6 year old is not yet able to wear a mask, start practicing now so they are ready. 
  • Signed liability waiver is required. A COVID-19 waiver must be completed for everyone during the registration process. (A waiver signed for a child also covers the parent who signs the waiver. Adults who are not the parent will need to sign the waiver once on site.)
  • You will be screened for symptoms when you arrive. Our staff will be screening everyone arriving for COVID-like symptoms on the day of the walk. If you are sick, please withdraw from the program to keep others safe. You will receive a full refund as long as you withdraw before the start time of your walk. Withdraw online or contact 503-823-1149 . 
  • Children and adults will wash hands or sanitize hands before receiving and after handing in the backpacks. Tools are sanitized between walks and sharing is kept to a minimum. We will have hand washing stations and hand sanitizer available for use. 
Families participating in the Ladybug Nature Walks. Photos courtesy Chrissy Larson, Portland Parks & Recreation

Upcoming Walks: Times, Dates, and Locations

Walks take place rain or shine. We are outside 100% of the time. Please dress both children and adults in warm layers and rain coats and rain boots during the cold and wet months. We suggest hats and mittens and a full change of clothes just in case your little one is a puddle stomper. 

Please arrive five minutes early to get screened, checked in, and connected to your nature educator. Locations vary each week. We try to schedule walks in Northwest, Southwest, North, Northeast, and Southeast Portland each month. Do you have a suggestion for a Portland park that would be a good location for your family? Let us know! 

To find times and location of the walks or to register click/navigate to the links below!

https://www.portland.gov/parks/environmental-education/ladybug-nature-walks#toc-upcoming-walks-times-dates-and-locations

When registering your child, you will be prompted to give the name and phone number of the adult attending the walk. Only children ages 2-6 will be charged the fee. 

But wait, there’s more… Portland Park & Recreation will be running nine weeks of our Summer Nature Day Camps too, beginning June 21.

These camps are for children age 5-12 and take place at six different parks throughout the city. (We schedule camps at two parks each week, rotating through Mt Tabor Park, Powell Butte, Pier Park, Hoyt Arboretum, Whitaker Ponds Natural Area, and Sellwood Park/Oaks Bottom.)

Camps will be run using COVID-19 safety guidelines for Emergency Child Care put out by Oregon’s Early Learning Division.

All information can be found here: https://www.portland.gov/parks/environmental-education/nature-day-camp

Contact: Chrissy Larson
Environmental Education Coordinator, Early Childhood/Youth
chrissy.larson@portlandor.gov
503-823-1149

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