7 ideas to get kids into nature

Remember when you were a child you were constantly out and about, playing in the trees, being at one with nature? If the answer to this is yes, you will know that playing outdoors and enjoying nature is something that every child should experience. But with children spending more time indoors than ever before, you may be wondering how to get kids into nature more than they currently are.

It’s obvious, kids need fresh air, in fact we all do. Families who find ways to get kids into nature and involved with the outdoors will find a whole host of benefits, including improved conservation ethic, happiness, health, creativity and concentration.

If you are worried that your children are not getting outdoors as much as they should be and you are stuck for ideas on how to get kids into nature try a few of these suggestions:

Go bird-watching

Once your children have been introduced into birdwatching, their love of nature will naturally evolve. Birdwatching allows them to look at the ground, into the sky, and everything in-between.

Try and teach your children about the birds in the region, and in the back garden! Observe the colour, behaviour and sounds these feathered friends make. The next time you head outdoors bring along a pair of binoculars, and watch as they scour their surroundings.

If you want to attract more birds to your garden, investing in a good bird feeder, and some tasty bird treats will ensure they keep coming back for. As it is winter, laying out a couple of suet balls will give the birds an extra energy boost to help them thrive in the cold months.

Gather nature’s freebies

Help your child make the most of all that nature has to offer. Younger kids can gather pine cones, acorns, conkers and colourful leaves. If you live close to a beach, look for pretty shells and rocks on your walk. Bring them all home and keep them in a shoebox as part of a collection or find somewhere to display them. You could even do this as part of a scavenger/treasure hunt.

Get growing

Give your child their own patch in the garden or flowerpot. You can let them plant whatever vegetables, flowers and fruits they want. But fast growing plants such as basil, tomatoes or basil can can yield quick rewards. Teach them how to water plants and be careful not to over direct their gardening efforts.

Appreciate the seasons

In the UK, we are lucky to have such varied seasons. Look into the clouds and stare at the different shapes with your children. While we all love hot, sunny weather, don’t forget that this winter weather can be fun too. Dress your kids in the right gear and watch them play in the snow and jump into the puddles. You could even watch a thunderstorm from afar in your cozy home.

Bug catching

Kids are fascinated by insects, I know I was. Ladybirds in particular make perfect kid-friendly specimens. Armed with a magnifying glass and a small net, help your little bug catcher capture these little critters. Once caught, place in jar or container with some leaves and a couple of twigs. Make sure you punch a couple of holes through the container and replenish the leafs and twigs every couple of days.

Fruit foraging

A walk in the woods, or somewhere that produces local produce teaches children that food doesn’t just come from Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Ripened raspberries and blueberries are perfect for picking right off the branch. But beware of blackberries! As these delicious berries tend to be attached to a thorny stem. When you return from your foraging adventure, why not get baking? Make some jam or a cake and show them how nature’s loveliness can taste so good.

Use technology to your advantage

You can encourage your child to take a camera and take photos of interesting things they find out on their nature walk after which they could create a photo journal. We have also had lots of fun using Plant Identification apps which is a great way of not only getting kids into nature but learning about it too.

Do you do any of the above to help get your get kids into nature? What else do you do to encourage them to connect with the natural world? Do share in a comment below.

***Giveaway***

To help your children get the nature bug, we’ve teamed up with Learning Resources for a chance for one lucky reader to win a newly launched GeoSafari Jr. Talking Wildlife Camera (RRP £60) from Learning Resources.

.

Enter on our giveaways page 

61 comments

  1. Love love love this! I am always trying to grab the outdoors attention of my little man… even if it is sometimes met with tantrums (see comment on your other post!!) I think Autumn and Winter provide amazing walks and outdoor adventures for little people collecting leaves and such <3 love it!

  2. I think ita shocking that most kids stay inside on video games and TV i had noticed alot more kids dont seem to play out like i used to as a kid. My two little ones love taking walks and collecting leaves, looking at birds and we have tried to do some planting only in pots though as unfortunately we dont have a grass garden but we are searching to move as they love being outside.

  3. I am so lucky that all of my children love the outdoors, from walking in the countryside to going on a scavenger hunt, it is so important to get outside and explore x

  4. Food foraging and bird watching are our faves 🙂 Luckily, it doesn’t take much to convince T to go outside and explore since she loves it, even in the rain 🙂 x

  5. I think this is so important! I was lucky enough to have a nature reserve opposite my house so I did the bug catching and bird watching anyway but as in the city sometimes that’s really hard I think people need to make a conscious effort to go and do this kinds of stuff!

