nature play activities

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.

kids water play

World Oceans Day Inspires Kids’ Water Play – Ways to Play

Not all young, preschool children will have had to play at the ocean, but they love water, so how about kids’ water play to celebrate World Oceans Day?play with sticks

The aim and intention of World Oceans Day is to raise awareness of the role of oceans on the health of the entire planet. Oceans impact our own health and well-being and we need care for them and the life they contain. One way we can do this, is to help children develop a relationship with nature and water.kids water play

Most of the areas on Earth where we live will have ‘wild’ water in some form, such as a creek, stream, river, pond, or lake. With some extra attention for their safety around water, we can likely think of a place where we can take kids to play. A favorite activity is to simply throw rocks in the water. The ripples and kerplunk are fun to see and hear. Splashing in the water stimulates the sense of touch and we can feel drops of water spray with fingers and skin.kids water play world oceans day

Take a few minutes to look down into the water. What do you see? Are there any plants or animals? What color does the water appear? Looking into the shallow areas kids can sometimes spot plants on the ground under the water and, perhaps, a few minnows or other creatures. If possible, scoop some water into a clear container for a closer look.take dad outside for fathers day

Check out how the water feels. The temperature will vary depending on the depth of the water and the weather. Water feels colder on toes than it does on fingers. If you are visiting a place with waves, toes love to see how close they can get to the incoming water without getting wet. Some waves are much bigger than expected, so it’s important to be careful.kids water play ocean waves

What will your family do for World Oceans Day? Will it inspire some kids’ water play?

Q. What did the ocean say to the shore?
A. Nothing, it just waved!

 

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.

kids can be friends with nature

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 kids went sledding down a big hill at the school, made snow angels in the front yard, rolled down a small slope in the backyard, and made several snowmen. They also ran around the paths of a Fox and Geese wheel and with their dad’s help built a snow fort. For a snowball target, they used a hula hoop set upright and tried to throw them thru the circle. Sometimes they missed and caught each other. Thankfully, the snow clothes dried on the registers overnight so they will be ready for more snow play today.

The negative aspects were having to shovel the driveways and sidewalks several times and some slips and falls. Fingers and toes got pretty cold but a hot bath and some hot chocolate helped with that.

Your area may not have the snow for nature play, (you can be glad if you don’t) but you will have something else. Just being outside is a start. Check out the sky above and ground below. Clouds are never the same as the day before. What’s the temperature? Is there any breeze? A quick glance near our feet may reveal something alive and growing, either plants or small creatures. There could be a patch of sun on the sidewalk or a puddle on the path. playing in puddles

This advice is from the side GreenHeart Education: Helping children to make friends with Nature is something we must do when they are young, in order to give them a lasting sense of comfort in and connection to the natural world, and a deep understanding of their place within it. (Make Friends with Nature)There are some great ideas for ways kids can be friends with nature, including making playdates for nature just as we make them with other friends. How can your child play with nature today?

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

Fall Nature Treasure Hunt – Golden Moments of Time

Fall has its own special treasures and a fall nature treasure hunt comes with some we don’t see, like a connection to nature and golden feel-good moments. On a scavenger hunt, there is usually a list of things to find. These could be specific items like pine cones and seeds, or things to go with … Continue reading Fall Nature Treasure Hunt – Golden Moments of Time

Before I Go to Kindergarten #4: Time in Nature for Young Children

Time in nature for young children will impact their days at home and at school or daycare. So much so that our kids need some outside time every day. For most of human history, we have had far more time outside than we do now. This divorce from nature has really happened in just one … Continue reading Before I Go to Kindergarten #4: Time in Nature for Young Children

Bubble Activities #11:  Chasing Bubbles Nature Time

In only one generation, children have been separated from Nature. For a simple but magical activity, kids can have some chasing bubbles nature time. Part of the fun of blowing bubbles is then chasing and trying to catch them. Outside, in a backyard or park, kids will also catch nature. On a calm day, the … Continue reading Bubble Activities #11:  Chasing Bubbles Nature Time

A Daily Dose of Outdoor Time for Young Children

A popular author, Richard Louv has another great resource to encourage outdoor time for young children-Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. The book includes 500 ways for families to spend time in nature. In the space of one generation, kids have become divorced from nature. They no longer spend most of their … Continue reading A Daily Dose of Outdoor Time for Young Children