10 Great Ideas for Exploring Nature with Children

We all have memories of playing outside as kids: exploring the neighborhood, looking for frogs, splashing in the creek, playing hide ‘n seek and the glorious freedom in getting dirty.  Summer is a great time to explore nature with your children.

Here are 10 great ideas for fun activities with children in your backyard or a local park.

  1. Take a Walk! Nature is only a few steps away. 
    Don’t focus on the distance or destination, just enjoy the journey.  Make a list of some things that can be found outside and have a scavenger hunt.  Includes things like: acorn, pine cone, flat rock, leaf etc.
  2. Explore the Sky
    Look up and imagine amazing characters in the clouds or check out the moon at night with binoculars. 
  3. Make a Mud Pie 
    Combine dirt, leaves and water in a bucket or bowl. Make a pie for a great tactile experience.
  4. Grab Your Umbrella
    Collect and observe insects hidden in the leaves of shrubs by shaking branches over an open umbrella.
  5. Look for Worms
    Grab a small shovel or stick, find a patch of soil where you can get messy, then dig in!
  6. Have a Picnic Dinner
    Take supper outside, spread a blanket, enjoy the breeze and the sounds of crickets.
  7. Did You Hear That?
    Stand outside and listen to the sounds for three minutes. What do you hear?
  8. Journaling is Easy
    Use crayons to make bark or leaf rubbings, draw pictures or make a list of what you see and hear.
  9. Play in the Creek
    Enjoy splashing in the water and looking for critters under rocks.
  10. Life Under a Log
    Turn over a log or rock and see what insects you can find underneath.

Make Outside Time an Adventure

Nature provides many ways to have fun and you don’t need a bunch of toys or gadgets. Take along a hand lens to get a closer look at leaves, sticks, bugs, rocks and more! A pair of binoculars are great for more than bird watching. Use them to look at tree tops, to get a close-up view of a flower or to observe the moon and stars. Turn them backwards to make things tiny! Chronicle your adventure by making a nature journal. Bring along crayons, pencils, paper and a ruler. Draw what you see. Measure a worm’s length or a leaf width and write down these measurements.

Need some help? Take along a field guide, such as Golden Guides, for an introduction to many nature topics to help you plan an outdoor adventure with your children.

Start Your Adventure at Elachee

Visit Elachee and ask at the Nature Shop how you can check out a Discover Nature Pack for free! These backpacks contain a wealth of information, nature guides and fun activities to help you explore the woods. Themes include animals, plants and GPS navigation.