NATURE ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERSCaroline Fenton
Looking for natural play ideas to entertain your little curious toddlers? It’s a tricky balance raising these mini humans in our world today. Surrounded by screens everywhere we turn, phones literally hanging off our palms, music, games and TV always a simple tap away. Nature activities are a wonderful way to embrace your inner kid, get away from the daily grind and put simple joy back into childhood.
Getting out in nature never fails to ground and calm, even with energetic toddlers causing havoc! Being amongst the flora and fauna, the fresh air, and the gentle warmth of the sun… nothing quite like it!
We’ve collated a collection of play ideas for you and your little ones. These are great for the outdoors, but also designed to bring the outside-in too. Perfect for all weathers, designed for toddlers but easily adaptable for the older kids and little babes too.
8 Nature Activities for Toddlers
1. Scavenger Hunt
Depending on your kids ages, create a simple list of things to hunt for while you are out and about.
These could be listed as pictures, or words, or even just described (depending on how hard you want to make it!). They can be objects to pick up, or just things to spot.
The list could include: a leaf, a gum nut, a stick, a rock, a shell, bark, a snail’s trail, some animal droppings.
2. Sticks and Twigs
Sticks & Twigs can be used to:
– sort i.e. into size order
– create roads to drive cars and trucks
– make bridges with wooden building blocks
– create houses and scenes with playdough
– stir mud pies
– create fishing rods
Add them into your favourite non-toxic playdough recipe and the hours of creation will be endless :)
3. Mini Gardens
Whether your kids are into fairies, dinosaurs or trucks, creating mini gardens is super fun.
Use an old tray or flower pot as the base.
Collect sticks, pebbles, leaves, sand, soil (anything you like) to create a mini garden. Adding a mini pond is always exciting too!
The kids can add in their favourite toys and play in it for hours on end!
4. Pooh Sticks
Each family member chooses a stick.
Line up and drop them off a bridge over a stream.
Look over the other side of the bridge and see whose stick WINS!!
Extension: collect sticks to to take home and make into a raft… ready to be floated next time you are at a stream.
Leaves can be used to:
– colour match
– ask older ones which types of tree they are from
– create collages
– make flags or bunting
– thread with cord or twine
Encourage fine motor skills by punching holes and threading.
6. Pine Paint Brush
Use pine leaves to paint with!
Pine needles make an excellent paint brush… and cardboard makes the perfect canvas.
A simple activity to do inside or out.
Extension: try painting with (or on) other natural materials you may find!
7. Nature’s Mystery Bag
Collect foliage, grass, twigs, leaves, pine cones… whatever you can find. Pop them all in a brown paper bag and create a guessing game for the kids.
The older ones can guess what it is, the younger ones can just reach in and have fun exploring the diferent textures.
Extension: you can create a matching game, matching in pairs or colours depending on what you have.
8. Treasure Hunt
Whether you’re out, or in the garden, create a treasure hunt for your littles. They will LOVE it (plus it’s never too young to learn map reading skills too!)
Create a map (however simple or sophisticated you like). Mark on trees, bushes, walls, paths to help them along the way. Just be sure to mark X where the treasure is hidden!
Extension: read a pirate themed book, or dress up as pirates to make it a day of pirate fun!
You can download the set of activity cards here (no sign up required!)>> NATURE ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS.
If you’re looking for goodies to help you on your natural play journey, check out our wooden toy cameras and flash cards. Perfect for taking out and about on your adventures :) We hope you find these activities fun and maybe a little bit educational too! Let us know how you get on… I’d love to know how you go, and also if you have any favourites to add to the collection too.
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