Nature Activities

Mayhem and Messy Play #13: Kids Gardening Messy Play

Sunny weekends at this time are an invitation to get outside that can’t be resisted plus it’s time for some kids gardening messy play and sensory fun. Mom Ursula M recently posted a photo and a comment about gardening with kids. She said after spending some time showing her son about planting, Lucca“had dirt from head to toe and he loved every second.” She added it was one of the best parts of the day. kids gardening messy play

From a series of posts previously, here is a part about gardens and senses:

In a garden so many activities are touchy-feely. Hands get to dig in the soil, play with mud, find rocks, feel slippery earthworms and fuzzy caterpillars, and oh so gently touch plants. There’s the feeling of the outdoors from the soft breeze, the warm sun, and the cool water. Flowers and herbs are not the only things for smelling, but are probably what smell the best. Gardens are usually quiet places, so ears have to listen carefully. Hands pat the earth softly, the wind rustles the leaves, feet scrunch on the paths, and sometimes birds sing along.

Besides planting, digging is another great and messy gardening activity. While adults use big spades, kids can dig with smaller ones. They will use whatever is handy, be it sand shovels, plastic garden tools, diggers, or their hands. They might even like a turn with the big tools. When it comes time to add water, kids also love using hoses, pails, and watering cans. Water plus dirt makes for even more messy and sensory fun.

kids can help with yard work

While the freedom to make a mess is appealing, messy play also includes the freedom to explore and to question. What will happen to seeds in the ground? Will plants really grow?  How does a worm move? Where does the water go after dropping it on the ground? Adults know the water soaks into the dirt but it’s quite a mystery to kids. Apparently, kids ask over 300 questions a day! With so much to figure out about the world, it’s no wonder kids are full of questions.

kids garden play

Kids gardening messy play is just the start of a connection to nature. More than that, it’s a partnership with kids doing the planting and tending, and nature supplying the rest. Children learn they have a part to play in caring for nature’s gifts and that includes themselves. Will kids gardening messy play be part of your weekend?

 

Outdoor Classroom Day – Kids Need to Play and Learn Outdoors

Today is Outdoor Classroom Day all around the world because kids need to play and learn outdoors! Over one million children, in more than 52 countries, and almost 10,000 schools are involved so far. But they don’t have to be in school to have fun outside. You can do this at home or at a care center.

kids go wild for nature

Being outside has tremendous benefits. “Learning outdoors creates lasting memories, helps build a greater awareness of the environment, provides more opportunities to think independently, and gets children feeling challenged and excited by learning. Children are more active when they play outdoors. It is essential for their healthy development and enjoyment of childhood.” (Outdoor Classroom Day)

Following are some ideas for outside play:

  • Take a hike. This can be as short as down the street or a long walk in a park. Instead of a walk, it could be a bike ride or a scooter one. Sometimes, kids like to pull stuffies in a wagon.
  • If you are at a park, kids can kick a ball, run around, and roll down a hill.
  • Either you or the kids can blow bubbles and chase them around the yard.
  • Hunt for some nature treasures like rocks, flowers, pine cones, leaves, twigs, and berries. These can be made into a fairy soup.
  • Draw a hopscotch on the sidewalk or find one in a playground.
  • Swing, slide, and climb at the playground too.
  • Play in the dirt. Or the rocks, or puddles.
  • Fly a kite. Check the internet for some super easy ones you can make at home.
  • If it’s warm enough, turn on the sprinkler and let kids run thru it. This appeals to kids of all ages, and grownups too.
  • Have a race with your shadows. Who will win? Do you ever catch up to your shadow?
  • Look for critters hiding in the grass or under rocks and logs.

Not only are there benefits for being outside now, but also far into the future. “Children who have the freedom to play today—making friends, getting lost in the moment, having fun—are better prepared for whatever tomorrow throws at them. Playing helps children build friendships, test their own boundaries and solove their own problems.”   (Outdoor Classroom Day)

outdoor play activities

This doesn’t only help them enjoy childhood but life. Kids need to play and learn outdoors, and so do we. Will outside play be a play-of-the-day at your house or early care center?

