Nature Play Ideas - only nature needed - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

Nature Play Ideas – only nature needed

| July 3, 2014 | 11 Comments

So, the Summer Holidays are upon us. The long warm days stretch ahead of us and the kids will be running riot. On our last holiday, we decided to take some books, pens & notebad, a pack of cards and nothing else. Our kids are 6yrs and 4yrs old. We brought no toys. We decided that we wouldn’t need any. And we didn’t. We had a great time together and we also had a great time exploring nature – seeing what nature items where in our local area and making up games and activities for what we could do with these “nature items”. Many of these nature play ideas can be “built” on once home and when you can add a dab of paint or a piece of string or glue. But, all of these ideas work “just as they are”, nothing but nature needed for lots of different play ideas. We took all the photos on my smartphone whilst on holiday. So really, these were “on the go” activities. I would say that the majority of the activities work well for 2yrs – 7yrs olds. There are a few for older kids too, but I would love to hear your thoughts!

12 Nature Play Ideas - having fun with nature items outdoors

There are huge educational benefits from these nature play ideas…

* Exploring nature (yes, obvious I know)

* Looking at textures

* Discussing weight and size and how things balance

* Agility and gross motor skills

* Fine motor skills

* Problem solving skills

For the majority of our nature play ideas, I have photographs, but I have added a few more to complete the list! Where there are photos, please do click through for more info!

Nature Play - 1 - Sorting & counting




Counting and sorting

Nature Play - 2 - Building Cairns

Cairn Building – great for any age group

Nature Play - 3 - Land Art

Land Art – explore Andy Goldsworthy Art…  – great for any age group

Nature Play - 4 - treasure hunt

Treasure Hunt – any age group

Nature play ideas - 5- Pine cone bowling

Pinecone Bowling

Nature Play - 6 - Sculptures

Construct ChallengeNature Play - 7 - Creative Play - Bee Hospital

Creative Play

Nature Play - 8 - Make music

Let’s Make Music

Nature Play - 9 - Playing Shop
Playing Shop

Additional ideas:

Discovery Box

Place all your nature items in a container or under a scarf/ towel – get your child to feel each item and guess what it is – for older kids this will be “easy”, for younger ones it is a great sensory experience. You can discuss how it feels in terms of texture – prickly or smooth, but you can also talk about whether it feels warm or cold, light or heavy, big or small.

Stick Mikado

Remember the game “Mikado”? You have set of 30-40 wooden sticks ( a bit like Kebab sticks), with colourful lines on them. You let them fall onto a table and you have to slowly and carefully pull out a stick at a time to gain points. The trick is not to disturb the other sticks lying down. Play a “giant” Mikado version with a pile of sticks on the beach or at the park! If you want to turn this into a “craft” once home, you can always add some colourful stripes for different points once home. A great game for honing fine motor skills, as well as practice counting and addition.

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Category: Nature, Summer

Comments (11)

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  1. jenny paulin says:

    so many fab ideas – thanks for the link permission x

  2. What a fab list. My kids love construction play. They once spent 2 hours in a field trying to construct a “badger trap” using several large sticks, a folding chair and an old net. Lovely.

  3. Edith says:

    LOVE IT!

  4. OOHH so many lovely ideas and they are all so simple, just making use of what is around you. I like the idea of a construction challenge and also making art.

    Thank you for linking up with our Summer Sandpit link up.

  5. Julia says:

    Hi Red Ted Art, I love your posts ,really gets the creative juices going, I am becoming very addicted to looking at at your page and website.

    Have you seen the landartforkids facebook page or the landartforkids web page? Richard and I run it together. Great to encourage children to get out and be creative. please have a look if you get a chance. Thank you

    Julia :-)

  6. Priya says:

    What lovely ideas!! My 4 years old loves collecting shells and cones and then comes up with innovative games.

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