People are more disconnected from nature than ever before. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Kids can engage in a wide range of nature activities, which can teach them good habits for a lifetime. Some of these are more accessible than others. Still, everyone should be able to engage in at least some of them.
Here are 20 awesome nature activities for kids:
1. Backyard Camping
Camping is a good way for people to experience the great outdoors. With that said, real camping might be a bit much for kids. Instead, consider backyard camping as a convenient substitute. If nothing else, it is a good way to teach kids the skills they will need for real camping in the future, thus making it something of a preparatory step.
2. Backyard Painting
Nature is often a source of artistic inspiration. For instance, Arts Heaven mentions luminaries such as Claude Monet, Henri Rousseau, and Vincent Van Gogh as specialists in this regard. As such, it might not be a bad idea for kids to spend some time making visual depictions of what they see in their backyard. They don’t necessarily have to do so by painting. Pens, pencils, and even crayons are just as valid as anything else when it comes to art.
3. Backyard Scavenger Hunt
Lots of kids enjoy more active events. As such, interested individuals should consider setting up a scavenger hunt, which is a great way for people to exercise not just their bodies but also their brains at the same time. Of course, choose the items, the locations, and the clues to those locations with care.
A certain degree of challenge can be a good thing. However, it is very easy for it to transform into something frustrating. Those who aren’t sure whether they have gotten everything right might want to double-check with someone of the right age to see if their work will make for satisfying results.
4. Rock Art
Art is a very varied thing. That means the tools for making art can be just as wide-ranging in nature. For instance, interested individuals might have come upon the idea of Japanese rock gardens, which are excellent examples of the idea of wabi-sabi. In short, Japan Objects says wabi-sabi is the willingness to find beauty in imperfection.
As a result, works founded upon the idea often stress simplicity, naturalness, and impermanence. Kids might find it enjoyable to search for cool-looking rocks and then arrange them into cool-looking patterns. If they don’t like it, it is a simple matter to unmake the patterns, thus restoring their supply of materials with which to make more rock art.
5. Dig a Hole
Sometimes, simple things can be surprisingly enjoyable. As such, kids might be interested in digging a hole. It is a chance for them to see what lies beneath the surface, which can be a good way to lead to an introduction to the different kinds of soils out there. For that matter, Quartz says there is some evidence that playing in the dirt can be good for people’s long-term health.
6. Take a Hike
Most of us live in urban areas. As a result, most of us don’t have much of a connection to the natural world, which is a real shame when the latter has so much to offer. Fortunately, there are ways for interested individuals to experience nature in a safe, convenient manner.
One example would be taking a hike in natural spaces. Other examples range from biking to boating depending on the exact natural space in question. Of course, if interested individuals want to bring kids along, they should make sure to choose a natural space that is suitable for their level of capability.
7. Take the Kids on a Fishing Trip
People have been fishing since prehistoric times. Originally, our ancestors did so to get enough food to eat. However, it wasn’t too long before people started fishing for fun as well. That remains as applicable in the present as in the past. Due to this, if people want to introduce their kids to the more watery parts of nature, fishing might be a good way to do so.
With that said, if people are leery about the thought of hurting fish, they might want to choose something more peaceful. Catching and releasing is better than taking fish that people don’t need. Even so, More Trout points out that it lowers the caught fish’s chances of survival. On top of that, while we can’t be 100 percent sure that fish feel pain, the evidence points that way.
8. Go Birdwatching
Speaking of which, birdwatching would be a more peaceful activity. However, interested individuals might want to brush up on Explore’s rules for birdwatchers. Enthusiasm for the activity is a good thing. Unfortunately, it is very much possible for birdwatchers to hurt the birds they are interested in if they are careless. Learning the rules at an early age is a good way to understand why this is so serious.
9. Watch Wildlife Online
National parks and similar institutions have adapted to modern technology in interesting ways. For instance, many of them now have wildlife cameras, which give interested individuals a chance to observe wildlife from the comfort of their own homes. As it turns out, wildlife can be just as dramatic as humans, so this can make for surprisingly good viewing.
10. Make a Bracelet
There are a lot of ways to turn things collected from nature into bracelets and other adornments. Learning those ways might be a bit too complicated and time-consuming. If so, there is a much easier way to make a nature bracelet. Essentially, kids can wrap a piece of tape around their wrist with the sticky side up before sticking whatever they find interesting to it. The results can be eclectic but that much more interesting for it.
