Preschool Naturalists (3-5)

Ages 3 – 5

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Our preschool naturalists program is offered in both half – day and full – day options, and runs all ten weeks of our regular summer camp season. This program utilizes our early – learner room within our lodge and is supervised by knowledgeable staff with prior experience in the care and education of preschool – aged children. Any interested families are encouraged to register early as enrollment space is limited in our preschool program and sessions fill quickly once our registration is open.

Please note: all participants in our preschool program must be fully potty – trained.

Summer 2019 Themes

Session 701: full-day/ Session 801: half-day

Colors of the Wind

July 1st – July 5th

(This camp will run for its normal hours on July 4th, though transportation to and from the lodge on the TCAT bus service will not be available this day.)

Our campers will discover the vibrant rainbow of colors within the forest with many color-themed activities this week.

Session 702: full-day/ Session 802: half-day

A Jurassic Jamboree

July 8th – July 12th

Our preschoolers will have a blast from the past learning all about ancient creatures this week.

Session 703: full-day/ Session 803: half-day

Fantastic Flowers

July 15th – July 19th

Preschoolers will enjoy some fun among native flowers and trees while exploring the kingdom of plants this week.

Session 704: full-day/ Session 804: half-day

Amazing Animals

July 22nd – July 26th

Campers will learn all about the wonders of wildlife through animal-based activities and special visits from our animal ambassadors.

Session 705: full-day/ Session 805: half-day

Fabulous Fungi

July 29th – August 2nd

Our preschool will unearth the fantastic and funky kingdom of fungi through guided walks and unique crafts.

Session 706: full-day/ Session 806: half-day

Powerful Pollinators

August 5th – August 9th

Preschoolers will examine the powerful relationships between plants and their pollinator allies through garden walks and interactive games this week.

Session 707: full-day/ Session 807: half-day

A Forest of Fun

August 12th – August 16th

The preschool will get wild in the woods as they immerse themselves in the forest for fun and games that explore the many layers of life from the soil to the canopy.

Session 708: full-day/ Session 808: half-day

Aquatic Adventures

August 19th – August 24th

(Please note that TCAT bus service from Boynton Middle will not be available this week.)

Preschoolers will get their feet wet as they wade around our stream and ponds seeking out aquatic critters while exploring the water cycle as well.

Session 709: full-day/ Session 809: half-day

Summers Greatest Hits

August 26th – August 30th

(Please note that TCAT bus service from Boynton Middle will not be available this week.)

Similar to the Explorer Camp theme this week, we’ll wind down the summer while enjoying our most favored activities from weeks prior.



Half – Day Program

9am – 12pm

(drop-off as early as 8:30am / pick-up between 12-12:30pm)

Our half-day program is an introductory session for campers who are first experiencing extended time outside of the home. Our integrative and sensory-based programs and activities offer endlessly amusing and positive outdoor experiences as we encourage our early learners to take their first steps into the natural world. Each day will feature a different natural theme and include story time, simple games and crafts, and an outdoor excursion to the forest, stream, our treehouse, or pioneer cabin. This program is great for building early outdoor confidence.

Registration fees (per week): $125 members / $150 non-members

Full – Day Program

9am – 4pm

(drop-off as early as 8:30am / pick-up between 4pm-5pm)

For campers who have not yet completed kindergarten, but are ready to graduate beyond our half-day program, our full-day experience includes an afternoon rest time, and the opportunity to dive deeper into the day’s adventures. Campers will enjoy extra exploratory time outdoors and additional games and sensory crafts to expand upon the days theme for a more detailed look into the outdoors. A great option for your budding biologist!

Registration fees: $250 members / $275 non-members


From our Preschool Parents:

“Our child attend for several weeks. The great counselors and variety of activities, even when it rained a lot, were impressive. He really liked his counselors. Their attentiveness, enthusiasm, and creativity made him excited to go to camp every day. In second place, the visits with the live animals were a big hit.”

I love that I know so many of the employees who’ve been there for a long time. I trust CNC. I also love that my little ones come home understanding and using words related to ecology and other types of science, and really understanding how the natural world works to some degree.

(All testimonials are collected from our 2017 summer camp parent survey, and are used with parent permission.)


Frequently Asked Question : “My camper is 5, and during the school year attended full-day programs. Which camp should he/she attend, the full – day preschool program or the explorer camp program?”

We currently accept 5-year-olds in both our preschool program as well as our explorer camp program, however, there are some key differences in the structure of these programs that may make one program more suitable than the other to your campers individual needs. Currently, our preschool program maintains a staff to camper ratio of 1:6 so our educators can give ample attention to campers who may still rely heavily on adult assistance for their everyday needs. In addition, a rest and quiet time is offered each afternoon and the pace of its programs is considerate of campers still transitioning to a full-day of activity, (frequent bathroom breaks included). In contrast, the explorer program is perhaps better suited to 5-year-olds that are more active and are becoming more independent in managing their daily needs. Our staff to camper ratio in the explorer program is 1:8 and campers in the explorer program also travel off – site to Taughannock Park twice a week for our swim program, where 5-year-olds may enjoy the shallow area of the swim beach under supervision of park lifeguards. The excitement of park visits, in addition to a full schedule of programs without rest time, make explorer camp a great option for energetic campers ready to tackle the full summer camp experience.