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Inside: If you want to encourage your child to explore nature in a playful way, here are 13 nature activities for young kids that are really nice and easy to try!
Kids enjoy each opportunity they have to discover nature and they learn a lot of things while exploring it! This is why I always encourage my son to observe nature and to investigate every detail that is interesting for him!
This month of our parenting challenge is dedicated to exploring nature, so I gathered here 13 nice ideas of nature activities for young kids. If you have toddlers or preschoolers, I’m sure that you’ll find some inspiration on this list!
For all these activities we always respect the rule of not harming nature in any way. We don’t break leaves or petals and we never disturb anything growing. We only use leaves and petals that are already on the ground. I think that it’s very important to teach the kids to respect nature and this is a perfect way to start!
1. Nature walk
This is by far the easiest activity to do! A nature walk is a great opportunity to let the child explore the plants, the trees, and the insects. We use the trails near our home for quiet walks.
Bogdan really enjoys searching for ants, bugs, and snails! We also talk about the different species of trees along our walk. Lately, we started to pay more attention to the birds and we discuss them too!
To make nature walks even more interesting, you can give your child a magnifying glass and some binoculars.
photo credit: Evgeny Atamanenko / shutterstock.com
2. Nature-inspired sensory bottles
This is a great idea that we plan to put into practice! We tried sensory bottles before and they are great! They are a great way of no-mess sensory play and they are safe for babies and toddlers too.
The idea is really simple: you just take a bottle and you fill it in with different natural elements: small pebbles, sticks, leaves, flowers, seeds. The sensory bottles are perfect for exploring nature and can be created in a lot of different ways!
You can find a collection of nice ideas on the Rhythms of play blog, here.
3. Nature basket
This is another sensory activity and it’s great for preschoolers. We did it in the past and we plan to do it again soon.
For this activity, you just need an empty basket. While exploring nature, invite your child to collect different items and store them in the basket. You can collect rocks, sticks, leaves, pine cones, shells, flowers and so on.
Then you can place the basket in the child’s room. In this way, the child will be able to explore his collection anytime he wants!
4. Nature scavenger hunt
I am a big fan of scavenger hunts because they are great boredom busters! They are a good way to keep the kids engaged while exploring the outdoors.
We want to do a lot of nature scavenger hunts in the next weeks, so I plan to create some printable files to use! I hope to be able to share them with you soon, maybe you’ll want to try them too! 🙂
Update: You can download our printable file from here – Nature scavenger hunt for young kids.
photo credit: Hasloo Group Production Studio / canva.com
5. Contact paper nature suncatcher
I like using contact paper in our activities because it’s a mess-free way to glue! It’s easy to handle even for young kids and there are a lot of ways to use it! One of my favorite contact paper crafts are the suncatchers!
If you like the idea, here is a simple tutorial for creating beautiful nature suncatchers: BEAUTIFUL SUNCATCHER MANDALAS NATURE CRAFT AND SYMMETRY ACTIVITYphoto credit: A Little Pinch of Perfect
6. Homemade bird feeder
As Bogdan is very happy anytime he has the chance to feed animals, I want to teach him how to feed birds too. So I plan to create together a homemade bird feeder. There are a lot of different tutorials on the net, so we will probably try several ideas!
7. Playing with rocks
Rocks are easy to find in any nature walk and they can be used in many playful ways. My favorite activities are stacking rocks and rock painting. Stacking rocks is a great practice for fine motor skills and a good exercise for patience and concentration.
Rock painting is fun and it can be a nice way to include art in your nature activities.
photo credit: Raffaella Galvani / shutterstock.com
8. Nature color hunt
This idea is similar to the nature scavenger hunt, but a little easier. You just need a clipboard, a paper, a pencil and some colored markers. You draw small boxes of different colors on the paper and place it on the clipboard. Then you invite your child to search items of each color during your nature exploration. Once he finds a color, he checks the box and goes to the next one. This is a fun and engaging activity to try with young kids!
Other nature activities for young kids
Here are 5 additional ideas from other mom bloggers that we plan to try soon. They are all suitable for young kids and easy to set for the parent!
Nature Cutting Tray from Munchkins and Moms
Nature Sensory Bag from Hands On as We Growphoto credit: Hands On as We Grow
Nature Matching Game from Pre-K Pagesphoto credit: Pre-K Pages
Super Easy Science: How to Grow Wheatgrass on Water Beads from Left Brain Craft Brainphoto credit: Left Brain Craft Brain
Sticky Window Flower Garden from No Time for Flashcards (an easy activity with contact paper and flowers)
I hope that you enjoyed our list of nature activities for young kids and that you’ll try them with your child! If you have any other ideas to add to the list, I would be happy to find them out!
photo credit preview photo: Hasloo Group Production Studio / canva.com