26 Quick And EASY Ways To Connect With Nature
Today we walked through the woods on a lovely walk with the dog. There are tiny signs of spring EVERYWHERE just now, so we were looking at some of these when an old friend of mine stopped to chat. ” Oh your SO lucky! we never get time to get outdoors much and when we do everything’s so complicated” she said to me.
After she’d gone it got me thinking about all the activities we do that only take a few minutes of time and not much planning or equipment. So much of the activities we do are off the cuff spontaneous things that my kids talk about for a long time after wards. So I thought I’d ask?? Are you looking to spend more time outdoors and connect with nature but don’t know how? I’ve made up a list of my top 26 for you to try. Let me know what you think.
Climb on rock at the beach.
When I was younger, we used to go to a tiny beach near to us and have a small BBQ, We’d set up next to these giant rocks next to the BBQ, and I remember spending most of the time scampering about over these rocks practising my climbing and looking for things in the rock pools. Drawing on them with chalk and making handprints on them with the cold ashes from the BBQ. Great Fun!
Pick some flowers
Why not display them indoors, sketch them, press them and display the dried flowers in a collage or even just make a pretty daisy chain or crown? The options here are endless.
Write names in the sand of every one in your family.
This is a favourite one of mine that a haven’t long discovered. Last year on a holiday to a place near the beach. I decided to write everyone’s name in the wet sand as the water was out, way out!! So I got a stick and wrote every one of our names and the date too and my husband managed to stand on a hilly area and get a fantastic photo of it. Now anytime we go on holiday we will do this as it’s a great way to remember where you’ve been and when.
Borrow books about nature and wildlife from the library.
Even with technology EVERYWHERE, we still love any excuse to visit the local library. WE sit on the cushions for hours and read stories or learning books. One of our favourites is the nature book above, Woodland and Forest. My little AJ loves the pictures and CC loves to find a new idea we can try.
We love nothing better than taking normal indoor activities outdoor as often as we can. Simple things like playing with bricks outdoors, or reading on a cover can change things up and make them fun again. Eating is one of these. Just getting together and having a BBQ or a picnic outdoors is wonderful. THE KIDS ALSO EAT WAY MORE!! Who knew!
Look for a bird’s nest in the trees
Find some nests in the trees and get close and comfy. Get your binoculars and try to spot the bird that lives there.
Grow your own vegetable garden.
This is my favourite way to spend time with nature. We sow our vegetables from seed and care for them together. Somethings we grow in pots and others we grow in the ground but we love it. We create LIFE!! The kids learn how to grow and care for plants as well as how to nurture the planet around them.
Try my other posts to get you started How to grow sweetpeas with kids? 12 Easy plants for kids to grow or How to grow carrots with kids or even How to grow fruit with kids. Look out for my FREE Ebook on Gardening with Kids if you need more ideas.
Look at the stars.
Lay down together and watch the sky, moon and stars. You could try this craft from Literary Hoots and make some constellations to look out for.
Collect pebbles when your out, put into a vase at home.
You could write the date and place on them and collect stones from where ever you go as a keepsake. Try stones with different textures and feel. We love to stack them up when were out and make all sorts of sculptures.
Write on a dark rock with a lighter coloured rock.
Play ‘Hangman’ or ‘Tic Tac Toe’ on a rock. Or use a light stone to draw out numbers on the dark path and play ‘Hopscotch’
Look at the clouds. What can you see?
Can you make out any shapes? My daughter CC found a dragon blowing fire this morning. It’s a wonderful quiet-time activity for little ones too.
Skim stones in the water
Use a round flat stone for this and skin it across the water. BIG TIP get as low as possible when you’re skimming so it goes further.
Listen to the birds singing try to find it.
We have followed birds through the woods a long way before we found it. We also love tracking down out local woodpeckers. each year they are in a different woods around us and it’s a good excuse for a nature walk to go off to find it. Last year we drew a map as we went to practise maps with my eldest ED who was doing this with his Cub group.
Splash in some muddy puddles.
This is great fun for kids of ages including us mums and dads. Just remember to wear your boots.
Take photographs of nature and make them into a photo book.
My eldest son ED is fantastic at photography without even trying, he loves taking pictures and we keep a nature journal of his photos and things we have learned out in the woods. If you don’t want to get photos printed why not try making a nature sketch book and let the kids draw what they see, or make a collage from other materials.
