Learn at all three sites with the LITTLE YEARS!

Little Years logoIntroducing the Little Years series, designed for today’s busy families with children ages 2 to 5 and held at all three of our family of attractions. Featuring expertly designed grown-up-and-child experiences at three St. Louis-area sites—the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Butterfly House and the Shaw Nature Reserve—this series places the focus squarely on your child, you and the wonders of nature while preparing your child for preschool and kindergarten. Your child will learn and put into practice skills such as taking turns, listening to the teacher and their friends, sharing, making choices and following routines and class rules. All while providing an opportunity for your child to gain independence and interact with other children.

While distinct in themes and activities, all classes in the Little Years series share common traits such as quality grown-up and child interaction, hands-on creating, active time outdoors and take-home ideas and inspiration to extend learning.

Woman and girl looking at plants
At the Garden
Little Sprouts
Ages 2–3
Father and child in butterfly conservatory
At the Butterfly House
Little Bugs
Ages 2–4
Little boy looking through a magnifier
At the Shaw Nature Reserve
Little Nature Explorers
Ages 3–5


Little Sprouts (ages 2–3)

Girl and mother in making craft Learn about plants and nature with your 2–3 year old during these series. Each session includes indoor, hands-on activities, songs, stories, snacks and a walk in the Garden.

Spring (April–May)    6 week session
Summer (June)    4 week session
Summer (July–Aug.)    4 week session
Fall (Sep.–Oct.)   6 week session
Winter (Nov.–Dec.)    4 week session

Go to online registration

Frequently Asked Questions about Little Sprouts

Little Sprouts logo“As a 35 year veteran teacher I am truly impressed with the content, the teacher’s enthusiasm and ability to keep children involved. Excellent!”

“I enjoyed how everything flowed and each part of the class connected together. Our son really learned and made great memories.”

“As a grandmother, I was very impressed with the teachers, the class content and the information my grandson learned.”

—Little Sprouts Participants


Garden Buds (ages 4–6)

Woman and boy looking at spring bulbs in bloom Discover the amazing world of plants with your preschooler in Garden Buds! Spring means new growth, flowers, rain and wonderful smells in the Garden. Summer is the time to explore butterflies, flowers and yummy vegetables. Fall is when the plants are getting ready for winter by losing leaves and spreading next year's seeds. Join us each season as we explore the ever-changing Garden.

Class Schedule:
Garden Buds Spring and Fall is offered various Thursday mornings and Sunday afternoons, March through May and September through December.

Garden Buds Summer is offered various Thursday and Saturday mornings June–August.

Go to online registration

Frequently Asked Questions about Garden Buds

Garden Buds logo“Excellent—the content was presented enthusiastically and the ideas were clever and interesting for kids.”

“This was our first time attending and it was great. The instructors adapted the schedule to better suit the kids as the program went on. Snacks, activities were great and very well run.”
Garden Buds Participants



Outreach for Early Childhood Groups

Child looking at roots through a magnifying lensBring the Missouri Botanical Garden to your early childhood classroom or center. Learn more

Give the Garden

Father and daughter taking a class together Give the gift of an adventure! Instead of the typical “stuff,” give that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member a fun, memorable experience. Purchase a gift card that can be used for classes, as well as for admission, merchandise, membership and more.