A nature walk is the perfect way to spend a beautiful day outside with your kids. Help them discover and explore the amazing things around them both big and small. Take the time to stop and collect things that they find interesting and talk about each item. Make it extra fun by crafting a pair of binoculars for their adventure.
As the weather here in Wisconsin is starting to change, we are anxious to get outside and get moving. Being a stay at home Mom has taught me many things – but the most valuable lesson is that busy kids are happy and well behaved kids. We like to stay busy doing activities that both get us out and moving and that are educational too. One of our very favorite things to do together outside is take a nature walk. We do it as often as possible, and I love seeing what things excite the kids each time we are out exploring.
I love to make nature walks into a big event to keep the kids excited about going out to explore their surroundings. A great rainy day project to help get the kids excited for nature walk day is to make them each their own pair of binoculars so that they don’t miss a thing! All you need is toilet paper rolls and string to make binoculars that are the perfect size for little hands, and that aren’t in danger of being broken on your hike!
I have the kids paint, color and decorate their toilet paper rolls however they want. Once they are dry I hot glue two rolls together the long way. I Poke a hole on each of the outer sides of the rolls and then tie a string through each hole so the kids can wear them around their necks when they aren’t using them on our walk. Once they are all assembled I let the kids add stickers or whatever else they like. I even bent and hot glued pipe cleaners around the circles of the binoculars to make them extra fun.
The kids got a total kick out of making these and wearing them too. I was actually surprised at how much they really used them while we were out walking. The binoculars were a great project and the kids are still using them, even after our walk was over. I also give each child a mason jar that they can decorate themselves with stickers. They use the jar to collect whatever they see on our walk that seems interesting to them. You could use old egg cartons for nice little dividers, Tupperware containers, ice cream pails, anything that is easy for them to carry and collect in while walking.
Once we are out and walking the kids are free to explore, and put whatever they find into their jars to take back to the house so that we can investigate it. This can be as simple as a walk down the driveway, sidewalk, or a trip to the park.
We usually end up with all different kids of flowers, nuts, rocks, grass, leaves, bugs, and berries. I love these walks because there is really nothing more special to me, than quiet moments with the kiddos, especially outside in the sunshine. They quickly jet around the house and excitedly unscrew the tops of their jars to add their newest treasure. I am always surprised at the neat things we find each time. Even though we do this a lot, the kids always seem to find new and interesting things. Especially as the seasons change, we have a lot to talk about together. It gives us a great opportunity to talk about why the leaves and grass look different, and how and why we see different bugs and birds certain times of the year.
Once our jars are filled we head back to the house and empty the contents of the jar out onto a picnic table on the deck. You can absolutely do this inside – but I’m always afraid a random bug or worm will make it onto the kitchen table, so I keep it an outdoor project. If we are feeling really ambitious we tape the objects to a piece of paper and write out what it is to label it (all but the creatures we find of course – those are safely returned to their habitat ). We talk about the things that they found together, and I fill them in on everything that I know about the particular objects. They love to tape things to the papers and show everything that they discovered to their dad when he gets home from work. It makes for a great indoor and outdoor project and even better dinner conversation for the night. Their excitement over the simplest things is something that I hope I never forget.