FUN IDEAS FOR EXPLORING NATURE WITH KIDS
Tuesday 11 August 2020
Is there a better way to enjoy summer vacation than to get some fresh air and connect with nature? Here are a few fun suggestions for your next outdoor family adventure
You don’t have to go very far to enjoy nature’s beauty. Head to your garden or backyard to discover caterpillars, butterflies, ladybirds and a whole variety of insects and bugs. Teach your children to respect and protect our planet and its creepy-crawly inhabitants from a young age – make sure they don’t squash any of them! Make it a game and see how many critters you can spot on one patch of grass.
Some think bugs are cool, and bug catchers are a fun way to get up close and personal with nature. Bug catchers are little containers with air holes and magnifying lids to observe the crawly critters inside. Browse here for more inexpensive and kid-friendly selections. As you observe the critters together, talk to your kids about their colours, their protective mechanisms (do they sting or bite), and where they live (in a hive, underground or in a nest). If you do not have a bug catcher, have a look at this idea to teach children how to search, capture, and care for bugs.
If you are an outdoorsy family, you will love this activity. Take a walk in nature, and write a list of items you are searching for – they could be pine cones, animal prints, moss, an earth worm, spiders, a fern, etc. Equip your kids with a backpack full of adventure tools, such as binoculars, a compass, and a pen and paper to keep track of their findings. Children love a treasure hunt, and this is a fun way to help kids notice their surroundings!
For those lazy afternoons, head to a nearby park and bring along a nature book that describes the flora and fauna of your area. As you find plants and animals, try to identify them in the book. Have your kids take notes and draw their shapes using crayons or coloured pencils. Pack a picnic lunch with you and sit on the grass to take in your natural surroundings.
If your children are going camping for the first time, you may want to experiment in your back garden before heading to a large camping site. Set up a tent outside the house, let your kids spend some time inside or sleep in it overnight to see how they adjust to the new experience. Help them pack as if they were going on a real trip, including their favourite toys and snacks, which will provide them a sense of familiarity and comfort in a new environment. Lastly, if not most importantly, be prepared to cope with inconvenience. This means staying positive and enthusiastic so your kids can follow your lead.