Put A Lid On It !

Nature Jar!

Toddlers and Preschoolers love to find things, this activity uses that natural curiosity and combines it with some fresh air ! We went to a nearby beach but you can do this at a park, forest or even your own backyard!

  1. Gather your materials. All you need is a glass jar and somewhere to discover nature!
  2. Start finding things to put in your jar. My son thought this clam shell was pretty cool but it was too big! I like to put a layer of sand or grass in first and then put larger things on top. With older children I would set out a mini scavenger hunt ( find 3 rocks, 5 leaves, 4 shells…) , toddlers will have a blast just picking things up and popping them in the jar.
  3. I tried to find all different shells, pointing out what color they were to my son, but he was more interested in rocks! Still I was shocked how well he walked along the beach searching for rocks to pop in!
  4. Keep going until the whining or in our case the rain starts.
  5. Pop the lid on and take the nature home with you to recount your day later!

* Recounting an activity is a great thing to do with your child, it is actually a very important skill and is important for early literacy , so sit down even with toddlers and pull out your jar and talk about what you did at the beach/park !


  1. Jen says

    I just wanted to let you know that I love this blog. My baby is almost a year old now, and I am so excited to try these activities when she gets just a little older! I especially like the books you include. Soon we’ll have to go to the library weekly and stock up!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Michie says

    I think your son looks adorable in that hat! I really like this idea – and I happen to have some mason jars that I didn’t know what to do with – maybe nature jars would be a good idea!

    To recount what you did when you get home, you could also take some pictures of your child collecting things, and make a little book out of it when you get home. You could glue on some of the things you found, and call it, “Our Day At The Beach” or something. Then you can “read” the story together another time.

  3. Allie says

    Thanks Jen!

    Michie, that is a wonderful way to recount the activity, I may have to steal it for the next field trip activity post!

  4. Michie says

    Allie –

    That’s the special ed teacher in me. :) I’ve found what I’ve learned in school for SPED often helps with my three year old too. :) I tried the nature jar yesterday in the backyard with her. We collected a jar full of dandylions. :)

  5. Allie says

    I had a pot full of dandelions about a month ago, he loved that too!

    All the classes I took in SPED have come in handy teaching and mothering for sure!!

  6. Jan says

    Please use a plastic container….my sister fell with a glass jar. Surgery to remove piece of glass so close to her heart. Fun activity but lets do it safely.


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