(Photo credit: Day Out With The Kids )
This kind of activity is something you can do throughout every season. Perhaps, in the snow and ice, might be less advisable though!
In the Spring, you can watch the flowers and trees begin to pick up as the weather turns. Insects find their feet, ready for the Summer. Colourful fields and walkways are often brimmed with flowers and trees whilst the birds begin to sing their cheerful choruses. Nature provides so much energy for us, especially due to the oxygen the trees provide. Fresh air is always considered healthy, and our beings are born to be surrounded by abundant nature.
When Autumn arises, like now, the leaves are changing colours, providing deep browns and auburn tones. It's truly beautiful, so why not throw on an extra jumper and embark into the damp woodlands and take in the natural beauty around us. Although the bees and wasps will be busy finding their hibernation for the winter, we can still find a few animals that bask in the cold temperatures, including squirrels and the infamous Robin with its distinctive red chest. Personally, I love a walk in the Countryside, the aspect of untouched scenery, peace and tranquillity is blissful.
In this particular article, I will discuss the ways in which you can introduce children to the wonders of nature as well as some fun activities you can conduct to help them fully feel the benefits and enjoy the outdoors, gaining their well-needed fresh air.
Some children love to carry a pencil and paper around on their walk, ticking off items they see whilst others prefer to be spontaneous, like asking the following question for example, ‘how many different types of flowers are there?’
There are a number of variations of the activity on Google and some are designed for specifics, such as flowers, trees and animals. It would be a great start to perhaps print off a few and let them choose which one they want to do, if not all! This will allow them to feel a part of something and provide that excitement factor into exercise as well. When their adrenaline takes hold and their mind begins to process the game, locating the whereabouts of the items on the list, they may even run to find them.
The game allows room for exploration and social engagement, especially in head-to-head challenges. Why not, join in and conduct competitive pursuits, such as: ‘The first one to find a squirrel, gets a bar of chocolate.’ The idea of a prize at the end, (whatever it is they love), provides them with determination to be the first. Though, if they sadly lose, it gives them the purpose of trying again until they succeed. This life skill is something the child will need to understand throughout their lifetime and so, what better way than to learn young?
*Pinterest is free to join.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/380483868527023786/
Nature Scavenger Hunt:
Sensory Scavenger Hunt:
Hide and Seek
This game is often categorised as a favourite with children. It was definitely one I loved, for sure. In the woodland, it is even better because there are so many open spaces and plenty of trees to hide behind in the process. This game allows them to engage in exercise and enjoy the ambience nature provides.
If your child loves capturing memories or being a little creative, why not purchase a disposable camera to capture their walk? There are some cameras which are definitely child friendly, to avoid any mishaps when they drop the camera for instance. Once you are home, you can go print out the images and look back on the fun outing. Children love to see what they have produced, and this might inspire them to take more walks, in different places just to capture those specific moments.
For the ones that harbour their inner craft skills, why not cut the images up and create a unique storyboard of the walk. This is a great activity and a good excuse to use scissors and glue, with adult supervision of course. Kids love being messy! A montage display of their walks is also a great idea to do, alongside a scrapbook; a collaboration of all the places they’ve embarked on throughout the year. It’s definitely something they can look back on and it may even inspire them to be a little more creative. Who knows, maybe they will want to go back during a different season to take comparison images to see how the woodland has changed?
Splash in Puddles
Children love to create a mess and there’s no better way to do it than them jumping in a muddy puddle. They are purely driven by the need for exploration and inquisitiveness. It allows their senses and motor skills to be incorporated too and this is beneficial in terms of child development. Their physical skills are heightened due to the slippery conditions, and this means the child must remain on their feet to avoid becoming completely sodden. Balance and gross motor skills are the main benefits when they partake in activities in rainfall or even just puddles post weather front. Though, of course, being out in the rain too long does mean they may catch a cold from wet attire, so it’s best to make the activity short-lived.
Why not join in and see who can create the biggest splash?
Nature Sensory Bin
This activity is perfect for those with Autism too as they love engaging in activities that help their sensory stimulus. It also allows you to learn what your child likes and dislikes in terms of appearance, smell and touch. It also gives the child the opportunity to learn about the aspect of forestry, especially in terms of animals, their life cycles and the difference in plants, especially throughout different seasons too. For example, the leaves on the trees in the Summer are green and often feel quite delicate to touch, but as the weather changes and it gets less warm, the leaves become autumnal shades and often feel crispy to touch. Sometimes, after rainfall, they can have that distinctive smell too and this can be picked up in the sensory box, especially if there is debris amongst the other items.
It is something that can be done in all weathers or seasons and in order to receive the best results it is best to do so. In summer you can pick up loose petals and grass cuttings which can harbour different smells compared to the other seasons for example. In winter, why not pick up an acorn or two and indulge in their smell and prickly exterior?
From myself, and Ducklings, we wish you a