  6. Great tips to get the kids outdoors more. We have a dog so we get out a lot plus the kids love running. We start a new running challenge every year to run at least a mile everyday. That works great and my son has nearly completed his 2nd year, even though he up’ed it to 2 miles this year 🙂

  7. I can’t remember ever spending so much inside as a child like my nephew does now. I know times have changed and we are more aware of dangers but I was always on my bike or round others houses with friends x

  8. I was just talking to my husband about this! I miss the old times! I think during our times, there was less worry about playing outside. Our parents used to let us play on the streets without any fear of something bad happening! Now its like we constantly have to monitor their moves and with our hectic lives, we hardly get the time! But i love these ideas! i have to incorporate these in the daily lives so they spend more time outdoors than just watching television and gluing their eyes to the tablets.

  9. I can’t believe this stat. In the summer I’m always telling the boys to get outside and play, not on their iPads. I need to wrap them up warm in the winter and get them outside more.

  10. I agree it’s good to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air! We are always out and about. My 6 year old even has use of our greenhouse and his own little patch in the garden where he grows his own veg and plants. It’s always good to see a kid covered in mud and grass stains, now that is REAL playtime in my opinion 🙂 x

  11. We go outdoors everyday. I can’t imagine why other families don’t! But my mum works in a primary school and she mentions most days now how the ‘ipad generation’ has hit and it’s so different to teach now because the children find it so hard to focus and hate doing outdoor based activities. It’s crazy! I love all of these outdoors activities. We love foraging in particular! x

  12. Go bird-watching is a good one. We always make into a spotting hunt, as to what we can see whilst we are out for a walk.

  13. We have a local nature reserve, Pensthorpe, where we often go to. It’s great for bird watching. My girls love seeing and feeding the ducks there. My eldest is now really loving using binoculars to spot the birds.

  14. I’m going to try the bird watching – we like to do natural trails and treasure hunts in nature!

  15. We have been enjoying the birds in our garden much more. There are a number of regulars but we are delighted to see a little robin visit.

  16. We love going outdoors and collecting fir cones, acorns, conkers and leaves then the children use them for their crafts

  17. We have been bird watching in the garden and have been bug hunting before we have also done nature scavenger hunts which the kids loved.

  18. this is great for kids mental health, teaching them about the planet and eco awareness, plus lots of fresh air always healthy!

  19. We are very lucky as my son loves being out in nature. He loves the wide open spaces and being able to run as fast as he can.

  20. Both Daisy and Leo have small patches of ground that they cultivate during the summer and grow veggies. Also, we encourage them to save the seeds from things like lemons and pumpkins and to have a go at growing from seed. Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes not.
    Also, in autumn we always collect as many different shaped leaves as possible and press them inside books.

  21. Its so easy to be tempted to stay in as theres so much available online. I admit im guilty of taking the lazy option and staying in like that sometimes. I find having 2 dogs gives the family a nice incentive to get out and walk and spend time together

  22. I often think we were lucky as a child we use to have so much freedom in the village I grew up in. We would go to the mill and local stream fishing for sticklebacks and eels.
    It’s interesting ways to get the children out and about

  23. We do a few of these with our grandchildren we birdwatch, go bug hunting, we grow fruit and veg and get them involved in it and we bought them a microscope so that they could collect things and look at them through it.

  24. Love those ideas. We haven’t tried using technology in the garden yet so must do so. Starting while children are very young helps establish a pattern of enjoying the outdoors no matter what the weather.

  25. We go bird watching a great deal because we live in the countryside and we also grow our own vegetables together which the children love doing.

  26. My kids are obsessed with bugs, There are none too gross! We have been going on a lot of woodland walks recently and i think my kids might take an interest in bird watching.

  27. we love being outside and keep a selection of outdoor games and toys just for this , such as a football, bowls set and freebies, kids get fun and excise at the same time this way

  28. Wonderful giveaway. This would really encourage our grandson and granddaughter in their interest in nature.

  29. We collect things on our travels too, the children love making things with everything we find. We also go bug hunting.

  30. My children love to be helping in the garden, they both have helped from an early age with growing veg, important also to know how it get to our plates

  31. We have two local parks and have always taken the children there. Both parks have great wildlife areas and lots of squirrels.

  32. My 3 yr old granddaughter loves being outdoors. For her birthday I bought her some kidnoculars, a large magnifying glass and a magnetic scavenger hunt game. When she visits I take her to the nearby park which has a wood type area. She loves to find things on her scavenger hunt board. Last year I had to help her quite a bit. But this year I’m sure she will find most of them herself. She enjoys looking at things close up. She enjoys looking for conkers with her step brothers

  33. We are really lucky we live within the national forest so plenty of walks and fresh air for us. We love bird spotting and little ones like to also spot different leaves of trees

  34. Lots of great ideas here! We are lucky we have a large garden and also look after the school grounds living in the school bungalow, so we have lots of wonderful sights to see and explore!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.