Spring is definitely here. Time to head outdoors and have a little fun! Here are a few ideas on how to get your little ones away from the TV and develop an appreciation for the outdoors:
- Take a walk and enjoy the color! Talk about all the colors you find in nature. Look at the different leaves, flowers, insects, rocks, and birds. Explain that flowers are brightly colored to attract bees and butterflies. Explain why attracting pollinators is important (without pollinators plants wouldn’t grow). Help your child understand the importance of color in nature. Color can help camouflage, attract, or even act as a warning that a plant may be poisonous!
- Find a nice quiet spot and listen to all the different sounds. Spread out a blanket and sit quietly. See how many different bird songs you can hear. Do you hear any other animals? Maybe a twig being snapped by a deer or the scuttle of a squirrel in the leaves. Do you hear any insects or frogs? This quiet activity will help your child appreciate their surroundings, promotes relaxation and develops the senses.
- (My daughter’s favorite activity!) Dig for worms! Get out in the garden or other small patch of dirt and start digging. Explain to your child how worms are an important part of healthy soil. Talk about how worms move through the dirt, eating and digesting organic matter as they go, making the soil rich and fertile. Have your child pretend to be a worm, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle!
- Go on a bird hunt! See how many different birds you can spot. What colors are they? Are they big or small? Are they in a tree, bush, or on the ground? Are they singing? Talk about how you can attract birds by setting up feeders, birdbaths and birdhouses. Assist your little one in setting up a small bird habitat so you can enjoy bird watching everyday! If you don’t have a yard to build a habitat consider hanging a small feeder or a hummingbird feeder outside a window.
- Develop the inner artist in your little one. Go online and show your child some images of nature sketches (think John James Audubon). Then grab a small sketchpad and head outside. Spend some time quietly sketching your surroundings. Encourage your child to observe the shapes of the leaves and flowers. What types of textures do you see? This activity is more about observation skills than the artwork itself!
Source: For even more great ideas check out the book, I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward.