Today’s post is part of “Your Green Hour Survival Guide,” a series which I hope will provide inspiration to make getting outside with your kids every day a habit.
One of the things I found most helpful when I started the KidsDiscoverNature.com 30-Day Outdoor Challenge last summer was having a list of things we like to do outside at the ready. To this list, I also added things I thought might be fun to try.
Then I posted our list near the back door so we’d have ideas on those days when we felt a little less than inspired – or for days when the kids were full of complaints.
Where do I look for simple, quick, fun ideas to connect kids with nature? Glad you asked! Here’s my list of favorites (with apologies to those I might have forgotten!). I hope you’ll add to it with a comment below.
Favorite Websites & Blogs for Nature Play Activities
- Kari at Activekidsclub.com knows how to have fun in all kinds of weather. (She almost makes me wish we had snow in Los Angeles!)
- The National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement features a ton of activities you can try at home, in your backyard, at school and beyond.
- The Idea Factory at KardensCorner provides tips for fun things to do with kids in the garden.
- Little Humbugs author Marghanita shares inspiring ways to bring magic to time spent outdoors.
- The Nature Rocks Activity Finder allows you to search by time available, location & age of child. And each season, there’s a free, downloadable activity guide (see the Spring activity guide here).
- The Woodland Trust’s nature detectives offer a ton of free downloads to help kids connect with nature.
- The Magnifying Glass describes itself as “an online nature journal” and makes turning the backyard into a place of nature discovery a snap.
- TrailMix.Net is a great place to discover out-of-the-box activities and resources for things like starting a rock collection and geocaching.
- Melynda of Your Wild Child and her two boys are always up to something fun outside. I'm not ashamed to admit I often steal her ideas to try with the explorers.
Favorite Books Chock-Full of Nature Play Ideas
- 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect With Your Kids by Rebecca P. Cohen (you can read my review here)
- Get Out! 150 Easy Ways for Kids and Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future, by Judy Molland
- I Love Dirt! 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature, by Jennifer Ward
- Small Fry Outdoors: Inspiration for Being Outdoors With Kids, by Susie Cameron, Caroline Webster & Katrina Crook
- The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids, by Todd Christopher
- Trails, Tails & Tidepools in Pails, by the Docents of The Children’s Nature Institute
Plus a Few Ideas of My Own
- 50 Ways to Explore Nature in Your Own Backyard
- 30 Ideas for Winter Backyard Nature Fun
- 25 Ideas for Turning a Neighborhood Walk Into a Nature Adventure
- 11 Ideas for Rainy Day Outdoor Fun
- Plus, Backyard Fun ideas posted each week as part of the “Fun Friday” series
Now it’s your turn. Where do you go to find ideas for nature play with your kids?