Programs for Children

Programs for Children

FAIRY AND GNOME ART - Tuesday, June 20th @ 10am - 12pm - Children ages 4-7 are invited to spend a morning searching for forest “fairies” and “gnomes”!  We’ll put on our honorary fairy wings or gnome hats and go exploring. As we explore the trails of the nature preserve, we’ll learn all about our other little friends who live amongst the forest layers. We’ll do small-themed activities and art using gathered materials from our hike. Each child will create a magical little house to take home. Materials are included in fee.

Fee: $21 | TNS Members: $16
TNS Members: Use Promo Code MEMBER17 for discount.

LITTLE ACORNS - June 30th or August 23rd - Ages 2-4: Join us for this exciting outdoor program designed especially for children ages 2-4.  Each "Little Acorn" will have an opportunity to explore the sights and sounds of nature & wildlife that exists on our 100 acre preserve. Little Acorn activities will take place outside,  in the event of inclement weather we will move the children's activities indoors. Strollers sturdy enough for a wood chipped trail are welcome!



Fee: $5 per child | TNS members: $3 per child
Adult partners are free and must accompany their child throughout the program.
TNS Members: Use Promo Code MEMBER17 for discount pricing.


Each monthly session offers: A nature-related theme designed for children ages 2-4, the session starts with a fun craft followed by activities that reinforce the day's lesson. The group then heads outside for an outdoor trail hike, guided by one of our nature instructors.  Some of the outdoor activities include looking under logs, searching for wildlife and their tracks, exploring our pond and observing how each different parts of nature interact.  Some things children may see along the trails include deer, turkeys, owls, squirrels, birds and insects. Each hike is followed by an indoor nature story and a snack. This program is one of our most popular programs for little nature lovers, registration fills up fast - be sure to register early!

Knee-High Naturalists - JUNE - Baby Animals

In June, Knee-high Naturalists will learn all about "Animal Babies" born on the preserve in early summer. On the outdoor hike, they will search for nests and other evidence of new life. They may even spot some baby deer which can be seen in late Spring and early Summer.


Ages:  2-4 | Fee:  $12 | Members: $9 (adult partner is free)

June Program - Baby Animals  | Thursday, June 22nd @ 10am - 11:30am

June Program - Baby Animals | Friday, June 23rd @ 10am - 11:30am 

Knee-High Naturalists - JULY - Dragons & Damsels

In July, Knee-high Naturalists will learn all about the "dragons and damsels" of the insect world. During the outdoor hike portion of the program, we will search for dragonflies and damselflies as they fly around looking for tasty insects to eat.


Ages:  2-4 | Fee:  $12 | Members: $9 (adult partner is free)

July Program - Dragons & Damsels  | Thursday, July 20th @ 10am - 11:30am

July Program - Dragons & Damsels | Friday, July 21st @ 10am - 11:30am 


In August, Knee-high Naturalists will learn about the "Wild Dogs" in and around Troy, MI. During the outdoor hike portion of the program, we will search for signs of fox and coyote's by looking for their tracks and other indicators.


Ages:  2-4 | Fee:  $12 | Members: $9 (adult partner is free)

August Program - Wild Dogs  | Thursday, August 10th @ 10am - 11:30am

August Program - Wild Dogs | Friday, August 11th @ 10am - 11:30am 

Junior Naturalist Club

boys checking out nets

Pond Dipping at the Stage Nature Center

Junior Naturalists meet the second Saturday of each month from September to July | Ages: 4 to 5th grade | Annual Fee: $165 | Members: $150 (pro-rated monthly)

This award-­winning program is one of the longest running programs at the Stage Nature Center, and is one that is dedicated to teaching children ages 4 through 5th grade all about nature by participating in “hands-on” indoor and outdoor activities.

What Junior Naturalist Parents say about the program:

Family from Troy, MI:  "The interaction with the children is excellent, and our daughter's interest in nature has been sustained over several years of Junior Naturalists. Can't say enough about Debbie & the team."

Family from Rochester, MI: "The Junior Naturalist program provides unique exposure to nature not available elsewhere. Lessons are a great mix of classroom and outdoors and the children really do learn a sensitivity and appreciation for the natural environment."

Each session offers: A unique theme that explores subjects such as the production of maple syrup, animal life cycles, pond life, and so much more. Children are invited to join the club at any time throughout the year.

The annual fee starts at $165 and is pro-rated every month after the September start. The fee includes:

  • All “hands-­on” activities & crafts
  • Patches & naturalist kits
  • Week-long July summer camp
  • Family BBQ in July to celebrate the end of the “Junior Nat’s” season

Junior Naturalist Club 2016-17 Subjects 

Discoverers:  4 year olds  |  Adventurers: K & 1st grade  |  Explorers: 2nd & 3rd grade  | Seekers: 4th and 5th grade

June 10th: Water Wonderland

Discoverers: Who Lives in the Water?

Adventurers: Habitats of the Pond & Stream

Explorers: Plants That Keep Their Toes Wet

Seekers: Where Does the Water Go?

JULY SUMMER CAMP: Vertebrate Week

Explore the characteristics of each of the five groups of animals with backbones. Learn more about the adaptations for survival unique to birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish.