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I am not an outdoor girl. But I do want my kids to grow up loving nature and spending time outdoors. So I put on my big girl pants and head outside, as long as it’s not too hot or too cold. I am not a fan of extreme weather. We will go out in the snow and rain though.
Top 10 Tips for Exploring Nature with Littles
1. Have a Goal
When heading out for a nature walk or just for some exploring, have a goal in mind. A lot of times we will read a book then head outside with a purpose that relates to the book.
During our All About Me Theme, we read My Many Colored Days. We spent some time making faces in the mirror and talking about different emotions.
I asked Sicily if she could think of anything outside that we could use to make a face. She listed leaves (or “bleeev” as she says it), rocks, and sticks. So I handed her the bucket and said “Let’s go!”
We spent about 30 minutes just exploring the backyard and placing things in our bucket that we could use to make faces. When we came in I set up an invitation for her to use her collection to make different faces on a large wood cookie.
2.But Not Always
It’s great to have a goal, but it’s also great to not have a goal. Just step outside and see where nature takes you!
3. Just Play
Just being outside playing is enough. Go to the park, go swimming, or just play in the backyard. Build a fort, make mud pies, and squirt the littles with the hose.
4. Take Learning Outside
Rocks make great surfaces for writing numbers and letters on to use for spelling or counting. Use rocks, sticks, and acorns to build letters and shapes. Measure sticks and weigh rocks. Explore shadows, rainbows, and habitats. Simply sit and read outside.
5. Be Creative
Take art outside. I recently moved our art supplies to a cart with wheels so I can push it outside. Sicily loves when I tape easel paper to the fence for painting.
Hand your little one a paintbrush with some water to paint the house or encourage them to create a design using rocks. Lay a mirror on the ground with some paint and let your little one paint the sky on the mirror.
6. Bring Nature Inside
Bring your collections inside to explore. We have found a dead dragonfly, snake skin, and really cool leaves that we brought in to lay on our shelf. I like to lay the microscope and magnifying glasses next to the nature items for Sicily to explore on her own.
7. Let Them Lead
When going for a nature walk, let your little one be the leader. Let them go first, go at their pace, and stop to explore when they see something interesting. Let their curiosity drive the walk.
8. Just Listen
Sit down in an open field or the middle of the woods to just listen. This is a great way to develop mindfulness. Talk about the sounds you hear. What could they be?
9. Get Dirty
Nature is not clean, so you can’t expect your kids to stay clean while exploring nature. Besides, getting dirty is good for the immune system! Kids are 100% washable!
10. Create a Nature Bag
Have a bag ready to go for on the spur trips to nature. Keep tweezers, a flashlight, and a magnifying glass for exploring. Have a camera and drawing materials to take notes and record memories.
Get outside and enjoy nature…even if it’s not your thing!