Childrens' Forest of Central Oregon

Children’s Forest Nature Clubs

Children’s Forest Nature Clubs provide a fun afterschool program with games, hands-on activities, art projects, and social connection. The clubs will meet weekly at parks or schools with staff from the Children’s Forest of Central Oregon and our partners. Participants will learn about nature, explore the park, and enjoy time outside.

Spring Programs

In partnership with The Environmental Center
April 22 – May 27
2:30-4:30 PM
Juniper Elementary, Bend
$22.50 for 6-week session** (includes snacks)
Grades K-5

In partnership with Upper Deschutes Watershed Council
April 28 – May 19
12:30-2:30 PM
Cascade Middle School, Bend
Grades 7-8

**Registration fee can be waived due to financial hardship. Enter coupon code WAIVE at checkout.

Programs will be limited to a stable cohort of no more than 20 children and follow health and safety guidelines from Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority. Advance registration is required.

Register at

Questions? Email

COVID-19 Protocols

Read the Children’s Forest’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan for In-Person Programs here. A summary of protocols are below:

  • Face coverings are required for adult leaders, and for children when they are within 6 feet of each other
  • Parents and caregivers are required to wear face coverings at drop-off and pick-up
  • No contact sign-in process
  • Daily temperature check for children
  • Daily health questionnaire (in person or via text, if not present at drop-off)
  • Recordkeeping of participants, parent or caregivers who are dropping off/picking up, and documentation of health checks for each day of the program
  • Activities will be designed to maximize social distancing, but it is likely that 6 feet will not be maintained at all times 
  • Limited sharing of supplies and equipment.  If sharing occurs, all participants will use hand sanitizer before and after.
  • Participants may use play equipment.  Hand sanitizer will be used before and after.
  • Follow Oregon Department of Education Exclusion Summary for Child Care if symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 occurs in children or adults.

It feels as if we just said farewell to 2020 and celebrated the beginning of the new year, yet spring break is around the corner. Without anything planned, the long days of spring break can drag on for children. Give them an opportunity to explore the magic of the natural world every day of the week.

A few benefits of spring break camps include:

Getting the opportunity to try new things. Kids may discover new hobbies and passions at spring break camps. They may also learn more about themselves and gain new skills.

Reducing time spent in front of screens. When kids are free to roam the house with nothing to do, they often resort to television or video games. Spring break camps encourage physical activity and creativity.

Meeting new friends and socializing. Kids from all different schools and counties meet at spring break camps. It is healthy and beneficial for kids to expand their circle of friends and practice social skills.

Relieving parents/caretakers of stress. Signing up for a spring break camp will let you carry on with your work/daily routine rest assured that your kids are in a safe and fun environment.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, camps are limited but there’s still room. Be sure to talk to each organization about the measures they are taking to keep adults and children safe and healthy.

Here’s a list of what’s still available for spring break, March 22-26.

Campfire Central Oregon: Pack your Passport

Sons of Norway, 549 NW Harmon Blvd., Bend

Grades K-5

 Click here to learn more.

High Desert Museum: Kids Camp Spring Break

K and 1st grade – sold out

2nd and 3rd grade – “Trash to Treasures”

4th and 5th grade – “Natural Design”

Click here to learn more.

Wildheart Nature School

Outdoor adventure themes change daily

Ages 6-12, Juniper Jungle Learning Farm and Phoenix Farm

Click here to learn more.

Children’s Books with Latinx Characters to Inspire Your Next Outdoor Adventure

By Jacqueline, Children’s Forest Program Assistant

What happens when a town comes together to build a park for the community? Curious about what you need for a fun backyard adventure? Do you have a friend or relative that has shared a special place outdoors with you? Or their favorite outdoor activity?  Can you relate to parents or grandparents sharing stories about their life experiences and greatest dreams during an adventure in nature? Below is a list of children’s books discussing all of these topics and much more all while taking place in nature. The main characters and supporting characters are Latinx; a variety of Latinx cultures are highlighted through these children’s books. Many of the books are by Latinx authors and illustrators. All of these titles are available at our tri-county area libraries with specific locations listed for each one. A few of the titles can be checked out via e-book on the Deschutes Public Library website. For more information and Latinx book lists check out Librarian Carly’s lists or Colorín Colorado’s website.  We hope these books inspire you and your family to get outside – in your yard, a neighborhood park, in the forest or high desert.

Book List

Bend Park & Rec Operation Recreation “Team Up”

The Bend Park and Recreation District, in partnership with Bend-La Pine Schools, will offer a limited space all-day childcare program at Bend elementary schools to support working families during the Comprehensive Distance Learning period that will begin the 2020-21 school year.

All day program details Dates: September 16-October 23 Additional sessions will be added if distance learning is extended by Bend-La Pine Schools.
Time: 7:45AM-4:30PM
Location:  All Bend elementary schools except for Amity and Westside Village. Children will be assigned to their home school whenever possible.
Cost: $200 per week (due bi-weekly), no application fee, financial assistance available for qualifying families
Ages: 1st-5th grades

The first round of applications have been processed. Applications will continue to be accepted while some spots remain available.

