Exploring the outdoors with your kids is a great idea for lots of reasons. As well as improving your bond and opening their eyes to nature, it’s an ideal first step for educating them about the environment and our role in taking care of it.
There are so many nature adventures that you can enjoy with your kids. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Fun nature adventures to try with kids
Bird watching can be a fun and educational activity for children. You can visit local bird sanctuaries to see the different kinds of bird species that live in your area. If you do this, it’s a good idea to take a list of the common birds in your area with you, to make it easier for children to identify them. You could find one online, or buy a spotters guide aimed at kids.
Another option which is particularly relevant right now is to bring the bird watching activity into your home. To do this you can install birdhouses in your outdoor space. You can build your own birdhouses, or choose something like these Finch bird houses for sale online to save you time and effort.
Providing a source of food and water in your garden will also encourage wild birds to visit. You can buy bird feeders, or have fun with the kids making homemade bird feeders. A bird bath can be as simple as a shallow saucer in a quiet spot that cats can’t reach.
Once your garden is setup to welcome wild birds, kids can start to observe the different species that visit. A nice idea is to create a wildlife diary where they can record their findings, and perhaps draw some pictures or make a bar chart.
Incorporate nature into art
This activity is a lovely way for children to explore their artistic side while also teaching them about nature. Finding beautiful flowers or leaves and pressing them is a good place to start. Once your nature treasures have dried you can use them to create artwork; they work really well in collages, on bookmarks and on greetings cards.
Another thing you can do to get creative with nature is stone art. Stones can be used to create temporary art outdoors, or you can paint rocks to create paperweights or simple games like noughts and crosses.
For older children, photography is a great artistic way to make a record of nature without removing any of it. You could suggest projects such as taking the same picture in each different season, making a study of a particular flower or tree, or learning about the effect of natural light on a nature scene.
When it comes to nature adventures, camping is one outdoor activity that kids really love (and these tips for stress-free camping with kids and what to wear camping will help the grown-ups have fun too). Camping is a great way to spend family time away from the usual distractions, and gives you lots of opportunities to explore nature.
During the day, you can organise activities like a camping scavenger hunt, following an ant trail, playing outdoor games or climbing a tree. You can also work together as a family setting up the campsite. At night you can do the typical campfire activities such as telling stories, making smores, stargazing, and maybe even a night walk with torches.
If a full-on camping trip feels like a bit of a stretch, backyard camping is a good alternative. This is a particularly relevant option if your children are very small, as you have easy access to home comforts if you need them!
A moonlight walk is a fun way to enjoy your favourite nature spots from a whole new perspective. Exploring nature during the night is so different from exploring it during the day. It’s also ideal for showing kids that the dark doesn’t have to be scary, and can in fact be absolutely magical.
Some creatures or insects can only be seen at night, and are not visible during the daytime. Owls, bats, fireflies, frogs and mammals such as foxes and badgers are all active at night. Walk quietly, and you might be rewarded with a rare appearance.
The incredible display of lights that planktons give on the beach is also a natural phenomenon that you can enjoy at night time.
One of the easiest and most common nature adventures is hiking. It’s easy to adapt the route to suit the age of your kids, it’s great physical exercise, and it’s free.
A nature walk is a simple way to encourage children to explore nature. You can ask them to look out for plants, trees, animals and insects to trigger their curiosity. Making a journey stick on your walk will help to maintain their interest and enthusiasm too.
For more adventurous kids, ziplining is a fun way to see nature from a very different angle. A quick online search will help you find your nearest zipline parks, and there are usually a range of lines appropriate for all ages.
If the high-adrenaline element of ziplining is a bit much for your kids, check if your local parks have other activities available. Many offer things like cable cars, treetop walks and bushcraft, all of which allow you to explore nature in a more gentle way.
Take part in a nature clean-up
Getting the kids to help with a nature clean-up is perfect for encouraging a sense of responsibility and educating them about the importance of looking after our planet. You’ll be enjoying nature while making a really positive impact on your local environment.
You can take part in a local clean-up drive, or organise your own. Perhaps invite family and friends to join in, or arrange a local community event to really boost the impact.
Hopefully these ideas for family nature adventures have given you lots of inspiration on spending time together exploring all that nature has to offer. Whatever option you choose, it’s important to always ensure you and your family’s safety. Supervise all activities and plan ahead, and you’ll be able to enjoy a fun and safe family activity every time.
Author bio: Donald Hobson’s passion for bird-watching has continued to grow, and he shares his new hobby with his wife. They have created a haven for birds in their yard and often spend weekends hiking in nature looking for their favourite and more elusive birds. He shares his excitement through blogs and photos, and often creates content for various websites to spread the word about conservation, as well as tips and tricks to get the most out of this fun hobby.