We love the great outdoors and there are plenty of hands-on nature activities for children to enjoy.
Whether it’s going for a paddle in the sea, walking barefoot through the grass or bug hunting in the garden, there is so much outside to explore and help your children learn about nature and wildlife.
Playing outside has been proven to improve a child’s happiness and confidence, which is why I’m always keen to get outdoors every chance we have. The key is to tune in to nature as a sensory experience and use it as a way to learn about our environment and wildlife.
The summer holidays are coming up so I have collated 10 activities to help children embrace and learn about nature and embrace the great outdoors.
Most kids think that bugs are pretty cool so take some time to search for creepy crawlies in your garden. Search under rocks, dig for worms, look out for butterflies. Talk to your child about how bugs build their homes or where they get food. Do they sting? What colours are they? It’s amazing what you learn once you start looking a little closer at nature in your garden.
Create a Nature Journal
Take a journal with you on your walk and draw or write about what you find. Sketch pictures or write about the sounds you hear such as the babbling brook, the rustling of the leaves or the tweeting of the birds. Simply relax and enjoy your time outside. Guide your child to parts of nature they may not notice such as the rough edges of a shell they found on the beach or look for animal tracks.
The Art of Simple has some wonderful ideas on how to create a nature journal.
Combine technology with the excitement of a treasure hunt for some geocaching. Find hidden treasures using GPS device or even on your smartphone. Locations for caches are in various locations and can take you off the beaten path and discover parts of your local area that you never knew existed.
Take off your shoes and go for a walk in your garden and feel the grass beneath your feet. According to studies, barefoot walking is great for your health and helps increase antioxidants, reduces inflammation and improves sleep. Whether you are stomping through mud or walking on a beach, ditching your footwear could be a great way to help your child use nature as a sensory experience and improve their health.
Make a Garden Sensory Tub
Your child can get interested in playing with mud, planting seeds, digging and generally getting their hands a little dirty. It’s a simple and effective idea to keep children entertained and interested in nature. Here are some garden sensory bin ideas from Mess for Less.
Create Rock Art
If your kids are anything like mine, they like to collect any rock or stick they find on a walk to take home with them. Spend an afternoon scavenging for rocks and pebbles that can be turned into art work once you get home. Use paint to transform the rocks into faces, animals or multi-coloured jewels.
Make a Terrarium
Terrariums can be a wonderful addition to any room. Plants can help bring about better sleep, reducing anxiety and stress and can mop up pollutants. You don’t need a great amount of equipment to make your own fun DIY Terrarium with your children for their room. Here are a few ideas from Mother Natured.
Help your children create their own little river and get messy with all the mud. A small world river habitat is a great way to learn about wildlife around rivers and is super easy to make too. Read about how to create one with ideas from Live Over Cs.
Watch birds from your garden, listen to birdsong, look at its colour and size of beak to try and identify its species. There are plenty of nature reserves throughout the UK where you can discover fascinating and beautiful birds that you wouldn’t otherwise find in your back garden.
Does It Sink or Float Experiment
The kids love water activities. They have a water table that they fill up with all sorts of rubble and bits from the garden. Sand, grass, pebbles, mud – if they can pick it up, it goes in there. Turn it into more of an experiment to see what sinks or floats. Fill up a tub with water and ask your child to get a few toys or things from the garden they thing would sink or float. Do this activity in the garden or in the house with a few towels laid down to catch any splashes.
What do you like to do to as a family to embrace nature?