11. Make a Wreath
Of course, if kids are willing to put in more effort, there is always the option of making something more complicated such as a wreath. Different seasons offer different plants and other materials. As a result, heading out to make a wreath is also a good way to learn more about the local ecosystems.
12. Make a Suncatcher
Similarly, kids might want to try making suncatchers. These are pretty much the visual counterparts of wind chimes. Essentially, they are meant to catch the sun’s light before reflecting it in interesting ways, which is similar to how wind chimes are supposed to catch the movements of the air before making interesting sounds. Glass and other reflective materials are the most important components of suncatchers. Still, it isn’t uncommon for people to decorate them using flowers and other natural elements.
13. Do Some Gardening
The overwhelming majority of the human population would’ve been very familiar with the care of plants in the not-so-distant past. After all, most people were farmers, meaning said knowledge was a matter of critical importance for them. Nowadays, most people are no longer bound to that way of life.
That is a good thing rather than a bad thing because subsistence farming is unpleasant, to say the least. Still, it also means that we are often disconnected from one of the fundamental processes that make the world around us possible. If you want to teach kids about the care of plants, there is no better way than getting them started on gardening.
14. Make Some Pressed Flowers
Flowers don’t last very long. If people hold to wabi-sabi, they would say that impermanence is one of the primary elements of their beauty. Still, plenty of people want to preserve flowers for as long as possible. Sometimes, there is sentimental value to a particular flower. Other times, they just enjoy looking at the flower again and again. Whatever the case, ProFlowers and other resources offer guides on how to press flowers, which is a surprisingly easy process.
15. Local Ecosystems
Life is tenacious. As a result, there are ecosystems everywhere, with heavily urbanized areas being no exception to this rule. Even so, if people want their kids to get the most from exploring, examining, and otherwise experiencing local ecosystems, they might want to head to either a park or some other natural space.
Naturally, they should also supervise the entire time. It is one thing for their kids to see what they can turn up while checking out local ecosystems. It is another thing for them to let their kids interact with something they shouldn’t.
16. Seashell Hunting
Those who live close to the sea should consider seashell hunting. People have prized seashells since time immemorial. Indeed, Citéco points out the widespread use of cowry shells as a kind of money until the 20th century. No one uses cowry shells that way anymore. Despite that, there are plenty of other interesting seashells to check out. Please note that interested individuals might want to brush up on the rules of ethical seashell hunting, as stated by Travel For Wildlife and similar sites.
Some rules are obvious. For instance, people should never take anything alive. Other rules are less so. One example would be avoiding spiral shells because hermit crabs often live in those. The easiest way to practice ethical seashell hunting would be to snap photos of the seashells while leaving them in place.
17. Plant Identification
Oftentimes, people have much poorer awareness of local plants than local animals. As a result, some kids might enjoy learning more about the matter by seeing what plants exist around them before trying to identify those plants. In some cases, this will be surprisingly easy. Everyone recognizes something like the dandelion, which is very distinctive.
In other cases, this will be much harder, as shown by how difficult it can be to figure out exactly what kind of maple a particular maple tree might be. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources that interested individuals can consult to see exactly what part of what plant is supposed to look like, thus giving them the chance to gradually work their way to the correct conclusion.
18. Build a Terrarium
Terrariums are glass containers with plants in them. They are divided into open terrariums and closed terrariums, which are open and sealed respectively. Building either kind of terrarium can be an interesting challenge. However, kids might find it particularly interesting to build a long-lasting closed terrarium. These terrariums still have transparent walls to let heat and light through.
Thanks to that, they can have fully-functional water cycles, meaning they can last for a long time so long as their inhabitants are suitable for the resulting wet environment. Supposedly, there are closed terrariums that have lasted for multiple decades, though that kind of longevity isn’t possible without careful balancing.
19. Build a Bird Feeder
Birds like food as much as any other life form. Due to this, a bird feeder is a great way for people to attract birds to their backyard. Once again, there is more to building a successful bird feeder than a superficial inspection would indicate. For example, people need to consider what they want to attract as well as how they can make the bird feeder attractive to their intended targets. As such, there is a great deal for kids to delve into, meaning they can return to the topic again and again as they develop their understanding of the underlying principles.
20. Weather Observation
The weather has a huge impact on our day-to-day experience. As a result, it can be useful for younger kids to learn more about local weather by carrying out daily weather observations. Over time, this kind of activity can also give them an understanding of the local climate, which can be surprisingly important information.
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