To register and for frequently asked questions visit

COVID-19 Protocols

The health and safety of participants is our highest priority. We will have procedures and protocols in place that meet all COVID-related childcare and Oregon Health Authority guidelines.  These include the following. Additional details and instructions will be provided to families before the start of the program.

  • Stable group size will be limited to no more than 20 participants. The purpose of stable groups is to limit the potential spread of the virus should there be an exposure.
  • Stable groups will have separate spaces and remain physically separate throughout the day.
  • Staff ratio will normally be 1 staff to 10 or fewer participants and never more than 1 staff to 15 participants.
  • Daily health screening will take place at check in.
  • Physical distancing will be encouraged as much as possible. 
  • Face covering will be required for all staff and participants.
  • Frequent hand washing, sanitization, and hygiene will be expected.

Wildheart Homeschool Classes

Our Homeschool Programs consist of outings that provide adventure and rich learning opportunities for children ages 6 – 12. The program is open to all families, even if you do not Homeschool. Each class has a unique and fun theme such as “Primitive Skills” and “Local Animals.” We facilitate a variety of activities such as nature arts and crafts, attuning to the wild, tracking, primitive skills, survival skills, nature songs, and much more! Along with the in person classes, we also give parents tools for continuing the learning at home through follow-up exercises and resources.

Tuesday Nature’s Rhythm Club Dates: September 22-December 1 Tuesdays (10 week session) Time: 9:30AM – 3:30PM
Location: Tumalo State Park, Tumalo Ranch, Juniper Jungle Learning Farm, and Phoenix Farm
Cost: $627
Ages: girls 7-11

Wednesday Primitive Arts Club Dates: September 23-December 2 Wednesdays (10 week session) Time: 9:30AM – 3:30PM
Location: Tumalo State Park, Tumalo Ranch, Juniper Jungle Learning Farm, and Phoenix Farm
Cost: $627
Ages: 9 – 12

Register at

Questions? Email Wildheart Nature School at

COVID-19 Protocols

Read Wildheart Nature School’s COVID-19 Communicable Disease Management Plan here.

Forest Explorer Outdoor Days

The Environmental Center is adapting their Forest Explorer field trips into an enrichment program on Wednesdays.

What: Outdoor School Days provide students with an understanding of the systems in nature that make life possible. Students connect with the natural world through hands-on experience. $40 per child, $70 for siblings. Scholarships available!
Who: K-5th grade students
Where: Drop-off and pick-up at Skyliner Lodge – 16125 Skyliners Rd, Bend
When: September 16th-October 28th, every Wednesday from 10am-4pm

Apply for Outdoor Days here.

After-school EarthSmart

The Environmental Center is adapting their popular EarthSmart school program into an afterschool option.

What: Our EarthSmart Education program, in partnership with Deschutes County Solid Waste, is a series where students discover their impact on the environment through daily choices at home and school. This is a free program with a $25 registration fee, which can be waived upon request.
Who: 4th & 5th grade students
Where: Drop-off and pick-up at The Environmental Center – 16 NW Kansas Ave, Bend
When: Six-week sessions; either Mondays/Tuesdays or Thursdays/Fridays from 2-5pm each day

Apply for the EarthSmart program here.

Camp CREATE stands for Creatively Redefining Education through Adventurous Teachable Experiences, this is the foundation for how we build and facilitate our eight-week summer camp programs. Each camp theme is based in one of the following experiential learning modalities: Robotics, STEAM, Nature or Arts/Music. Join Cascade Academy’s Camp CREATE!

Ages: entering Kindergarten – 5th grade
Dates: Camps with availability from July 6 – July 24th. Camps run Monday – Friday with full day option from 9AM – 4PM and half day option from 9AM – 1PM.
Cost: $299 full day, $199 half day
Location: Cascade Academy

Register at

Plants are growing strong and providing us with food and shade. Animals are prowling dusk and dawn. The waters beckon us to jump in head first and find relief from the sun’s heat. Everything in our body seems to be telling us, “Get outside!” Our camps give kids an opportunity to do just that…and so much more! We cover everything from primitive skills to nature art in a multitude of theme-based camps. We hope you enjoy our brand new summer camp week, “Unicorn Whisperers!” Leave the homework at the house, these camps are for pure fun, games, and crafts. Children will be having such a great time that they may not even realize how much they are learning, which is just fine for a summer immersion at Wildheart Nature School!

Ages: 6 – 12 years
Dates: June 22 – August 21. See Wildheart website for currently openings
Cost: $227 for camps from 9AM – 1PM, $317 for camps from 9AM – 3:30PM
Location: different for each camp, see website for specifics

Register at

Designed for working families, SummerKids weekly camps give your child a place to feel creative, secure and empowered. With great indoor and outdoor spaces, SummerKids offers theme-based camps for young people, Kindergarten through 6th Grade, all summer long.

Ages: Grades Kindergarten – 6
Dates: June 22 – August 21
Cost: $215 for Kindergarten, $190 for 1st – 6th
Location: Ponderosa Elementary School

Register at