How to Make Exploring Nature with Little Ones Fun!

Welcome to the first blog post on play and pinecones– I’m Christine!

My goal here is to inspire parents with ideas for nature based play and activities by sharing our family’s journey of raising two little ones in a natural lifestyle. 

Amelia exploring nature
Amelia exploring the Trilliums

If you are looking to: 

  • Explore nature with your young children but are unsure where to start. 
  • Find inspiration for fun and simple activities. 
  • Teach your little ones about the natural world through play. 
  • Get some fresh air and connect with nature.
  • Foster your child’s (and your own!) sense of wonder.

Then it sounds like we are on a similar path and you are in the right place! 

Forget the flashcards! My weekly blog posts will focus on simple ways to incorporate nature into your child’s life.

Here are a few ways we make exploring nature with our little ones fun!

Follow a Nature Study Curriculum

There are several great nature based curriculums available to work through with your children. We have recently started the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum with our toddler, Amelia. She’s just under three years old, so we are taking a fairly casual approach, but are really enjoying it!

Be sure to subscribe to play and pinecones to follow along as I document our weekly adventures.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Make a list or draw pictures of different creatures/items found in nature. Then go out and find them! This is a neat thing to do while experiencing the changing of seasons into Autumn by incorporating different coloured leaves in your hunt. 

Create Artwork

Use items collected on a nature walk to create a masterpiece! Amelia is very interested in letters right now, so we also make artwork that spells out her name.

Do an Activity Together

Set up an activity that demonstrates a natural concept. Fill a bucket of water to see whether sticks and leaves sink or float, or play doorway spiderweb and see what you can catch! I often set up a quick activity like this for when baby Brooks is napping, as it provides a (somewhat) quiet project for Amelia and I to do.

painter’s tape spiderweb game

Go for a Walk

Go out and explore the land around you. We live on a small acreage of mixed forest and field and are out daily making new discoveries on our own property. We talk about different landmarks as we go and Amelia has become familiar with the different types of plants and animals found in our own backyard.

It doesn’t have to be formal. Many of our “hikes” are just a trek down to the compost bin. Whether you live in a rural area or in a large city- nature is everywhere, so get out and explore!

Read a Book

As I mentioned above, we are following the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum which is broken down into weekly themes. Each week I set aside books from our own collection that coincide with the weekly theme. Some of our favourite nature inspired books are Compost Stew, Some Bugs and Winter Dance

Make Something Delicious

I love to cook and bake and Amelia loves helping! She usually helps pour ingredients, mix batter and is the best spoon licker I’ve ever met. We try to make creations that go with our weekly theme.

Seed week- chocolate chia seed pudding, Bug week- ants on a log. You get the drift. Follow play and pinecones on Instagram for tasty inspiration.

Just be Outdoors

Do all the crafts and activities, but also try to leave time for some good unstructured play outside. Much of our exploring happens when we don’t plan anything at all. Being out in the fresh air is revitalizing for us and our kiddos- so let’s get outside!

A Little About Me

I’m a mother of two, new blogger and lifelong lover of the natural world. My passion began when I was a child, and grew as I became interested in birding and devoted much of my career to animal rescue and wildlife rehabilitation. My dream is to raise our children with the same appreciation for the environment and to share our journey with other like-minded families. 

That’s a little about me, now comment below how you explore nature with your family. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to get notifications of new posts and follow play and pinecones on Instagram and Pinterest.

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