There is no better time than now to help your kids develop an appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Fresh air has tons of health benefits, and spending time outside is a great way to educate your children about the world around them and to foster a sense of adventure.
In the new picture book, Cece Loves Science and Adventure, Cece and her Adventure Girls troop use science, technology, engineering, and math to solve problems and earn their camping pin. Along with her friends, her mom, and her dog, Einstein, Cece learns how to pitch a tent, set up a campsite, and document landmarks on the trail. These might be a lot for a first time adventurer, but don’t worry! Here are a few ways in which you can make nature walks engaging and educational for your little ones:
Go on a scavenger hunt.
Nature-themed scavenger hunts can encourage kids to explore more deeply than they would just running around. In addition to the flowers and bugs above, this post offers fun ideas for a winter scavenger hunt. Suggestions include finding “something green, something red, something left behind by an animal, something alive, and something dead.” You could easily amend a list like this to fit your season and location!
Suggest they zoom in.
Encourage your child to focus on a small area in the woods or in your backyard. Ask them whether they can find something surprising or unexpected. You could even be specific and go on a bug hunt with them, but then they may miss out on toads, newts, animal tracks, a four-leaf clover, or a neat rock. Activities like this can inspire kids to look more closely at the world around them and then research and talk about their findings. Curious little explorers will grow into curious big explorers!
There are lots of tools that can be used to explore all of the living things! Pack up some binoculars or a magnifying glass and explain them to your kids. You could even print out this activity, which ties into Cece Loves Science and Adventure. Have your kids take a stab at matching up the items and then talk them through how each of them can be helpful outside.
Ditch your phone.
Remember learning how to read a map? Okay, we barely do either; we all rely so heavily on our phones and Google maps these days. If you go to a local nature preserve, talk with your child about the trail you choose, how far you’ll be walking, and show them the path. We promise it will be more fun than watching the path the Uber driver takes to get to your house on your phone.
What outdoor adventures do you have with your kids? Tell us below!