Lyman Woods, 901 31st Street, Downers Grove

Kids can spend their summer outside at Lyman Woods as they join us for adventure and discover nature! Led by our team of naturalists, counselors, and volunteers, children will spend time outdoor playing, exploring and making new friends. Each week is an exciting new adventure with new games, crafts, experiments and explorations. Sign up for the weeks that spark your child's interest, or choose all for a fun-filled summer! Please note that we offer half-day camps only and you will not be able to register for both AM and PM sessions in the same week. Full-day camps are not available at Lyman Woods. Camp fee includes a tie dyed clothing item. Children are responsible for bringing their own mid-camp snack. Need before or after care? Check out Before Care and After Care at Lyman Woods! No camp on Monday, July 4.

  • Registration is currently open! Registration deadline is the Wednesday prior to a camp session week or until the camp fills to the maximum number of participants.

friend request form

2022 Nature Summer Camp Parent manual

2022 Nature Summer Camp Parent Manual

Participant Information/Emergency forms

  • Information/emergency forms for each camper must be completed no later than the Wednesday prior to each camp session through our new ePACT system.
  • Within 1 week of your camp registration, you should receive an email from ePACT to set up an online account and complete your camper's electronic information/emergency forms.
  • If you camper is enrolled in a program that is currently using the ePACT system, you only need to update your child's information if something has changed.
  • Your camper will not be allowed to attend camp until the information/emergency forms are completed.

What to bring to camp each day

  • Backpack
  • Change of clothes
  • 1 snack (Teen Wilderness Explorers campers will need 2 snacks)
  • Teen Wilderness Explorers camp only - will need a lunch
  • Filled re-fillable water bottle
  • Sunscreen (arrive already applied - sunscreen is for re-applying)
  • Insect Repellant (arrive already applied)
  • For Lyman Woods camps, we strongly recommend wearing or bringing a hat

What to wear to camp each day

  • Comfortable clothing that can get messy/wet/muddy
  • Closed toed shoes/boots with socks
  • Sunscreen


Cancellation/refund requests must be made at least 5 days prior to the start of a camp session in order to qualify for a full refund. Any requests received less than 5 days prior to the start of a camp session will only be approved if accompanied by a doctor's note due to a medical reason. Self-cancellation prior to the deadline can be done online through your account or you can visit to complete a refund request form. No refunds will be given for missed camp days unless cancelled by the park district.

2022 nature camp themes



CLUE - FINDERS: June 13-17

Scout out an adventure! Can you solve the riddle and find the hidden treasure? Discover and decipher new clues and secret messages each day that will lead you on a journey through the woods, wetlands and prairies at Lyman Woods in search of wild fun!


Do you have what it takes to survive in the wilderness? This week we'll learn all about building forts, making fires and discovering all the cool stuff that you can do out in the wild on your own! Make sure to bring good hiking shoes for this one, because we'll probably be out all day!

REPTILEMANIA: June 27-July 1

Kick off your summer learning all about snakes, lizards, alligators and turtles! Each day will feature a new animal! We'll go on adventures, make crafts, play games and say 'hi' to our resident reptiles. You might even get to touch them!


Do you like making things explode? What about touching slimy things? Come to Lyman Woods and learn all about the grossest creatures that nature has to offer and how to make your very own sticky messy experiments.

WATER WARS: July 11-15

Water is used for so many amazing things, this week you'll learn how to make a water wheel, how to test water for safety, and of course how far you can throw a water balloon!

PAWS & CLAWS: July 18-22

Coyotes, muskrats and deer, oh my! Discover the furry animals that call Lyman Woods home. Learn what makes a mammal unique by examining furs, skills, and other biofacts. Follow animal tracks, and learn how to identify critters by their scat!


Do you know how many legs an insect has? Or how many eyes? Let's go on a bug hunt and find out! We are going to answer those questions and many more this week at Lyman Woods.


Did you know some critters make mud their home? Are you one of them? If you enjoy getting your hands dirty, then this is the week for you! Come join us in using mud to make art, build mini homes and play some marvelous muddy games!

THE BIG DIG!: Aug. 8-12

How do people dig up bones? What else do they find buried under the soil? Come find out this week at Lyman Woods. Put on your Archeologist hat, learn new skills and amazing facts about dinosaurs and other underground creatures from past and present.


Welcome to Animal Olympics! This week we are going to learn how wild animals perform many amazing physical feats and how you can too. Try different feats of animal inspired agility, precision and strength! We'll have opening and closing ceremonies as well as fun medals and prizes to award!

Wild Child NaturePlay

June 6 to Aug. 18 | Ages 2-4

Bring out your child's wild side and meet new friends during our parent-toddler camp! Our naturalists will lead as you experience the best of nature with your child(ren) through outdoor discovery stations, exploratory play and art projects that develop motor skills and the body's senses. Each week will feature new themes and activities so sign up for all six weeks! Monday/Wednesday/Friday Camp and the Tuesday/Thursday Camp will share similar themes and activities. Dress for the weather and to get messy! An adult must accompany their child(ren) during the camp. No camp on Monday, July 4.


Teen Wilderness Explorers

June 13 to Aug. 19 | Entering Grades 6-8

Are you an outdoorsy person? Do you want to spend your summer exploring amazing natural spaces in the Chicago region and learn a thing or two about giving back to the environment? If so, then join our Teen Wilderness Explorers, where you will voyage and volunteer! Two days a week we will explore the wild areas around our base camp at Gilbert Park/Maple Grove Forest Preserve, two days we will explore Lyman Woods and practice ecological restoration; one day a week we will go on a fun field trip to a natural area in the Chicago region! Drop off and pick up will occur at either Gilbert Park or Lyman Woods. Participants may be transported to and from Lyman Woods, Gilbert Park, or a larger wilderness area for Wednesday's field trip by Lyman Woods staff. Camp fee includes a tie dyed clothing item. Participants are responsible for bringing their own lunch and two mid-camp snacks. No camp on Monday, July 4. Weekly prices vary depending on field trip and field trip activities.


Lyman Woods Before & After Care

June 13 to Aug. 19 | Ages 4-13

Do you need some extra care before your AM camp or after your PM camp? Sign up for Lyman Woods extended hours. Please note that children will only be allowed to participate in the extended hours right before or after the camp that they are signed up for.

  • Before Care: 8:00-9:00am
  • After Care: 4:00-6:00pm


Nature Summer Camp Volunteers

Love being outdoors? Need volunteer hours or looking to build your resume? Join our team!

Over the Summer, Lyman Woods is host to a variety of nature-themed day camps for ages 4-14. Lyman Woods Summer Camp Volunteers gain valuable experience working with children in an adventurous, outdoor setting while meeting and working with other volunteers. Volunteers help the camp instructors and camps from assisting with crafts and games to set up and clean up to being a buddy to shy campers.

We prefer volunteers that are available for two or more weeks of camp, but no matter how many weeks you choose, you must commit to the entirety of that week. Morning (9am - 12pm), Afternoon (1 - 4pm) or full day (9am - 4pm) shifts available.

Volunteers should be able to arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of camp and stay for 15 minutes after camp. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and able to attend a volunteer training session in early June (date and time TBD). Volunteers 18 years old and older must complete a Criminal Background Check.

If you are interested in applying, please complete the Volunteer Waiver and Nature Summer Camp Volunteer Application below and return them to Lyman Woods (901 31st Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515) or

Volunteer Waiver

Nature summer camp volunteer application