We often presume that in order to connect ourselves and our children to nature, we need to do something big or go somewhere remote. What we often fail to realise, is that nature truly can be found right on our doorstep, whether it is in your garden or a walk around the neighbourhood, or in your local park. For the 30 days wild challenge organised by the Wildlife Trust , I have chosen ten easy activities to do with your pre schooler. These activities are really good as well if you have a baby and still want to do something with your toddler or older child, without necessarily leaving the house or going too far.
- Feel the grass between your toes– Can there be something more easier than this? All of my children love actually walking barefoot and interestingly there is a lot of research that suggests that walking barefoot is beneficial for your health.
- Tree-hugging- my three year old absolutely loves doing this. It’s one of his favourite things to do when we are out, whether its for a walk in the neighbourhood or a play in the park. Interestingly research shows that “hugging a tree increases levels of hormone oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for feeling calm and there is also evidence that “trees provide health benefits for metal illnesses such as ADHD and depression. In addition , children function better cognitively and emotionally when they interact with plants.” I really recommend the book “Trees to spot ” by Usborne Mini- it will help you to identify 60 trees and also has a chart with stickers.
- Bird watching– you have two options, you can either get some binoculars or just make some using good old toilet rolls and a string. Sit in a place where you can clearly see your garden and start bird watching. This is actually one of my favourite activities to do, because I can have a cup of tea in peace . I really recommend the Usborne Mini Book ” Birds to Spot”.
- Make a nature table– next time you are in your garden or in your local park, collect some treasures- feathers, leaves , pine cones, sticks, petals, anything that catches your child’s attention. Once back, just display it on a tray or a basket . We often have different ones throughout the seasons. Its a brilliant way to teach children about seasons in a practical way too.
- Have a picnic in your garden – prepare some fruits, vegetables, crackers and whatever else your child likes and just have a nice picnic outside. Grazing platters are fantastic for this .Make sure you involve your child in preparing the food too.
- Look for mini-beasts- see what garden bugs and wildlife you can find in your garden. I really recommend again the Usborne Mini Book ” Bugs to spot”. Also the Woodland Trust Nature detectives have fantastic printables on their website too.
- Make bird feeders- this is probably one of the messiest activities but it is so much fun. Collect a few pine cones, let your child, smother them with peanut butter and sprinkle some seeds- sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or you can buy the ready made available bird mix. This truly is a brilliant sensory activity to do- but be prepared for some mess.
- Organise a mini litter pick- you can invite some of your child’s friends and you can all go for a walk around the neighbourhood or your local park and pick up litter. We often do this and leave the litter pickers in our car boot, so its very easy to do this and needless to say great for the environment too.
Feed the ducks /swans
- Find a wildflower– next time you are out and about, see what flowers you can spot. The Usborne mini Book “Flowers to spot” is great for this and you will be able to identify over 60 different flowers . There is also a sticker chart at the end of the book.
I have written as well a blog post on some of our favourite and oft used nature books , so do check it out if you are looking for some new nature book recommendations –5 NATURE Book Series That Your Family Should Have