Now I’m not talking sitting in the woods for hours with a pair of binoculars hiding under some logs waiting to see a pigeon. But set up some feeders in your garden so you can see them from your window. Look at what kinds of birds you get, what they like to eat etc. you can do a whole study on it. Or watch the geese come or go each year to their winter nests.
Watch water drops slide down a glass window. Choose one and have a race.
This used to be my daughters favourite way to play on a wet afternoon. We would sit at our long patio doors and each pick a raindrop at the top, (or as high as she can reach) We then got out chalk pens and drew over the line the raindrop made all the way down the window and see who got to the bottom first. This was great for her writing as she learned to hold the pen steady and follow all sorts of shapes with te pen. We would practise our colours while we did this too, by the time we finished the window had a multicoloured rainbow on it
Climb a tree.
Cheap and easy, Just pick a tree that has plenty of branches but doesn’t go too high.
- Do a Nature Scavenger Hunt.
This post from Birthdaypartyideas4kids.com has a fab idea for a scavenger hunt. Take something like small bags or an egg carton to keep your treasures in. For little kids why not try a colour hunt. Colour each section of an egg cup a different colour and try to find something for each colour when your out. Watch out for bottle tops and flowers.
Watch a sunrise or sunset.
We are all so busy, do you ever just take a minute to show your child the wonders of the day. A beautiful sunrise can take your breath away. I used to have a caravan (mobile home) and occasionally we’d get up extra early and take the dog a walk and sometimes we were surprised with an amazing sunrise with low mist hanging in the air. Breath-taking. I remember ED and I just stood there mesmerized for a good long while.
Walk across a fallen log.
If your really brave you could make it a log that s laying across a little stream..I don’t have the balance for this one but it’s the first thing the kids race to do in the woods. Me? I don’t see what is wrong with the perfectly good bridge next to it!
Fly a kite or blow a pin wheel.
This is a fun one. Whether you are on a beach or in a field there is always time to fly a kite! and littlies don’t need to miss out either, you could make this rainbow blowing craft from Kidcraftroom or teach them to blow a Pin wheel.
Chase a rainbow in the car.
This one takes a bit more planning I guess. We were coming home in the car from a day out, when we saw a beautiful rainbow up ahead. The kids were desperate to see if there was really gold at the end on the rainbow. So my husband decided to go see. We spent a good hour chasing that rainbow, mostly still heading home, but we never did find that gold.
Go outside and sketch something with a pencil.
If your child is creative at all then they will love this one. We made sketch books for each child and decided to go and draw. The only direction I gave the children was they have to draw something the could see and it had to have as much detail as they could manage. Wow, well I was amazed. Some drew flowers, one drew his shoe and the littlest one drew our dog DD. All of them had really thought about what they were looking at and the shapes and how they worked in the space they were in. We have done it a few times since then and the kids love it! Each time we come back home the kids are already asking to go again. Keep this fresh by taking out different materials each time. pencil, charcoal coloured pencil water colour.etc.
This is easy and so much fun. Take some plain paper and some chunky crayons out for a walk, find different textures and surfaces you can rub over. Try leaves, barks, stones, fence posts and what ever else you see. This activity can be taken further by using these texture pictures to make a collage when you get home. draw out a house or a woods etc and then cut out the different coloured and textures you found to fill in each area. ie use a bark rubbing to make the roof and a smooth stone rubbing for the door etc.
- Play in the rain.
I know, I know, your shouting at me ‘but what about the mess??’ well I’m the same but sometimes i do try to loosen up and let the kids play. they get such a fright that I’m letting them splash and swing and do all sorts in the rain-And getting out and doing it too! I’m suddenly propelled to “THE BEST MUM IN THE WORLD” woo ha. Not so much when I make them strip off in the kitchen surrounded by towels and a mop but for that 10 minutes or so I can do no wrong ha.
- Grow herbs in a small pot on the windowsill.
This is relatively easy for the amount of reward. The kids filled 3 pots of soil each and sowed 3 different herbs in each. We then left them on the window sill and within a few weeks the were ready to eat. The kids loved watching them grow and didn’t believe me that they could eat them. Some on the seeds we grew include coriander(for carrot and coriander soup and curry Yum) chives, basil for salads, mint for tea and ice cream.
So what do you do to connect with nature? Do you feel we need it? What do you hate about getting out there?? Hit comment and let me know!!