 

Earth Day Forest Bath for Kids – Connecting to Nature and Trees

A marvelous idea for celebrating is to spend some time with trees, an Earth Day Forest Bath for kids and adults. Even if it means visiting a forest, a bath conveys the sense of being immersed in them, relaxing in the stillness and connecting our energy to the forest.

kids need more hiking timeIn Japan, Forest Bathing has been part of the national public health program for decades. It’s been proven to “lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.”

While this is for adults, children benefit too. The very young suffer from stress and anxiety. Childhood comes with attacks on the immune system as kids cope with all kinds of contagious challenges. Building a connection, a relationship to nature while they are young will support children for a lifetime.Finding a place with trees can be a challenge in urban areas. Parks are often the best option unless you can go to a wilderness area close by. Once you get to a place with trees, spend a minute or two with your child looking at them. Look down on the ground for pine cones. Then, look up. Do the trees go far up to the sky? Any spring blossoms?earth day activites for kids

Not all trees are the same. The leaves are different, but closer to the ground, the bark is too. Some trees have rough bark and some are smooth. Young kids won’t want to spend much time looking at trees, but feeling the bark is quite sensory. Trees with exposed roots can be a home for little creatures, real and imaginary ones. The branches and leaves may be sheltering a bird’s nest but nests are hard to see.

One of the most fun activities for kids is to climb a tree. Of course, this can be risky although it is magical, almost like being able to fly.

child climbing trees

In some areas, there may be tiny trees available for planting. Many commercial nurseries have specials on trees for Earth Day. This is wonderful day for connecting to nature. Will in include an Earth Day forest bath for kids and the rest of the family?

 

Magic Wishes for Preschool/Kindergarten: Kids Need More Nature Hikes

Kids need more nature hikes because…hiking time outdoors in nature changes our brains; it helps bodies, brains, and hearts for all ages, wee ones to grown ones. Q. Just imagine after St. Patrick’s or April Fools, you were somehow left with one wish or a magic wand. A sort of realistic one, but your wish … Continue reading Magic Wishes for Preschool/Kindergarten: Kids Need More Nature Hikes

Kids’ Nature March Into Spring – Time to Play Outdoors

To celebrate the day (finally!) how about a kids’ nature march into spring? Well, maybe more accurately a walk or run. No matter how kids move, the first day of spring is a call to go outdoors. Is there a playground in your area or a park? Besides sliding and swinging, a big, open space invites … Continue reading Kids’ Nature March Into Spring – Time to Play Outdoors

February Friendship #3: Kids Can Be Friends with Nature

February is friendship month and kids can be friends with nature. When we think about it, a connection to nature supports us for an entire life-time. This weekend, in our area, we got to experience both positive and negative aspects to nature. Snow started early Friday and hasn’t really quit now for 4 days. The … Continue reading February Friendship #3: Kids Can Be Friends with Nature

Do Like Groundhogs – Go Outside For Groundhog Day

Need something to do today? Kids and grownups can make like the creatures themselves and go outside for groundhog day. No matter the weather or prediction. We know kids need more outdoor and nature time. Need some ideas? Here are some we can do any day: Check out the sky. Any sun? Clouds can be … Continue reading Do Like Groundhogs – Go Outside For Groundhog Day

New Year’s Resolution Word W= Wild: 16 Ways Kids Go Wild For Nature

As a new year’s resolution, spending more time in nature benefits us all, kids and adults. Could you use some ideas on ways kids go wild for nature? 1. Go for a Run, Walk, or Hike. This is the simplest to do anytime. It could be a park or even just the neighborhood. Urban areas … Continue reading New Year’s Resolution Word W= Wild: 16 Ways Kids Go Wild For Nature

Nature Dragon Treasure Hunt for Kids

Usually, dragons have some kind of treasure to guard; a nature dragon would have outdoor treasure so let’s go on a nature dragon treasure hunt. Crowns are optional. There are so many different kinds of dragons. Some dragons are scary, some are helpful. Often dragons are mean and sometimes they are friendly. For homes, we … Continue reading Nature Dragon Treasure Hunt for Kids