Do you and your kids love to get out and explore outdoors? Maybe you need a push and some ideas? I have some fun, inexpensive ideas for making nature walks and other outdoor activities even better with just a handful of items that can be used in so many different ways! So get out there and enjoy what the outdoors has to offer you and your kids, aside from sunshine and fresh air! Besides being a great idea for your child, it makes a wonderful homemade gift to encourage outdoor exploration.
Nature Activity Jar
- Quart mason jar with lid and ring
- Pinchers/ large tweezers
- 3×5 cards
- Magnifying glass
- Nature books
Slip the 3×5 cards, envelope, pencil, bug tweezers, and magnifying glass into the jar. Replace the lid and ring.
A pair of binoculars wrapped around the jar are perfect too for bird watching. These are the ones we have had for a couple years now and the kids love them.
What fun things can you do with this setup?
Well our favorite thing to do is go on a nature walk and you can just observe all the things you see in general or focus on a particular part of nature.
Look for insects – Take a close look at anthills, flip over unmoved rocks, and peel back the bark on trees to seek out creepy crawlers. Observe butterfly attracting plants to look for butterflies, caterpillars, or eggs on the underside of the leaves.
Bird Watching – Take along a good field guide of birds, a set of binoculars, and perhaps even a camera or sketch pad to capture what you find
Observe Trees– Take sheets of plain paper and an unwrapped crayon and make tree rubbings to compare the bark on different trees. Gather leaves, and bring them home to identify
Identify Flowers – Bring a field guide, snap pictures, or sketch what you find. Then bring them home to look up on the internet or in a book. Make sure that it is alright to pick flowers where you are, a lot of state parks do not want the vegetation disturbed. Even flowers in your own yard can be fun to research.
You can also make and take along a portable flower press to bring home some pressed treasures.
Backyard scavenger hunt– Find simple pictures of common birds, insects, leaves, and other nature items in your area on the internet and print them out on a single sheet of paper (or two). Take a pencil along, and you and your child can search for the items and cross them off your list as you find them.
Need some great nature guides to get started? This is our favorite 5 !
Here are some past posts that would go wonderfully with your Nature Activity Jar as well…