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!
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!
Cairn Building - great for any age group
Land Art – explore Andy Goldsworthy Art… - great for any age group
Treasure Hunt – any age group
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.
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.