Taking a nature walk with your child can be an incredibly fun and enriching learning experience. It is a great opportunity to spend time together, in the fresh air, being active, all the while learning about and gaining an appreciation for nature.
When preparing for your walk make sure you where comfortable clothing, bring water, perhaps insect repellent, and bags to collect your treasures for further exploration at home.
There are many elements you can draw from a nature walk and incorporate into learning activities both while you are walking and after you are home. On your walk, pick up and explain natural elements such as leaves, seed pods, sticks, barks and small branches. Have your child hold items, feel their textures, and smell them. Save these items in bags.
Natural elements can be collected and placed in a basket at home for exploration and play. There are so many things you can do with the collected items to further learn from them and extend the enrichment of your walk. Sticks, rocks, leaves, nuts and pods once collected can be sorted, counted, and used to create art projects. Further ideas will be listed at the bottom of this post.
Bring your phone or a camera and take pictures of animals and birds you see. You can come back to this record and draw pictures of the animals you saw. Also if you would like you can research the animals further on the web, to learn more about them.
You can draw so many different learning activities and experiences from a nature walk with your preschooler. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Make leaf art on the ground during your walk.
- Make stone stacks, or create shapes and patterns with stones.
- Bring a few sheets of paper and some unwrapped crayons to make leaf rubbings.
- Go on a planned scavenger hunt. There is a great booklet from the Merry Messy Life blog. Here is a link to their free printable booklet.
- Collect sticks and rocks for counting, sorting and pattern making.
- Paint pictures with pine tree branches.
- Make a nature collage with elements from your walk.
- Create a matching game with photos of animals and elements of your walk by printing two copies of each image, flipping them over and finding the matches.
- Create a nature walk bin or basket for your child to revisit the items you collected. Reviewing the textures and smells of each item. Make drawings of these items.
- Read stories about nature. Here are a few good ones: Eric Carle, The Tiny Seed; Robin Bernard, The Tree for All Seasons; Jane Werner Watson, Wonders of Nature; and Kate Riggs, Wild Backyard.
Enjoy your nature walk with your preschooler!