Guest post written by Kelly Roberts from Wild Kindy
As a child I was always spending time outdoors, climbing trees and making petal potions. Outside I was curious, learning calculated risks that connected to nature.
In the last month, our ‘normal’ lives have changed enormously. As our beaches, playgrounds and schools close we’ve needed to adjust our daily activities.
This substantial change can leave us and our children stressed and anxious.
Research shows that being immersed and connected to nature can reduce the effect of these emotions on our mind and body.
As parents, we need to encourage our children to get outside and explore their natural spaces, backyard or communal garden to find a sense of calm.
Here are a few activities to have your children engaged in nature play.
1. Frozen Nature Eggs
Recycle some rinsed Eggshells. Explore your garden for petals, leaves, gum nuts or herbs. Place in the eggshell and fill with water. Leave overnight in the freezer. The next day, peel the eggshell off and your beautiful frozen nature eggs will be revealed.
2. Build a Nest
Collect twigs, leaves and build a nest for an animal.
3. Bird Watching
Sit outside, watch and listen. What birds can you see? Kookaburra, Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet or a Cockatoo. You can download a printable ‘I Spy Birds’ worksheet here.
4. Colours of a Rainbow
Draw a rainbow on a piece of paper. Can you find all the colours in your garden?
5. Mud Monster
Mix dirt and water to a thick consistency and decorate using leaves, sticks or petals. You could also use clay or playdoh if you prefer.
6. Climb a Tree
How high can you climb? Remember to always have 3 body parts (e.g. two feet, one hand) touching a tree to reduce the risk of unbalancing.
7. Nature Bracelet
Loosely stick masking tape around your child’s wrist – sticky side out. Walk around your garden and decorate until no space is left on the tape.
8. Mud Kitchen
This doesn’t need to be fancy to be fun! Simply use different height logs, or planks of timber and add a variety of different size pots and pans. Add water, dirt, natural resources and let the kids create and explore.
9. Seasonal Tree
Draw the trunk and branches of a tree on a piece of paper. Decorate the tree and trunk with leaves and bark you find in the garden. What Season is it? Do the leaves or the bark change depending on the season
10. Lizard Lounge
Lizards love to lounge on rocks to warm up. Warmth recharges lizards so they can move and hunt. Can you build a lizard lounge in your garden?
11. Nature Name
Using sticks, leaves, feathers or pebbles, write out your name.
12. Build a Tower
Using Sticks, how high can you build a tower?
Using two recycled toilet rolls, stapled together. Decorate using flowers and leaves. Then let the fun begin.
14. Sensory Playdough
Combine 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup plain flour, 2 tbs cream of tartar, 1 cup water, 1 tbs oil, 3 drops liquid food colouring in a medium saucepan. Stir over heat until dough is pliable. Allow to cool. Add some of nature’s treasures for additional sensory experience. We like to use lavender or rosemary, but you could use petals or other herbs. After play, store in a well-sealed plastic bag or container.
15. Wombat Stew
Be inspired to make a ‘Gooey, Brewy, Yummy, Chewy, Wombat stew!
16. Bug Bingo
Wander around your backyard, peak under pebbles and leaves – what bugs can you find? We have a printable Bug Bingo card you can download.
We hope this list of activities has your family enjoying your backyard and connecting with nature.
For more ideas and activities check out how your kids can be ‘Naturally Learning’ at wildkindy.com.au
Nicole is a mum of two girls aged 6 and 4, made to order cook, cleaner, crafts organiser and family budget manager. In between cups of coffee, you will usually find her assisting a toddler with the toilet, cleaning food scraps off the floor and basically trying to keep her mini-me’s alive. She knows all too well that if you don’t keep them busy they will find their own busy-ness, by doing something mischievous!
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