Mother Nature is the best teacher and getting children outside (and away from the screen) is good for their mind and physical development. It’s crucial to teach the next generation about the environment so they can continue to take care of it. Here are 7 playful activities that focus on learning while having fun in the great outdoors! The best part? Whether it’s around the neighborhood, in the park, or in a forrest, most of these activities cost nothing but provide a wealth of education for children of all ages.
1. Identify flower colors
When you spot yellow tulips, red roses, pink hydrangeas, or white peonies, ask your child to tell you what color they see. This is a fun activity when walking around the neighborhood.
2. Inspect the insects
Children are curious about the little critters crawling around. While at the park, stop near a tree and see if your child can spot any insects. Point to the bug and teach your child its name, like ladybug, butterfly, ant, fly, or even spider!
3. Who made that sound?
When walking through a park or wooded area, the birds will be chirping. Play a game with your child and see if they can identify which bird is making noise. This is an excellent opportunity to teach them about the different species of birds we see in everyday life.
4. Collect fallen leaves
Take your child on a leaf hunt in autumn! They’ll be amazed at the different shades they find. Teach them about the seasons and what it means when the leaves begin falling.
5. Go on a scavenger hunt
Grab a small bucket or an empty egg container and go on a DIY scavenger hunt! Create a list of easy finds and watch your child work on their problem solving and gross/fine motor skills. Some ideas include collecting a gray rock, a fallen leaf, a feather, a pinecone, a dandelion, and a twig. If you’d rather have a guide, check out this free printable from Stay at Home Mum.
6. Draw the scene
If you have a little Picasso on your hands, take their love of art outside! Pack the crayons, colored pencils, and paper and sit down on a bench or picnic blanket. Ask your child to draw what they see and identify the elements on their own (example: tree, bush, dandelion).
7. Grow a mini garden
Nothing teaches your child the beauty of nature and sustainability quite like a garden! If you have space in your yard, plant flowers or garden seeds (or a tree if you’re feeling ambitious) with your little one. They’ll learn the importance of sunlight and water as they watch the seeds sprout. No space for a garden? You can buy a mini seed kit to grow herbs and spices indoors.