These times are causing us to go back to the basics, and what’s more basic than nature itself! Here are some fun nature activities that you can do with your children right in your garden or building compound. Besides being fun and simple to do, these are such rich learning experiences that your children will lap up and you will see development – physical, emotional, social and intellectual, taking place in leaps and bounds!
1. Nature Walk
Just let the children wander around and show them different leaves, flowers, insects, stones, etc. If you want, your child can take a basket and collect some of the interesting things they find. Talk to your child while doing this. Talk to them about the different colours, textures, etc. Talk about God and how he created so many wonderful things. Talk about how important it is for us to care for our environment and not harm nature in any way.
2. Nature Printing
Collect different flowers, leaves, sticks, feathers, etc. Put some paint on them and press it onto a paper to make prints. Create beautiful prints and frame them or even use them for cards or bookmarks.
3. Mud Painting
Painting with mud is so much fun! The kids will simply enjoy it. All you need to do is draw a picture, mix some mud with paint and then paint on top of your picture! Here’s a link for more detailed instructions.
4. Painting Rocks
Collect different stones or rocks and paint with acrylic paints or colour them with oil pastels. You can make some striking designs with these, and they are great as decorative items or paper weights.
5. Nature Collage
Your child can bring different items from nature and play with them, arranging them how they want. They can cut leaves and make designs. They can even stick it on paper, if they want.
6. Painting Outside
Just being outside gives children a new lease to their creativity. Give them some paint and let them get messy!
Children love picnics! You don’t have to make it super elaborate. You can just put your cups of tea, glasses of juice and a few biscuits on a tray and go and have it in the compound. If you want to make it more exciting, you can pack a little picnic basket (sandwiches, juice boxes, finger snacks), put a mat out and have a ‘real picnic’!
8. Nature Hunt
There are all sorts of different nature hunts you can do:
- Basic Nature Hunt: Make a list of different things (eg. flower, something red, something spikey, yellow leaf, a stick the size of your little finger, an insect, etc.) and the children have to go around and find them and tick it off the list as they do.
- Nature Colour Hunt: Ask children to collect items of different colours. Click here to see more.
- Nature Alphabet Hunt: Ask children to search for objects with all the different letters from A – Z. They can write it down, draw it, or take a photo of it as they find it.
- Nature Shape Hunt: Ask the children to find objects in nature that are different shapes.
9. Nature Photography
Go for a walk with your child and take photos of different things you find interesting. You will be quite surprised at the amount of things you and your child will notice with a camera lens! You can also do this with a theme: eg. flowers, insects, etc.
10. Bird Watching
Try and do this early in the morning. Go for a walk with your child and pay attention to the different bird sounds. Try and locate the bird. If you are not sure what bird it is, search for it online and see if you can find out its name and characteristics of the bird. Let the child draw the different birds that they have seen.
11. Insect Collecting:
Let the children look around for insects. If they want, they can make a box and collect some ants or caterpillars and observe them. Don’t forget to return them back into nature before the day ends. Another fun thing is to collect snails or caterpillars and put them all behind a line, and have a race with them!
An activity that most children enjoy is gardening, plant some seeds and water it daily. Enjoy watching a plant grow! You can buy seeds online, or even use easy to grow seeds or roots from home like beetroot, mustard seeds, chilli seeds, tomato seeds, etc.
13. Pretend Play
Let the children take some of their toys down and create different scenes and play. Toys that are great to play with in nature are animal toys, transport toys, etc.
There are so many games you can play in nature. Here are some of our favourites:
- I spy with my little eye: Each person takes a turn at saying ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with the letter ____’. The others have to guess what the person has seen. For smaller children you can do it with colours (e.g. I spy with my little eye something red)
- Queen of Sheeba: In this game, the parents asks for something and the child brings it to them. (eg. the parent will say, “Queen of Sheeba wants a red flower, or Queen of Sheeba wants 3 different leaves.” This is a great game if you’re tired and want to just sit, while your child does all the running around!
- Hopscotch: This is an age old game. All you need is a chalk to draw the hopscotch, and a stone. To see how this game is played, click here.
Hope you have fun enjoying nature with your children!
If there are other nature activities that you do with your children, do post them in the comments below!