The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority

Tiffin Nature Program

Step into the world of the Tiffin Nature Program!

Children playing with cars on wood
Children looking at footprints in snow with educator Tiffin Nature Program
Child climbing a tree Tiffin Nature Program

Tiffin Nature Program welcomes children aged 2.5 – 6 to spend meaningful time in nature to connect with the land and the animals who live there. Every day is a journey fueled by children’s curiosity and interests. It is a program where children hone their decision-making abilities through hands-on activities, exciting challenges and risky play. Through adventures, they learn how to consider risk and solve different challenges, empowering them to navigate the world with resilience and optimism.

Our educators serve as mentors, nurture compassion, and spark joy and wonder at every turn. With their guidance, children learn new skills, build confidence and develop a sense of accomplishment.

Children can attend Tiffin Nature Programming once a week, on a half day/whole day basis. Families are welcome to try out the program depending on availability. Parents and guardians are welcome to stay. 

Session Dates

Half day program – Tuesdays Season
September 5, 2023 – November 28, 2023 Fall
December 5, 2023 – March 5, 2024
March 19, 2024 – June 4, 2024 Spring
Full day program – Thursdays Season
September 7, 2023 – November 30, 2023 Fall
December 7, 2023 – March 7, 2024
March 21, 2024 – June 6, 2024 Spring

Pricing and Hours

Pricing Hours
Half Day
$280.85 / child / 12 week session
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Full Day
$540​.00 / child / 12 week session
9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Trial Half Day
$24.00 / child
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Trial Full Day
$45.00 / child
9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


Tiffin Nature Program will be closed on

  • Tuesday, October 31, 2023
  • Thursday, November 2, 2023
  • Tuesday, December 25, 2023
  • Thursday, December 28, 2023
  • Tuesday, January 2, 2024
  • Thursday, January 4, 2024


Sign Up for the Tiffin Nature Program! Join us for our exciting 12-week program! Children participate once a week, and we currently have two sessions open for registration.

To register, please visit our registration page. After registering, you can view your order history and receipt by signing in to your Camp Tiffin Account. Simply navigate to “Account” and then “Order History.” If you’d like to email yourself a receipt, just click “Email.”

Please register through a computer

Please note that registration is only available on desktop or laptop computers using Google Chrome with pop-ups enabled. Mobile registration is not available at this time.

Encountering issues? Reach out to us at, and we’ll be happy to assist you with the registration and payment process.

Join Our Waiting List! To be added to our waiting list, simply send us an email at We’ll notify you as soon as spaces become available, operating on a first-come, first-served basis.

A Day at the Tiffin Nature Program

Each morning, we gather at our cozy cabin in the woods where the children engage in free, outdoor play and discovery. Once everyone has arrived we come together for opening circle, snack, and a story. This routine provides predictability and security that helps children feel secure and in control of their surroundings. When they know what to expect, they are more likely to feel comfortable trying new things and taking on challenges.

Educator reading story to children Tiffin Nature Program

Together, we decide on our morning adventure with the help of our “Hundred Acre Wood” style floor map of the surrounding forests, trails, and ponds. Understanding the map and actively participating in planning their adventures enhances children’s spatial skills and fosters confidence and agency in decision-making. It also cultivates a sense of place and belonging and a deeper connection to their environment.

Educator and children looking at map Tiffin Nature Program

Following our adventure we pause to fill our bellies, read another story and extend our adventures, deepen learning, and often work together on small projects. Some examples include: 

  • Scavenger hunts & adventures
  • Seasonal celebrations & campfire cooking
  • Play games, loose parts, build imaginary worlds
  • Storytelling, drama, singing, dancing
  • Sit Spots , mindfulness, gratitude
  • Appreciation of Indigenous teachings
  • Practice conflict resolution skills
  • Age-appropriate adventurous play
  • Wildlife tracking
  • Fire knowledge/safety
  • Construction & repair
  • Sewing
  • Map reading
  • Plant and animal identification
  • Using tools like hammers, screwdrivers, drill, sandpaper. No knives or other sharp tools will be used. 

We bring our day to a close back in our circle, sharing our gratitude, and reflecting on the day’s adventures.

Children pouring water on snowy ramp Tiffin Nature Program
Girl climbing on log in the snow
Children learning how to use tools Tiffin Nature Program

Why the Tiffin Nature Program

At the Tiffin Nature Program, children venture into a world of wonder and possibilities. As they explore and learn, they’re encouraged to establish enduring bonds with the natural surroundings, empathetic educators, their peers, and most importantly, with themselves. The focus is on nurturing meaningful relationships for a holistic learning experience. Our philosophy centers on the following:

Tiffin Nature Program is part of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority’s Environmental Education Program. For decades, NVCA has been fostering a sense of wonder, appreciation and respect the natural world through experiential learning and outdoor exploration. The Tiffin Centre for Conservation is the perfect home for the Tiffin Nature Program, as there are forests, ponds, wetlands and meadows for children to explore.


