connecting to nature

Simple Summer Nature Fun for Kids – Let’s Celebrate Summer!

Summertime and the livin’ is …outdoors, I hope, especially because kids need nature time! Let’s head outside for some simple summer nature fun today. Wherever your family lives, dress for the weather, be it boots and umbrellas or hats and sunscreen.

simple summer nature fun

1. One of the simplest outdoor nature activities is to check the weather. Open the door and go outside. Look up at the sky and down at the ground for clues. Feel the air with your body. As you put out your hand, say hello to nature and wave.

simple summer nature fun

2. A walk around the block can be an adventure quest. What’s there to see? Sometimes, nature hides in hidden pockets in city spaces, but somewhere there will be grass, trees, and flowers. Ants might be crossing the sidewalk. Turn over a rock to see if there are any bugs and crawlie creatures. Besides eyes, use hears to listen for nature too.

connecting to nature picnic3. Time in nature is food for the mind and the soul. Pack some food for the body and go for a picnic outside.

kids nature collections4. A nature collection is one way to bring nature home. Some things to collect could be rocks, shells, sticks, and plants. This is a photo of a young boy who lives near the ocean and finds bones!

blanket forts outside5. Make a blanket fort outside. Since this is the longest day of the year, it’s also the shortest night. How soon is the sun up where you live?

simple summer nature fun

Backyards and parks are giant trunks with nature gems and other treasures for some simple summer nature fun. And the key? Just some T.I.M.E.

Have you heard the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’? According to writer and researcher, Jackie W,.”it may also be worth a thousand vitamins, especially if the picture is a photograph of a beautiful, old-growth forest. In addition to healing faster, natural views improve your body’s ability to ward off colds and viruses. (13 Reasons That Prove Viewing Nature Scenes Can Improve Your Health)

If just seeing pictures of nature has a positive impact on all aspects of health, how many more vitamins is actually spending time in nature? Richard Louv, who first wrote about nature-deficit disorder in children, calls nature Vitamin N. In his book, Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature Rich Life, Louv reminds us kids need regular doses of this vitamin. Daily ones, preferably. Did you know that kids are now spending less time outdoors than prison inmates? Even prisoners think that is a depressing statistic.

Spending time outdoors can be spontaneous or planned, and best of all, easy and simple. What will you do for some simple summer nature fun?

Play ideas are shared everyday on the 123kindergarten blog.

Fairy Nature Soup- Fairy and Elf Activities #10 for Boys and Girls

Fairies, elves, gnomes, sprites, pixies, leprechauns, and other mythical creatures all live in the heart of nature, so they love fairy nature soup. Let’s make some.nature soup

The recipe for fairy nature soup is simple. It starts with something to make the soup in like a bowl, pail, or pot. If there isn’t one available, no worries; kids will make the soup on a stump, piece of wood, log, or rock. They could dig a small hole in the ground or find something in the recycling basket.

Ingredients in fairy nature soup depend on what’s available. Finding items is like a treasure hunt as kids add rocks, leaves, twigs, grass, flower petals, berries, shells, feathers, pinecones, and other objects. Puddles can contribute water. A little water added to dirt makes mud to hold it altogether.

Just like real cooking in the kitchen, fairy nature soup can be different every time. The basic recipe can also be used to make fairy pie, cake, stew, cookies, or whatever else kids imagine. Come to think of it, we could say imagination is a necessary ingredient.

This really short video shares the reaction of prison inmates to the statistic that kids spend less time outdoors each day than prisoners. According to a United Nations mandate, prisoners are allowed an hour outside every day. Many adults spend far less time than both prisoners and kids. How did we end up so divorced from nature?

A special spice in this fairy nature soup is the connection to nature. Like any other relationship, it develops when we spend time together. When we do take the time to look around, nature has such an abundance of gifts in all colors, sizes, and shapes. Gone is the time when we can send our kids outside and call them in for meals. Instead, we have to nurture children’s relationship to nature. Isn’t this simple activity one all kids can do?


Fairy Nature Walk – Give a Little and Take a Little

A favorite weekend activity for the kids is to go for a fairy nature walk. In a park nearby there is a path thru the trees with some fairy doors. We have to stop at each one and knock.fairy nature path

We live in an area that gets lots of rain. Parkland and undeveloped areas have trees that are thick and tall. Paths thru the trees are shaded and quiet, just right for finding fairies. Someone quietly made a couple of fairy doors and attached them to the trees. Over the years, a few more doors have appeared. The kids know it’s because more fairies have moved into the area. To mark the path, there are bits of sparkly confetti  or shiny rocks in a few strategic places.fairy nature path

What names would you give fairies? The doors are all different, obviously hand-made, and some have names, like Ember and Sparkle. Above one of the doors is the message, “Give a little, take a little.” Kids love to open the door and see what small treasures are inside. They learn they need to give something and not just take. fairy nature path

Surprisingly, the kids are every bit as excited about what they will put in their pockets to leave in the hollow of the tree as to what they will bring home. They like to check and see if what they left last time has been chosen by somebody else. We might think kids are learning the lesson to both give and take, but perhaps, they are also teaching us how good it feels to give without knowing what we will get in return.fairy nature path

Besides the fun and excitement of the fairy doors, the time along the paths and in the trees feels so renewing. Both adults and kids are impacted by stress. Time in nature reduces stress and restores a feeling of balance and well-being. Life seems to take so much and doesn’t give a lot back. A connection to nature can replenish what we need. For that, we don’t even need fairy dust or doors. Can your weekend include a fairy nature walk, with or without the fairies?

Come take the path to play on the blog at 123kindergarten.


Fairy and Elf Activities #3 for Boys and Girls: Looking for Fairies in Nature

Looking for fairies is a favorite outside activity of both boys and girls. Who wouldn’t love discovering the imaginary world hiding in the real one? Once kids are dressed for the weather, they only need to tuck imagination into their pockets and they can head out to look for fairies, elves, and other creatures. Is … Continue reading Fairy and Elf Activities #3 for Boys and Girls: Looking for Fairies in Nature

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 … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #13: Kids Gardening Messy Play

Mayhem and Messy Play #5: Messy Mud Play and Learning

Messy mud play and learning tops a bucket list of activities for kids. Like a right of childhood, kids deserve the opportunity to get covered with mud. The good news is kids are wash and towel dry. (Washing machines and rocks aren’t great friends, so make sure you check pockets and rolled up hems before … Continue reading Mayhem and Messy Play #5: Messy Mud Play and Learning

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. In Japan, Forest Bathing has been … Continue reading Earth Day Forest Bath for Kids – Connecting to Nature and Trees

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