Guide: Early Childhood


Lots to Learn!

Early childhood is a great time to encourage your child’s love of nature.

Children of all ages, including the very youngest, love to see native animals, dig for fossils in the sand pit and more. We also begin offering preschool nature classes as early as age 3. Many studies suggest there are a variety of health benefits to spending time in nature for children. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make time in nature fun for them at the Heard!

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Tips to Help Plan Your Visit

We want to make sure young children learn and have lots of fun at the Heard! These tips to help ensure you have a great visit!

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Follow the Rules

Following the Heard rules, such as staying on our trails, will help you have fun and stay safe at the same time. Be sure to familiarize yourself before your visit. Visit the Heard Rules page for more details.

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Lead By Example

Kids are often interested in knowing more about things we’re interested in. Show them what you enjoy about spending time in nature.

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Questions are Natural

Kids love to ask questions about the natural world. Sometimes, it can be difficult to have all the answers. This provides a great opportunity to search for the answers together. There are a variety of books that have been written about local birds, bugs, plants, animals and more. Some may be available at your local library, online, and we do also offer a selection of guides in our Nature Store. The iNaturalist app can also be helpful in narrowing down identifications so that you can learn more about the item you are studying. You’re also welcome to ask our front desk staff to help you as they are able.

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Plan Ahead

Making a simple list of things they might like to look for can help spark curiosity during your visit. Also, familiarize yourself with the lengths of our trails so that you can make sure that they will be up to the length of your hike. Please feel free to ask our front desk staff to help you figure out which trails may be best for your family. Our trail map is also available online, complete with trail lengths and more details. Snacks and beverages can also be helpful. We have a limited variety of refreshments available in the Nature Store for purchase. Please note that we do ask that these only be consumed at our picnic facilities.

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Take Time to Stop and Reflect

We have a number of benches throughout the sanctuary where we welcome you to stop and take time to take in nature. Ask them about what they hear, see and smell.

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Take Photos

While we ask that guests not collect any items from our nature preserve, photos are a great way for your family to document any fun finds you might discover along our trails.

Recommended Activities for Early Childhood

While most things at Heard at great for all ages to enjoy, here are a few handpicked features that are great for early childhood!