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Getting children involved with nature

Getting children involved with nature
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If you’re looking to encourage your child away from the games console and into the great outdoors, then a nature project could be just the thing. As well as getting fresh air, educating about wildlife and having fun, a nature project can be a great way to spend quality time with the kids. Here are some of The Working Parent’s favourite ideas for where to start.

Bird watching

One of the simplest nature activities you can do is bird watching. You don’t need to know all their different names to be fascinated by what they do. Watch them find food, build nests or take a bath. Young kids especially will find this enthralling. It can be done locally too and you can even encourage birds into your own garden by offering food and shelter. Feeders are easy to make with children or you could buy them from a garden centre or pet shop.

Forest walks

Forests are abundant with things that capture the attention of children. While a walk might not sound all that appealing, once they’re there they will find all sorts to pique their interest. Take home pinecones, leaves, chestnuts and small pieces of tree bark to paint, spray make rubbings of.

Beachcombing

Even if the sun isn’t shining, the beach can be a fun place for a day out. Get wrapped up and take a pail to collect shells and pebbles. Find some rock pools to explore and discover crabs and other sea creatures. You could even turn it into a treasure hunt by giving kids a list of items to check off when they find them.

Getting children involved with nature

Creepy crawly hunt

It may not be your idea of a grand day out but young kids love to get up close to all sorts of creepy crawlies. Give kids a magnifying glass and send them off to look in plants and flowers. Bugs like to be in dark, damp places so lift up rocks and leaves to see what you can find lurking underneath. Make sure you put everything back and leave their homes just how you found them.

Rainy days

Just because it’s pouring outside doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. Don your wellies and some waterproof gear and get out there. Splash in puddles, see how many wriggly worms you can find, measure how much rain is falling and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for a rainbow.

Start a journal

A journal is a brilliant way to let your child process what they’ve experienced or learned. Encourage kids to write descriptions, explain what they enjoyed most, draw pictures and glue in photos that they’ve taken or small pieces they’ve brought home. Keeping a journal develops other skills without kids realising they’re practising writing and spelling and will encourage them to keep up their new hobby.

Tips for making the outdoors fun

It may seem obvious but dressing appropriately will make your adventures much more fun. Plan your outfits according to the weather and don’t wear anything that you’d mind getting dirty. The important thing about getting close to nature is to enjoy yourselves. Try not to plan every single thing that you do when you’re out and about. Let your child take the lead and you might end up having a ball going along with all the ideas they come up with.

 

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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