Children's Museum of South Dakota

Nature Play


Jump, crawl, climb, build, dig.

Nature Play sparks the imagination by giving children opportunities to explorer natural materials. This area gives children many opportunities to create with nature's best.

Here are some of Nature Play’s unique features:

  • Tunnel Time presents challenges in coordination by moving through the semi-enclosed space. At the same time, it provides a safe experience for risk-taking and adventure.
  • Get a bird’s eye view from The Bird’s Nest. This oversized nest resembles those created by red-winged blackbirds or other birds that build nests close to the ground.

Visit Prairie Play and experience Nature Play often. With frequent visits to the same surroundings such as Nature Play, children begin to see seasonal changes up close; they investigate other living things in nature, and they develop an appreciation for their environment.


Learn more about these topics through the books below.
Many of these books are at the Brookings Public Library.


Orange: Colors in the Natural World, In: Baby Eye Like, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Stripes: Patterns of the Natural World, In: Baby Eye Like, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Black & White: Colors in the Natural World, In: Baby Eye Like, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Scoot!, Cathryn Falweel
Peek-a-Who?, Nina Laden


Te Amo, Sol, te Amo, Luna, Karen Pandell & Tomie dePaola
My Home is the Polar Regions, In: Little Nature Books, Valerie Tracqui
You’re My Little Bunny, Claire Feedman & Gavin Scott
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
Where’s My Teddy?, Jez Alborough
Diary of a Worm, Doreen Cronin & Harry Bliss
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Eric Carle

Ages 3-5

Changes, Marjorie Allen & Shelley Rotner 
Counting Wildflowers, Bruce McMillan
Growing Colors, Bruce McMillan
Monarch Magic!, Lynn Rosenblatt
SeasonsChange in the Natural WorldSee! Learn! Grow!, Eye Like Seasons
My Best NestA Purple Martin Story, Rebecca Dellinger
Our Earth, Anne Rockwell
Around the Pond: Who’s Been Here? Lindsay Barrett George
The Happy Hippopotami, Bill Martin & Betsy, Everitt
Where Does the Sky End, Grandpa?, Martha Alexander  
Wild, Wild Sunflower Child Anna, Nancy White Carlstrom & Jerry Pinkney
The First Snow, David Christiana 
Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here, Jean Craighead George & Loretta Krupinski
North Country Spring, Reeve Lindbergh & Liz Sivertson
What is the Sun?, Reeve Lindbergh & Stephen Lambert 
Giving Thanks, Jonathon London & Gregory Manchess
Cloud Dance, Thomas Locker
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Michael Roxen & Helen Oxenbury
Scarecrow, Cynthia Rylant & Lauren Stringer
White is for Blueberry, George Shannon & Laura Dronzek
You and Me, Little Bear, Martin Waddell & Barbara Firth
Snowflake Bentley, Jacqueline Briggs Martin & Mary Azarian 
Northern Lullaby, Nancy White Carlstrom
Whose Feet are These? Wayne Lynch

Ages 6-8

The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature, Rosamund Kidman Cox
All Year Round, In: Discovering Nature, Sally Hewitt
Earth, In: DK Eye Wonder, Penelope York
Wetlands, In: First Reports, Shirley Gray
Nature, In: Merit Badge Series, no. 33285A  
A Log's Life, Wendy Pfeffer & Robin Brickman
The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: Exploring the Rainforest Canopy, Kathryn Lasky & Christopher G. Knight
Our Natural Homes, Sneed B. Collard III, & James M. Needham
Life, In: A Clearing in a Forest, Sally Morgan
Let's Take a Field Trip to a Cave, In: Neighborhoods in Nature, Kathy Furgang 
The Secret Life of Trees, In: Eyewitness Readers, Chiara Chevallier 
Tell Me, Tree, Gail Gibbons
Sunflowers, In: Nature Close-Ups, Kathleen Pohl
Animal Babies, In: The Nature Company Young Discoveries Library, Claire Craig
Incredible Creatures, In: The Nature Company Young Discoveries Library, Claire Craig
Welcome to the Green House, Jane Yolen & Laura Regan
Welcome to the Ice House, Jane Yolen & Laura Regan
Let's Take a Field Trip to an Ant Colony, In: Neighborhoods in Nature, Kathy Furgang
Let's Take a Field Trip to a Beehive, In: Neighborhoods in Nature, Kathy Furgang
I Wonder What It's Like to be an Ant, In: A Life Science Wonder Book, Erin Hovanec
Things With Wings, In: The Nature Company Young Discoveries Library, Carson Creagh
How to be a Nature Detective, In: Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science. Stage 1, Millicent Ellis Selsam & Marlene Hill Donnelly
Air is All Around You, In: A Let's-Read-and-Find-out Book, Franklyn Mansfield Branley
My First Book of Nature, In: Cartwheel Learning Bookshelf, Dwight Kuhn
Gray Fox, Jonathan London & Rob Sauber
The Eyes of Gray Wolf, Jonathon London & Jon Van Zyle
The Gift of the Willows, Helena Clare Pittman
The Circle of Days, Reeve Lindbergh & Cathie Felstead
Henry & Mudge and the Starry Night, Cynthia Rylant & Sucie Stevenson
Gertie's Green Thumb, Catherine Dexter & Ellen Eagle
Earth Mother, Ellen Jackson & Leo Dillon
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, D.B. Johnson  
Bravo, Brave Beavers! Nannie Kuiper & Jeska Verstegen
My, Oh My-- a Butterfly!, In: Cat in the Hat's Learning Library, Tish Rabe & Aristides Ruiz
A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk, Deborah Ruddell & Joan Rankin
A Lucky Thing, Alice Schertle & Wendell Minor 
Johnny Appleseed, Steven Kellogg

Ages 9-12

Natural Disasters, In: DK Eyewitness Books, Claire Watts  
Drawing from Nature, Jim Arnosky
Weather, In: DK Eyewitness Books, Brian Cosgrove
Fishing, Have Fun, Be Smart, In: Explore the Outdoors, Dane Solomon
The Firefly, In: Nature Close-Ups, Minoru Yajima
Cicada Sing-Song, In: Nature Close-Ups, Densey Clyne
Catch Me if You Can!, In: Nature Close-Ups, Densey Clyne
The Life and Times of the Ant, Charles Micucci
Bats, In: Eyes on Nature, Cella Bland
Watching Nature: A Beginner’s Field Guide, Monica Russo & Kevin Byron
How Nature Works, In: Reader’s Digest Young Families, David Burnie
Fun with Nature: Take-Along Guide, Mel Boring & Diane Burns
Crystal & Gem, In: DK Eyewitness Books, R.F. Symes & R.R. Harding
The Nature and Science of Rocks, In: Exploring the Science of Nature, Jane Burton
Northern Lights, In: Nature in Action, D.M. Souza
Flutter by Butterfly, In: Nature Close-Ups, Densey Clyne
Camouflage Changing to Hide, Bobbie Kalman
Incredible Plants, In: The Nature Company Discoveries Library, Roger Carolin
Sketching Outdoors in Winter, Jim Arnosky 
Sketching Outdoors in Summer, Jim Arnosky
Leonardo da Vinci, In: Giants of Science, Kathleen Krull & Boris Kulikov
Gary Paulsen, In: People to Know, Edith Hope Fine
The Missing Manatee, Cynthia C. DeFelice 
Water Sky, Jean Craighead George
Skunk Scout, Laurence Yep
Backyards & Parks, In: Nature Explorers, Nick Baker