*This post contains affiliate links.
One of my favorite things about kids is their natural ability to love, appreciate, and explore the world around them. I have a fear that we are unintentionally raising our child to lose this ability, especially when it comes to nature. It is normal today to find kids that don’t like to play or even go outside because of fear, lack of interest, or just not knowing how to be in nature. While technology is important because it is so integrated into our society, so is understanding and interacting with nature.
I want to make sure nature is a constant in my daughters’ play and upbringing. Here are a few ways we are keeping our curious toddler engaged with nature.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
This is a fun activity I like to do with my daughter when we go to the park or even a walk through the neighborhood. Before leaving, we will pick 4-5 items to look for while we are out. Because she is only two, we usually choose simple things like leaves, flowers, pine cones, etc. We collect the items we find and go over our list once we get back home. If there are animals on the list, like frogs, birds, or beach critters, then we take a picture when we find it.
Often, when thinking about nature, we think of trees, flowers, and animals, but water is another essential part of our natural world. Create a pouring station using different bins, bowls, and cups you already have on hand. You can do this outside on warm summer days or even in the bathtub in the winter.
Dig for Spaghetti Worms
I always had such fun digging for worms when I was little. Even now as an adult I get excited when it rains, and they all come to the surface. Since it isn’t always convenient to have your kids digging up the yard looking for worms, we decided to make our own.
To make the worms I boiled about half a cup of spaghetti noodles and let them cool. I then threw some dirt in a bucket with a bit of water and added the “worms” to the bucket.
Pressed Flower Art
Making art from pressed flowers is an easy way to engage your child’s imagination and teach them about the diversity of flowers. Use tape to stick the flowers to a sheet of paper or glue them to glass jars. You can use the flowers to create different shapes or add them as accents to a drawing or coloring page. If you don’t already have pressed flowers on hand learning how to press flowers is a fun activity as well.
Pressing flowers was one of my favorite activities when I was little. Place paper towels on the pages of a large book, like a textbook or dictionary, and then press the flowers between the pages. I would then stack items on top of the book, like rocks or other books, to make sure it stays pressed together tightly. After a couple of weeks, I would remove the flowers from the pages and collect them in a box. There are flower presses that you can buy, but if you aren’t looking to spend extra money, this method works great.
Grow something from seed
Growing something from seed, whether it is an entire garden or a single plant, is a great bonding activity that also teaches patience and appreciation for plants. Plus, this is a great way to teach your kids a skill that would definitely benefit them as adults.
About a month ago we planted a wisteria tree. While this wasn’t exactly from seed, Finley was still able to see the tree awaken from its dormant state and watch the first leaves sprout. She helps me water the tree every day and loves to “check on its dirt.”
Make an insect hotel
I am in love with this insect hotel my mom was gifted last spring. I want to add one to our own garden…when we get a home that is. For now though, here is a wonderful post from Garden Therapy on how to make these guys.
Identify different plants
Even though my girls are still a bit young to get into plant identification, I think it is a very important skill to learn, especially if you are spending a lot of time in nature. The ability to identify certain plants, like poison ivy or poison oak, could save you a lot of hassle. Plus, learning which plants to use and which plants to avoid is an excellent survival skill.
Since our oldest is only two, we’ve started by saying the name of simple plants when we see them, like lavender and pine tree. We also identify different parts of the plants, like trunk, leaf, root, flower, etc.
This is a fun decor activity I decided to do for the girls. Finley and Loxley will have their own room soon, and I wanted a way to bring nature into their room, without having actual living plants to worry about. On one of our walks, I gave Finley the job of collecting twigs. She had so much fun finding the perfect sticks and putting them in her bag. When we got home, I arranged the twigs in the shape of an “F” for Finley and an “L” for Loxley and bound them together with raffia twine. These make the cutest personalized wall decor piece, and to me, it shows that beauty can be found anywhere.
Pin For Later:
Join the newsletter
Subscribe to get our latest content by email.