Humber Arboretum day camps are based out of the Centre for Urban Ecology, but campers will spend most of their time outdoors where they will make their own discoveries in the forest, river, meadows, wetlands, gardens, and ponds of the Humber Arboretum. Active and engaging, our nature camps are designed for ages 4-12 and take place within the northwest part of the City of Toronto.
Forest exploration, pond dipping, ecology games, swimming, natural mindfulness and so much more. Camp runs weekly through July and August.
This summer, give your child the opportunity to develop a lasting appreciation for the natural environment. The Humber Arboretum's summer nature camp is based out of the Centre for Urban Ecology, our environmentally-friendly building located on the Arboretum grounds.
Camp is an outdoors, hands-on experience geared to ages 4* to 12**.
Weekly activities include:
Every week is made unique with the addition of theme-specific activities. Scroll down for full information on weekly themes and activities for 2019.
*New this year: Humber Arboretum Nature Camp is now accepting four-year-olds as part of our new Beaver Camp program exclusively for ages 4-5. This small group of younger campers will explore the same weekly theme as other campers but through activities tailored to their age and run by dedicated Beaver Camp counsellors.
**Some weeks, twelve-year olds have the option to sign up for regular Nature Camp or for Jr. Naturalist Camp for 12- & 13-year olds, based on their interests. Visit the Jr. Naturalist Camp page for details.
Every week at Humber Arboretum Nature Camps will include nature walks, natural mindfulness/yoga, art & ecology, all-ages games, and swimming. Weekly themes inspire other activities (click on a photo to play videos from last summer):
Tuesday* July 2 - Friday July 5, 2019
This week campers will be going on some amazing adventures at the Humber Arboretum to learn the true value of urban greenspaces! The Humber Arboretum has some incredible ecosystems for your kids to explore including the Humber River, constructed wetlands, a shrub land meadow, and our forest, designated as one of the City of Toronto’s 86 Environmentally Significant Areas (ESA’s)! Campers will get to discover and explore each of these fascinating habitats through a variety of hands on activities in hopes of catching a glimpse of some of our most interesting plant and animal neighbours!
(*This is a four-day camp as we are closed for the Monday of the Canada Day long weekend.)
Monday July 8 - Friday July 12, 2019
This week campers will have a chance to discover the life that exists within the ponds, river and wetlands of the Humber Arboretum! They will learn about what a watershed is and find out why the Humber River watershed is so important to the Toronto region’s biodiversity.
Monday July 15 - Friday July 19, 2019
This week of camp will have our campers learning about the importance of nature in their lives and why it is essential to protect nature not only for ourselves but for the diversity of life that depends on it for survival and for future generations as well! Through interactive games and activities campers will expand their knowledge in areas of health and wellness, recycling, ecological stewardship, and energy and water conservation to help them understand how our actions affect the health of the planet and show them ways that we can help make a positive impact at home and in our communities.
Monday July 22 - Friday July 26, 2019
This week campers will explore the beautiful and mysterious process of pollination! Pollinators such as butterflies and bees are key to our food supply, and affect our lives in many important ways. Campers will learn about different types of pollinators, their relationships with trees and plants, and why we need to protect native species of plants to help pollinators thrive.
Monday July 29 - Friday August 2, 2019
During this week of camp we will explore the wildlife that lives within the city of Toronto and discover what the City is doing to ensure wildlife has a home now and for generations to come. Focusing on animal adaptations we will look at the needs and characteristics of the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects to figure what makes urban wildlife unique and what we can do to enhance wildlife habitat at our homes and in our communities.
Tuesday* August 6 - Friday August 9, 2019
This week campers will explore the art of survival! Food, shelter, water, and way-finding – this week is all about the basics of wilderness survival. Campers will use clues in nature to help determine direction and be introduced to basic edible and medicinal plants. We’ll look at the importance of water for survival and learn tips such as how to build a below-ground water capture still.
(*This is a four-day camp as we are closed on the Monday for the Civic Holiday.)
Monday August 12 - Friday August 16, 2019
This week campers will explore the Arboretum through play and competition! This active week is full of fun games that build teamwork and various outdoor skills. Campers divide into different Animal Countries so they can face off and cheer each other on. Join us this week and find out which Animal Country you’ll be playing for. Will it be Ant Arctica? Owlstralia? Or maybe Beavaria!
Monday August 19 - Friday August 23, 2019
This week is all about getting down and dirty with nature by exploring roots and the soils they call home! Soils are fascinating and are the cornerstone of any ecosystem as they provide the minerals and nutrients that help our plants and fungus thrive. This week campers will dig deep to look at different root structures of plants and will be introduced to the wonderful world of fungus and its amazing relationship with soil and plants. Campers will discover that “dirt is good” not only for their health but for the health of all the animals and plants that live in the Arboretum.
Monday August 26 - Friday August 30, 2019
Gardening has a long history of creating beauty and public gardens like the Humber Arboretum can feel like living a canvas where horticulturalists are the artist. Now there’s a growing trend among professionals and home gardeners alike to incorporate an ecological focus as well, showcasing how gardens can not only be pleasing to the eye but can also serve a very important role in helping support wildlife and pollinators in the city. This week we hope to plant a seed that will help our campers grow a lifelong love for the art of gardening.
Cost & Policies
Early Bird Pricing - register by March 31st for 10% off the regular camp fee!
Summer Nature Day Camps operate on a one-week basis, Monday to Friday from 9:00am until 4:00pm. Before care (from 8am) and aftercare (until 5:30pm) is available for an additional fee.
In 2019 the cost of camp is:
(Please note: We are closed for Canada Day on Monday July 1st and the Civic Holiday on Monday August 5th and so the first and sixth weeks of camp are four days only. The price is adjusted as follows: $200 for camp, $36 for before care, $40 for aftercare, $64 for both before and aftercare)
In the registration system, please click on the Beaver Camp option to register a 4- or 5-year old.
If you are registering multiple children in Nature/Beaver Camp OR Jr. Naturalist Camp, a sibling discount will be applied automatically in the system. Unfortunately the system will not be able to apply the discount automatically across different camps; if your family will have children in both Nature/Beaver Camp and in Jr. Naturalist Camp, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org after registering with campers' names and week(s) attending. We will then apply the discount manually and you will receive a refund for the difference, or a discount off future payments if you take advantage of the payment plan.
All withdrawals requested two weeks prior to the start of the camp week will be refunded the full camp fees, minus a $25 administration fee. Any withdrawals requested less than two weeks prior to the start of the camp week will be refunded 50% of all camp fees.
What to Bring
*The Centre for Urban Ecology is a nut-aware facility. Please inform us of any food allergies and do not bring nut products of any kind to camp.
*We wish to reduce the amount of waste that is produced at the Centre an as part of this initiative we promote Litterless Lunches. Please bring only reusable or recyclable containers and utensils. We will ask campers to compost any food waste using our on-site compost bins and take their garbage and anything that can’t be recycled here back home. For tips, see WasteFreeLunches.org.
Humber Arboretum Summer Nature Camp is accredited by the Ontario Camps Association.