Kids love activities and keeping them engaged in fun and exciting ways can become a challenge. With a range of gadgets and electronic devices like televisions, mobile phones, PCs and games, kids are now stuck indoors more than ever. They don’t take part in many physical activities and thanks to our compressed living spaces, outdoor activities are at an all time low. But with a bit of effort from our end, we can once again get our kids interested in the real world that exists beyond the enclosures of our homes. Find new ways to make your kid befriend nature. Connecting with nature is not only a great way to be physically active in the most natural of ways but also gives one a sense of belonging with our natural environment and surroundings. Help your little one understand the fun that comes with the outdoors with some fun activities like camping, running in a children’s park, gardening or even simply planting a sapling. Once your kid learns to appreciate the green world around us, there will hardly be any need to buy expensive video games and toys to keep him engaged.
Check out these 25 nature-friendly activities that you and your kid can enjoy together.
1. A splash in the mud
What happens when your kid sees a puddle of mud on the way? Does he carefully move away and walk on the pavement close by or is he tempted to just jump up and down on it? Whether we like it or not, kids love getting themselves dirty and jumping around. So for once, let them follow their instincts and enjoy a romp in the mud. They’ll no doubt get dirty but the smiles of delight on their faces will be something to treasure.
2. Build a fairy house
If you have a daughter, then this is one activity she is definitely going to enjoy. First you need to find a place to build a little fairy house like the base of a tree or even the corner side of your yard. Then, let your kid take control of the situation and help her search for sticks, leaves, seed pods, shells, pebbles…whatever nature can offer you. Now, turn these into tiny household items for your fairy house and decorate it with small cloth fairy dolls. You will soon find your little girl more in the yard and less in front of the TV.
Make a little garden corner with your kid. Depending on the space available, you can plant trees or a small garden filled with flowers. Tell him the importance of trees and planting them. Give him the responsibility to water the plant every day and see it grow. The more your kid gets involved in these little activities, the more he will connect with nature.
4. Visit a nature center
You must have a nature center around your locality. These are simple outdoor education centers that offer information and useful programs about local plants and animals. They also undertake interesting activities. Take your kid to one of these centers and let him participate in any way he can. If you’re not sure where to find such centers, you can always take the help of the internet.
5. Make a tree a pal
Take your kid out to your backyard or your neighborhood and let him pick his favorite tree. Put a ribbon around it or anything else to give it a personal touch. Let your kid even name the tree and observe how it changes from one season to the next. Ask him to make an album by taking pictures of the different phases of the tree.
6. Find a secret den
Find a secret hiding place for your child. It could be anywhere in the yard, the woods or even in the park. This can be his own little hiding den for him to read a book, play or simply spend some fun time with his friends.
7. Berry picking
Have you ever picked berries with your child on a warm summer’s day? Look out for local farms where you can enjoy this activity. You can even go to wild areas where you can find berries for picking, absolutely free of cost.
8. Creek fun
Creeks are a fantastic way of enjoying wading, water fights, rock hopping and exploring the nature around you. Help your child find a favorite spot and let him explore and play. Note: before he goes splashing, make sure the water quality is good enough.
9. Bird watching
Buy a small bird feeder and place it near a window or out in the yard. Help your child observe the different types of birds that come to visit your home. As his interest grows, you can even purchase him a book so he can find more information on the different bird species around him.
10. A nature journal
Give your kid a blank sketchbook, some color pencils and you’re set for a nature adventure. Then, start taking short nature walks and encourage him to draw whatever he sees. Everytime he wishes to pen down something, give him enough time to complete it.
11. Feed the squirrels
For this, you’ll need to gather acorns or different types of nuts and place them in a basket. Then simply put them out for squirrels and see how they come out of nowhere to enjoy the treat. Make sure to hide or you won’t see them coming out to get the goodies.
12. Play outdoors
Make it compulsory for your kids to play outside for a minimum of half an hour. This can be a weekly practice or a daily one, depending on circumstances. Whether they want to simply run around, bike or climb a tree, let them enjoy the outdoors.
13. Rock painting
If your kid loves painting, then this is one activity he will enjoy. The best part is it’s not on paper. You can do this activity in the woods, park or even in the backyard. Once you have spotted some rocks, give him the paints and let him go wild.
14. Visit the park
Look for a state park in your area and plan a weekend getaway with your family. You will come across many that offer camping or cabin rentals with some fun activities like fishing, hiking and swimming.
Campfires are always fun. It’s all about being outdoors and having a good time with friends and family. You can have a campfire in the backyard too and invite your neighbors. Or you could make it a weekend activity by going to a park where campfires are allowed to be lit.
16. Build a tree house
This is sure to be your child’s favorite. You can go for tree houses, playhouses or even a fort. This will get your child very interested in spending time outdoors in his beloved tree home.
17. Phases of the moon
We generally tend to ignore the beauty that is nature. But it is never too late to begin opening our eyes. Take every night to enjoy the different phases of the moon. At each day’s end and at the exact same time, look up at the sky and observe the moon going through its phases.
18. Read outside
Gift your kid some great books and encourage him to read them outdoors be it in a hammock, a comfy chair or simply under a tree.
19. Explore in a canoe
Canoeing is a great way to enjoy the local waterways and the beauty of plants and animals in and around the water. You can gather more information from the internet if you are just starting off. A perfect bonding moment for you and your child.
Hiking is a fun way to get some much needed exercise. It’s also a great way to help a family connect. Pack some goodies in a bag, wear sturdy boots and you’re ready to go.
21. Make a nature basket
Let your kid pick items from outside. They could be anything – rocks, pebbles, fossils, shells etc., except flowers and plants. Give him a basket to put them all in and place it inside the house. This is a good way for them to understand the abundance of things nature has to offer.
22. Dig into their imagination
Children are filled with ideas but most of them get buried in the daily hum drum of life. Dig deep into their imagination and drop small hints like looking for a flint rock or maybe even a dinosaur bone. Of course, the bone could be a simple fish bone but their curiosity will be awakened.
23. Fun water activities
Water splashing is always a fun activity for kids. So invite some of their friends over and have a water-filled day. Get water balloons, sprinklers and water toys to make it as exciting as possible.
24. Enjoy the rain
Your kid is probably used to you shouting at him to get out of the water. But just for a change, dance and play with him in the rain. This is one experience that you and your child will never forget.
25. Take a family camping vacation
This time, when you plan a family vacation, don’t head to an exotic locale. Instead, go camping. It’s one of the best ways to soak in the beauty of nature. Find out all you can on traditional summer camps in your area who will arrange everything for you.