Exploring Nature with Kids
Take in spring weather and appreciate nature with these at-home and neighborhood activities.
Have your kids pick their favorite flowers from the yard and help them press the flowers with a book to preserve them. Use a heavy book that you don’t mind damaging. Place the flower between two pieces of paper, and place them in the book. If you’re pressing multiple flowers at one time, space them out so the moisture from each flower doesn’t transfer to another. Weigh down the book with more books. The flowers will be completely dry in 2-3 weeks.
Make flower and leaf stamps with play dough or clay. Roll the dough or clay into a ball before pressing the nature items down into the clay. See full instructions at The Artful Parent or My Bright Ideas.
Bring Birds to Your Yard
Provide birds with water and food to attract them to your yard. Make a bird bath using an old tomato cage. Have your kids decorate the terracotta pot bottom however they wish to. Find instructions at My Life Abundant. Create a bird bath using an old glass lid and chain with Sadie Seasongoods.
Feed the birds by making your DIY bird feeders. Using cookie cutters, make cute bird feeders from Mama.Papa.Bubba. Old soda bottles and wooden spoons can be reused to make bird feeders with Kelly Leigh Creates. And don’t forget the classic putting peanut butter and birdseed on a pine cone.
Check out our other ideas for bird watching here.
Create a scavenger hunt. Write down items your kids are likely to see outside, such as bees, ladybugs, squirrels, acorns and other materials, along with detailing specific colors, like a brown rock with black spots or a pink flower. Have them check off all of the items they find, and the first child who finds all the items gets a prize.
Create your own fairy house and garden in your yard with natural materials your kids find. Materials may include: tree bark, sticks, twigs, leaves, rocks, flowers, moss, acorns, pebbles, pine cones and more. Use all natural materials, so the fairy house will disintegrate without creating waste and litter. Don’t use plastic, duct tape, staples or hot glue, as these items can be hazardous to wildlife. Search Pinterest for inspiration.
Weather the Wind
Craft a wind catcher with natural items, like stems, leaves and pine cones, ribbons, paper bags, yarn and more. Daisies & Pie made wind catchers with a wire circle, garden string, ribbons and lavender stems. Inspiration Laboratories crafted one out of sticks, objects from nature and string.
Make delicious, nature-theme snacks:
- Create trees with pretzels and grapes from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
- Make dirt pudding with cookies, instant pudding, cream cheese and gummy worms from NeighborFood.
- Follow the rainbow with Well Plated’s Rainbow Fruit Pizza with crescent roll dough, strawberries, oranges, kiwis, blueberries and blackberries.
- Enjoy fruit and veggies shaped as butterflies, ladybugs and caterpillars with Crafting Chicks.
Take time to read with these nature books. Read cool facts about bugs before starting a backyard activity adventure with “The Backyard Bug Book for Kids” by Lauren Davidson. Explore the animals and plants below and above ground in “Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt” by Kate Messner. Learn about colors and flowers with “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert. A boy and his dog explore nature and the season of spring in “Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring” by Kenard Pak.
Enjoy a storytime with celebrities. Joanna and Chip Gaines chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden with “We Are the Gardeners.” Rachel Zoe reads “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, and check out these accompanying lesson plans for ages 2-4. Read about farm life and animals with “Big Red Barn” by Margaret Wise Brown and read by Jennifer Garner.