Spending time outdoors as a family is a great way to not only spend quality time but also get moving. With plenty of sunscreen in the summer and bundled up in the winter, spending time in nature is associated with improved mental health. Check out today's post for a list of activities for families to do together outside.
Hiking is a great way to get your kids outside and teach them about nature while prioritizing physical activity. With so many different types of hikes to choose from, you can find one that is a good fit for your family.
Day hikes and weekend getaways are a great way to start hiking with your family. You can start with unpaved trails in your local town to introduce your children to hiking in a low stakes setting.
explore the beach
Whether you're spending the day at the beach or you live close by, beach exploration throughout the year is a great way to introduce your children to a unique environment.
Collect lots of shells, then sort them by type, order them by size, or use them for math activities in the sand!
Ask your child what they see, hear, smell, and feel.
Using different buckets, mix sand with different amounts of water and talk about how they feel different and how they make different looking castles depending on the density.
Look up resources from the local beach for information about marine life and the coast's features, and incorporate into your beach exploration.
Scavenger hunts get your kids moving while also stimulating their brain. You can use drawn or written clues depending on how old your kids are, and you can do the scavenger hunt in a garden, your yard, park, or nature trail.
You can find a scavenger hunt worksheet online or make your own. For fun ways to adapt this activity, like making a nature bracelet using found (non-living) items and masking tape, check out this post.
You can set up a treasure hunt by hiding clues and the final treasure. Clues can be simple drawings or written clues. This activity is great for kids of all ages because it's all about looking for something and then finding it (exciting!) while encouraging children to use their mind, be active, and explore.
Note that for younger kids, a scavenger hunt may be more appropriate (and less frustrating). For older children learning to read, clues with drawings and writing (with your help) can make it educational. You can also draw a simple map of the park showing landmarks (like the slide and water fountain).
Check out this post for tips on how to plan and have a treasure hunt.
Your garden can be an outdoor classroom for your kids to not only teach them about how we get our food but also teaching them about dirt, plants, and bugs. There's something to do in the garden almost year-round!
In the spring, start seeds. Use larger seeds for small children, like peas, beans, sunflowers, squash, and nasturtium which will germinate and grow quickly. Track plant growth together, and for older ones, measure plant growth and do experiments like comparing growth under different lights and watering amounts.
Kids Gardening has a list of easy garden activities for kids by age, including seed viewers, leaf and flower prints, and kitchen scrap gardening.
Check out ideas on how to create a small kids garden and how growing their own vegetables can help picky eaters try new things.
Obstacle courses are a great way to challenge your little ones and relieve boredom, whether inside or outside. Pretend to be spies or action characters and put together a 'spy training camp' or use garden planters and other items outside to make a backyard obstacle course.
Use sidewalk chalk to improve upon hopscotch and include directions and actions for each point. Actions include dancing, jumping, hopping, turning around, hopping on one foot, walking backwards, going backwards, etc. You can include a 'break' activity as well, like 'high five to the sky', 'make a wish', 'say your name', etc.
Adapt the obstacle course to your kids age, from crawlers to young kids to older kids.
More ideas here, like yarn obstacle course and pool noodle obstacle course.
With so many different types of nature walks, you can find one in your community or make your own that is sure to appeal to you and your family. Whether you take the same forest path each day or try a new route in your paved neighborhood, there is something new to see each time.
The only thing you need to do to prepare is be ready to explore with your child and go at their pace. You can have a 'theme' for your walk, like a "leaf walk", "listening walk", or something else. Check out the link above from Our Montessori Home for 7 types of nature walks for you and your kids.
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