Park Play

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73When you live the city life, where dwindling green space is something you often have to drive to, getting your little ones a regular dose of nature isn’t always easy. Then you meet someone like Queen Anne mom Jennifer Kakutani, who changes everything. The founder of Itty Bitty Camps, Kakutani runs a weekly program in Discovery Park that shows children the wonders of the outdoors.

In a six week session (held on either Mondays or Fridays) for an hour and a half, she leads a group of parents and kids ages 12 months to 4 years through hikes and exploration of four habitats: pond, beach, meadow and forest. She incorporates songs, an art project and games while heading a hike through the day’s habitat destination. If you see a worm or an interesting bug in the meadow, there’s a good chance Kakutani will stop to examine it and maybe sing a song about it. Or, she might suggest a game of hide and seek to show the meadow’s intrinsic playfulness.

Each session is $175 for parent/child; grandparents, nannies and caregivers are welcome. Kakutani used to work as a naturalist at Discovery Park, so she knows its every nook and cranny. She understands that parents have good intentions about connecting their kids to nature, but that it’s easier said than done. Says Kakutani: “Having a weekly appointment with nature makes it happen.”

Itty Bitty Camps
Upcoming sessions:
Fridays: Feb. 27 to April 3; (sold out); April 24 to May 29; June 5 to July 10
Mondays: March 2 to April 6; April 20 to May 18