Finding yourself at home with the kids and looking for nature-inspired activities to keep the little ones entertained? Here are some low-prep, easy projects guaranteed to keep the kids busy, learning and having fun!
Grab some cardboard, some crayons, markers or paints and let the little ones make their own puzzles! Using scissors or an X-acto knife, cut the artwork into sizes and shapes that fit the kids' abilities and skills. The possibilities for fun and creative designs are limited only by the imagination!
Make a Twig raft
This activity is hours of fun! Collect sticks, twigs, leaves and flowers, and challenge the kids to make a floating raft. We used reeds to hold ours together, but string or rubber bands would also work! Name your boats and let the adventures begin in a creek, lake, sink or bathtub.
Make a Stick Maze
Creating mazes is such fun! First, let the little ones plan out their maze on paper (use a pencil and eraser). Then, collect sticks and build! If you have space and access to larger logs, you could make a life-size maze too! We also like to place treasures hidden throughout the maze to be picked up along the journey!
Make a Nature
Not only are these beautiful, but they are so much fun to play with as they melt! You'll need two containers, one which fits inside the other. We used a cup and a plastic spice jar, but tupperware would work also. Add water, decorative leaves and flowers and freeze. After removing the inner container, drop a candle in and marvel at the beauty of your ice lantern!
This is so much fun and requires nothing more than leaves, paper and crayons! Go on a nature hunt for leaves with your little ones (the flatter, the better), and then experiment with colors, sizes and textures! Cut out your artwork to display or use it as decorative paper for writing and drawing. Such a fun way to uncover the patterns in nature!
All you need for this magical activity is a plate, milk, food coloring and dish soap. Pour milk into a shallow plate, add a few drops of food coloring, touch each drop with a bit of dish soap, and watch the beauty emerge! The soap interacts with the fat in the milk so the more fat, the better. It's such a fun activity to learn about chemical reactions while watching colorful, natural patterns and magic unfold!
Make Rainbow Milk Magic
Make Tissue Paper Stained Glass
Celebrate the coming of Spring with these beautiful and easy-to-make stained glass pieces! All you need is cardboard, scissors / exacto knife, glue and colored tissue paper. Sketch and cut out the shape you like, then get creative with tissue paper colors and patterns! It is such a delight to see your creations come to life when held up against the sunlight!
Creating tiny, magical homes for fairies, gnomes or little characters is hours of imaginative fun and story-telling! Find the perfect spot for a little house, collect sticks, leaves, stones and flowers, and let your little one's creativity and imagination run wild!
Make Fairy and Gnome Houses
Make Mushroom Spore Print Art
Adventure into the dark, wet areas beneath trees, collect mushrooms, and create art while learning! Forage for a mushroom, remove the stem and place down on paper. Moisten the cap with water to encourage the spores to drop, cover with an air-tight glass container and wait 3-10 hours (depending upon the maturity of the mushroom). Then, reveal your artwork! Spray with a fixative to preserve. You can also analyze the color and patterns to identify your mushroom. Remember to be careful, as some mushrooms may be poisonous.
Make Stick Bird Feeders
This is a fun and easy activity to foster a love and appreciation for the birds in your area. Find a few nice sticks that are strong enough for birds to perch on, cover them in peanut butter and then roll in birdseed. We used a hanger to twist around the sticks, but you could also use twine or wire to hang your feeder. Then, sit back and watch the birds enjoy their treats!
Tic-Tac-Toe and checkers come to life when you bring nature into them! We created our checkerboard with cardboard and crayons and used painted rocks as pieces. Instead of painting, you could put stickers on stones or use acorns, flowers or items around your house. We used sticks and flower stems for our tic-tac-toe boards, but lines in the dirt or pencil and paper would work too! Simple games become hours of fun when you create them yourself!
Make your own Checkers & Tic-Tac-Toe Games
Make Nature Candles
This is such an easy and beautiful little project! All you need is a glass or jar, packing tape, leaves or flowers and a small candle. Wrap the tape around the glass, sticky-side out, decorate with found leaves, drop a candle in and watch as nature's patterns are illuminated!