We are located at the
Tiffin Centre for Conservation

Just 15 minutes from Barrie, Angus and Innisfil

Pick Up / Drop Off

Drop-off and pick-up will take place at the Forest Cabin. Our educator will be there to welcome your child, assist with sign-in and support their transition for the fun day ahead.

Pick up will be in the same location, and we kindly ask that you check in with us so that we can ensure the whereabouts of all children.

Food, snacks and naps

At Tiffin Nature Program, we guide children in listening to their bodies’ cues, encouraging them to eat when hungry and drink when thirsty. During the summer, we ensure hydration with frequent water breaks. No matter the season, children have the chance to snack, sip, and unwind during story time sessions held at least twice daily. Our outdoor spaces feature hammocks, mini yoga mats, and ample relaxation spots. Indoors, the Whispering Fo-REST corner offers a cozy retreat complete with blankets, pillows, and a tent nestled among the books.

Food is not provided at the Tiffin Nature Program except for special occasions. Children are encouraged to bring healthy snacks that are peanut-free. Water bottles can be refilled at throughout the day.

What to Bring

  • Appropriate clothing—suitable for outdoor activity & weather conditions
  • Extra clothing
  • Closed-toe shoes — a MUST!
  • Indoor shoes
  • Long pants and socks
  • Lunch—nut free along with a freezer pack
  • Healthy snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen with camper name on it
  • Insect repellent with camper name on it
  • Rain gear, rubber boots and extra clothing can be safely stored in the forest cabin for the session.

Label All Items

To assist us in ensuring all your child’s belongings make it home safely, please label all personal items with their names.

Leave valuables at home

We kindly advise leaving valuables at home. While exploring the woods, items have a tendency to slip out of pockets and become misplaced. Should children choose to bring valuables, please note that we cannot take responsibility for them.

We also request that personal toys (other than for comfort) stay at home as they tend to impact how children interact with one another and the natural environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the program structured?

There will be at least two educators running each program with as many as 14 children. All staff have completed their Vulnerable Sector Check and CPR Level C with First Aid. 


At times we may have a volunteer and/or a high school co-op student helping with the program. Volunteers and co-op students do not work unsupervised and volunteers over the age of 18 have also completed their Vulnerable Sector Check.


Children will not be further organized by age within the group as children will be at different developmental levels and we would like them to feel comfortable with the activities they chose. As we will be running the program with 2 educators working together, at times we can be in close proximity with two activities. That way, students at a different level or risk threshold will have ample choice.


We are a strength-based program, in that, we highlight what we all do well. Focusing on deficits only focuses on the negative, and our nature program focuses on the positive. So, if children have challenges, we will focus on what they do well, which will help them develop a positive attitude about themselves,

What is risky play?

We recognize that there is immense value in play that is exciting and challenging, which allows children to grow their skill sets and see themselves as capable people. There can be minor injuries with such play, however it is through these opportunities that children learn how to regulate themselves, assess risk, and learn their limitations.

Risky activities will be introduced gradually, by trained staff, when the time is appropriate. These activities will be supervised closely and can include slack lines, small zip-line, climbing trees, making fire with flint and steel, and working with wood.

Tools for working with wood can include: potato peelers, loppers, small hacksaws, bow saws and sheath knives. All tools will be kept in a safe location and returned after their use.

What are the educator to child ratios?

Throughout the school day, particularly during activities like risky play, forest exploration, and tool use, the ratios are as follows:

  • Preschool-aged children to staff: 5:1
  • Kindergarten and School-aged children to staff: 8:1

Reduced ratios may apply during arrival, departure, indoor periods, and recess but will not fall below two-thirds of the required ratio, except during lunchtime when one supervisor is present. These adjustments align with Ontario Ministry of Education recommendations.

What is the Free Play Forest, or The Hive?

The Hive is a favorite place for our youngest visitors as they can freely explore the wonders of the forest.


Defined by a cedar rail fence, The Hive offers a contained space for free play in nature. As a build-it-yourself loose parts playground, students transform The Hive using child-size rails, logs and planks. It is a place for imagination, exploration and problem solving through open-ended play.

What foods should my child bring?

We do not provide food or drinks for programs and due to the potential for a life-threatening situation, we ask that snacks and lunches do not include nuts. We also ask that participants not share or trade food. 

Does my child need to be toilet trained?

While accidents can happen, we expect that the children enrolled in this program have already been toilet trained. There are 2 outdoor washrooms available, which are automated, heated and with running water. 

Refunds and Cancellation

Payments are subject to a 25% non-refundable registration fee, which will be retained on all cancellations made up to 2 weeks prior to the start of camp.

No refund will be given on cancellations made with less than 2 weeks’ notice. 

Scroll to Top