Last week I shared five of our favorite outdoor activities for kids but as I wrote I remembered so many more I’d like to share. I couldn’t resist giving you a few more to try before your kids go back inside for school.
5 More Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
Daisy Chain Bling
My daughter loves any chance to wear jewelry. I remembered a game we used to play on recess as a kid and shared it with her. She is now rarely without flower “bling” while outside. Any flower that has a decent stalk can be turned into headbands, necklaces and bracelets. I like dandelions and daisies. Pick a long stalk and carefully make a small slit lengthwise with your fingernail. The slit must have stem above and below it for it to be strong enough to chain. Pick your next flower and thread it through the slit you have just made. Repeat until you have the length you want. (See pictures of the process here.)
Seasonal Sun Catchers
In my last post I described how to press plants and plant parts. You may have your children keep these in a nature journal, make wall art, and more. My kids especially like to make a few sun catchers for each season. Right now we’ll collect flowers and we’ll move on to leaves in the fall. After the plants have been pressed you’ll need the following:
- wax paper
- crayon shavings
- pressed plants
- adult help with an iron
Place newspaper on a firm surface. Lay out a sheet of wax paper, arrange your plants on top, and scatter crayon shavings over the whole thing. Place another sheet of wax paper on top and layer with another piece of newspaper. Iron the stack you have made until the crayon melts the sheets together. Lift off your newspaper, cut the sun catcher into your desired shape, punch a hole for string, and hang in your favorite window.
This game must be played in a park or on a piece of property with a running stream. Many animals come to drink in these wet areas and leave footprints behind. Our kids have greatly enjoyed getting to know more about these animals through their tracks. Take a drawing pad or camera with you. There are resources online, at your zoo, and in the library to compare your finds. Keep a journal of your findings as you play this game over the years.
Small kids especially love this one. Who doesn’t like to look for treasure? For this one you’ll need a flat pan (a small plastic kitty litter pan is perfect), a few scoops of garden soil, a kitchen strainer, a scoop of plain stone, and treasure of your choice. Put the treasure on the bottom of the pan and pour in your stone. Cover everything with garden soil and then fill up your pan with water. Give your child the strainer and have them scoop handfuls of the sediment in the bottom of the tray into the strainer. They’ll have to shake and rinse to get rid of the dirt. This is a fun time to talk about the history of the goldrush, or have a geology lesson. I’ve hidden marbles and small plastic dinosaur bones. By far, the biggest hit has been when I bought some small semi-precious stones and fools gold.
Garden centers are doing really well right now selling tiny bobbles for fairy gardening. You can collect your own building materials with a little imagination and a wild space in your backyard. A small section of bark can be a front door. Shingles may come from a pine cone and feathers or moss can become a carpet. Building a fairy house out of found objects and household glue will fill an afternoon with magic.
We place these creations under our trees and leave them for whatever creature may like a bit of shelter. They encourage imagination and wonder and keep my kids looking for just the right piece for a bed or lamp in every wild space they explore.
What fun things do you do outside to encourage your little one’s love of nature? Please share with us!