Outdoor nature play for kids has been getting quite exotic in some areas around the world. Living in big cities, where nature is far from home, parents working all day long, spending an afternoon outside, surrounded with forest, is often harder than it seems.
If you are reading our blog regular, you know we spend a lot of time in the nature. We really enjoy wilderness camping. Our Toyota Landcruiser is not just a car for our travels, but it represents also our kitchen and our bedroom. That is why we have to pack smart, what also means our 3 year old explorer is challenged to bring only few toys on our travels, what also means, he has to learn to play with what nature offers.
These ideas for nature activities should only be ideas for you and your kids. A starting point to help kids who might not feel comfortable with nature, after that let them use their own imagination.
Ideas for nature play for kids
Let kids collect stones and try to make a tower with them. Each time they add a new stone, they will need to be careful not to ruin it, what will challenged them with being patient, persistant and have a good concentration.
Finding the largest cone
Conifers forest are charming for its scent and kids will put a shine on them mostly because of the cones. Kids can learn through nature with finding the largest cone they can. They will run around, compare the cones and at the same time learn different sizes. Bring home, color them and they can be a really nice decoration for Christmas.
Building a road
Our Ren is crazy about cars, so few of them are always packed with us for our trips. Building all kinds of roads for him is inevitable. He uses stones, leaves, branches, cones as a building material, what always shows, how big kids imagination really is, if we just leave them be.
Drawing on stones
Outdoor is of course not just the forest, but also rivers, lakes, sea. If you manage to find a place with larger flat white stones, you can have an artistic day with kids. Make sure to pack crayons and kids will soon show you that they don’t really need paper to enjoy painting / drawing.
Climbing on trees and stumps
What can be best for motoric functions and skills than climbing? Outdoor climbing does not mean you need to be a pro, as younger kids can easily find some stumps and older ones will for sure enjoy this activity climbing on trees, no matter the age. I know many of you will be a bit nervous – I am too, but I did the same when I was a kid and I sure want that Ren can experience the same free and happy childhood I have known.
Looking for bark
It might sounds funny, but when we were traveling to Corsica Ren and her friend brought a bunch of old bark one afternoon. I did not know what exactly they will do out of it, but they showed us what a great building material this really is, if you just use your imagination. You can build houses, tunnels. If you have water nearby, you can make gutters, canals. Great outdoor play for learning through nature.
Matching fruits and leaves with trees
Kids will not have any problems with picking up fruits and leaves, but with your help, they can also learn through nature and try to match the fruit and the leaves with a correct tree. This really is a fun way to learn.
What do you see?
Different people see different things and trying to figure what an old, broken branch shows to someone is always fun. You can upgrade the play with coloring the branches and a true art will soon be in front of you. If nothing else, you can always make a stick man.
No matter how vivid my imagination is, I would never made up this game, but kids did. Kids found goat poop on the floor in Corsica, grabbed a large stone and started to hit the poop with it. They had so much fun we hardly convince them it is time to get going. The next day they found a dry cowpat and used a stick to make sort of a noise. Well, we left them in smile and all I added was the fact that dry cowpats are still used for fire in some countries.
Outdoor nature play for kids can leave certain consequences on kids – dirty hands and face, thorn up clothes, moody shoes, bruises, bumps, scratches. But these kind of nature activities will also make your kids happy, inventive, skillful, persistent, and self-confident. Instead of worrying about clothes, rather dress your explorers appropriate to nature, bite your tongue and let them be, as nature is the best playground you can ever give them.