The Tadpoles Club is one of the longest running and most popular nature programs at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, geared towards three-and four-year olds ready to discover the world of nature. Afternoon sessions of this free, interactive program are still available, which will be held Wednesdays, Jan. 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the park’s Nature Center, located at 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 281-446-8588.
Designed to pique children’s innate curiosity, the program features songs, puppets, finger plays, touch-and-feel exhibits, walks in the park, crafts and stories that nurture a love for the outdoors and encourage lifelong nature adventures.
“Children can turn on a television or computer and learn all about animals and plants from around the world, yet never discover what’s in their own backyards,” says Monte Parks, naturalist and one of several Tadpoles instructors at the park. “Kids use their senses by touching animals and feeling displays with their own hands, seeing things in nature, smelling plants and flowers, and hearing the various sounds of nature.
We teach them that everything has a place in this world, from the smallest insect or wildflower to the largest animal or tree,” Parks concludes.
Children will have the chance to explore the “Faces of the Forest Trail” to learn about plants and animals in their own habitats. On tyke hikes, children may come across birds, deer, insects, spiders, snakes, rabbits and plants.
Since the program’s inception, staff naturalists and Tadpoles assistants have developed more than 50 lessons taught to more than 1,000 children over the years. Kaylen Fry, volunteer coordinator at Jones Park, participated with her child in the first year of the program from 1985-86.
“Eventually all three children went through as Tadpoles, but I never left! I stayed on as a volunteer assistant and now the volunteer coordinator,” she says. “My first grandchild will be eligible to participate soon. It’s just like the circle of life that we teach here at the park.”
Tadpoles Club next will be offered on Wednesdays, March 4, 18 and 25, with reservations beginning Feb. 4.
With leadership from Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is a Harris County Precinct 4 facility located at 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. All programs are free of charge and open to the public. Harris County Precinct 4 programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, sex, religion, national origin, or physical ability. Jesse Jones Park Volunteers (JJPV) welcomes applications from interested participants.For more information about the park or any of the activities and programs offered, please call 281-446-8588 or visit the Jones Park website at www.hcp4.net/jones