15 Nature Activities For Kids

earth dayI don’t want to jinx it but we have been outside in the sun everyday for a week! In honor of our re-connection with nature I thought I would round up some of our favorite nature activities for kids in one handy place. I hope that no matter where you live that mother nature lets you get outside to explore these nature activities with your kids soon!

Beach In A Jar
Sticky Window Garden
Not A Stick Story & Activity
Painting With Nature
Backyard Photo Safari
Shell Sorting
Bird & Stick Collage
Find & Count Bug Hunt
Painting Outside
Sound Safari
Mud Soup
Shell Frame
Nature Color Hunt
Acorn Collage
Investigating Nature

Sticky Window Flower Garden

by Allison McDonald
Sticky Window Flower Garden for Toddlers

Like many of my activities this sticky window was spur of the moment. I was trying to get ready for our family trip to Texas and my 2 year old had already watched more TV than I care to admit. We needed an easy and fun activity . This was perfect. I had a bouquet of flowers that I was going to have to throw away before we left anyway so it was even better that we could use it for this. If you don’t have a bouquet of wilting flowers on hand you can use leaves, grass clippings, pine cones, etc… Go on a nature walk and see what will stick!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, painter’s tape, scissors and flowers or other bits of nature.  I used markers to make some stems and the start of the mural but it was totally NOT needed. I wish I had not done this. The flowers and sticky window is enough.  I would have put up another sheet of contact paper but it’s expensive and my daughter was waiting. sticky window flower garden for toddlers 2
  2. Tape the contact paper on the window. The way I do this is to peel a little bit back and tape the top. sticky windowThe sticky side is facing YOU.  The carefully peel the backing off. Tape all the other sides down with the painter’s tape. sticky wall 2
  3. Prep the flowers in a bowl or container for your child.  My daughter loved just playing with the flowers , pulling them apart and investigating. I loved watching her. sticky wall flower activity for toddlers
  4. Stick the flowers on. sticky window garden craft for kids She was totally into this flower sticky walland  it was such  pretty addition to our kitchen. sticky window 33

Painting With Nature – Simple Summer Crafts

art for kids Summer time is about being carefree, not worrying about the schedules that hold us back and the deadlines…. well that is what I wish summer was. Really it’s only sometimes like this but the day we made this it was.  My son was playing with the neighbors and I grabbed this huge piece of card board, some paint and called them to the drive way. We had three kids 2, 5 and 7 years old all completely engaged , here is the super simple how to.

  1. Gather your materials. All you need is something to paint, paint, and a yard to find potential tools. Spread out some paint. We used a huge piece of cardboard but you can do this on a much smaller scale too. kids crafts
  2. Tell the kids to find things to paint with.
  3. Paint! Both big kids went straight to the pine tree and made prints. crafts for kids
  4. My 2 year old sat down in the paint with a rock and explored.
  5. They grabbed hydrangeas summer crafts and snap dragons .paiting with snap dragons
  6. Whipped paint with ferns.
  7. Made cool leaf and flower prints.
  8. Made a huge happy mess.summer arts and crafts

This was such a fantastic open and free art activity and seeing their faces light up as they said ” Oh I have an idea!” before running off to the yard to come back with a snap dragon or maple leaf was exhilarating. My 2 year old was covered in paint. I couldn’t get a picture because she grabs for the camera and I was worried she’d grab the lens. The paint soaked through her pants all the way to her diaper. She was in heaven.  Memories were made with such a simple summer activity!

 

Mud Soup – Outdoor Sensory Pretend Play

outdoor sensory play Once nice weather makes it our way in the Seattle area we run outside and stay until the rains come. We have been playing outside a lot and I needed something that both kids could be engaged in so I wasn’t trying to watch one outside while the other was inside . This was the ticket , you will see that they weren’t doing the same thing at the same time but everyone was happy and I sat in the sun listening to giggles under a blue sky. Pretty perfect, of course I had to strip them both down at the door so my carpets weren’t ruined but that’s the price you pay for fun. As you will see there was lots of learning happening too.

Gather your materials. We grabbed a bunch of different sized containers, some spoons, shovel and bucket.  We have raised beds in our yard with soil in them so we used that too.dirt soup outdoor play
We dug some dirt.
They got water together
And that’s when we lost my wee girl. She decided she’d play with water – and drink a lot of it.outdoor play
My son was deep in mud soup making.  He soon noticed that if he put the dirt on the water it sank. We talked about why while my daughter continued to drench herself at the tap.outdoor play
He counted and added bits of weeds, leaves, flowers, rocks, clovers…outdoor play
Then pretended to give it a taste before adding a little more of this or that.outdoor play for kids
Oh look who came back to see what we were up to. She finally joined in adding dandelions and water.mud pie play
Then I sat watching them play soaking up the giggles.

What’s your favorite outside activity with your kids?

Not A Stick – Story & Creative Activity

Guest Post by Deborah J. Stewart, M. Ed. of Teach Preschool

I have been following No Time for Flash Cards for a very long time now and one thing I know about Allie is that she loves a good quality children’s book. So I thought I would share a fun little book we recently explored in my preschool classroom

The title of the book is “Not a Stick” by Antoinette Portis. The book is very simple to read and the basic idea is to get children’s imaginations going by imagining the stick in the book is anything but a stick!

As a class we have read this book at least three times and now as I read the book, the children shout out what the stick will be next! “It’s a fishing pole!”

After we read the book for the second time, I had the children go outside and gather sticks from our play yard…

As you can see, there is no shortage of sticks in our “play yard!” Once the children had selected a few sticks, we came back inside and each child taped their sticks to their own large sheet of paper…

The children then used crayons and their imaginations to turn the sticks into something that was “not a stick”…

This process was simple for the children and yet challenging too! The children tended to draw random lines around the sticks and talk about what they were making. When the children had finished their drawings, I had each child dictate to me a story about their stick. We started the story with, “It’s not a stick. It’s a….” and the children had to complete the sentence…

Our sticks turned out to be alligators, spiders, circles, swords, and more. A process like this is simple yet promotes great opportunity for story telling and imagination!

Whether you are a parent or a teacher, I would love to invite you to stop by Teach Preschool and see some of the other books and activities I share on my blog that young children will enjoy both at home or in the classroom!