Continuing the inspired by nature challenge, here are ten ideas for engaging children to explore the great outdoors;
- Try bird watching: a set of binoculars and a visit to the library for a book of local birds and you are good to give it a go.
- Try ant watching: swap the binoculars for a magnifying glass and off you go. In my work I have seen children spend literally hours observing the behaviour of ants.
- What about a treasure hunt ‘nature style': make a list (with words and pictures for younger children) of things for your child to find outdoors. The possibilities are endless when you consider creatures, plant parts and elements of the natural landscape.
- Just add water: there are very few children who are not excited by water play, from stomping in puddles to watering the vegies to making moats or waterfalls in the sandpit.
- Teach your child to make daisy chains: have a competition to see who can make the longest.
- If you are lucky enough to live near a berry farm, what about berry picking. Yum!
- If your child loves to draw, why not make a special nature observation journal and take it outdoors with some coloured pencils or felt tipped pens (children love drawing with ‘grown ups’ pens, I have successfully used Artline fine markers with children from the age of two).
- If your child loves to paint, set up the easel outside for some beautiful, natural inspiration.
- For a special treat, head outdoors at night for some star gazing. A visit to a public observatory would be especially special.
- Choose a new outdoor environment to visit and explore – the beach (sand, dunes, rockpools, paddling and swimming), wetlands, bush, forest, rainforest.
Have you accepted the challenge? Nature play everyday, regardless of the weather. Share your own outdoor adventures from today in the comments selection below.