When you have several kids, it can be hard to find activities that are at all their different levels. Here are some fun nature walk ideas for kids of various ages.
If you want to keep your kids active and healthy this summer, nature walks are a great way to do it. Kids of all ages can enjoy them if you tailor them to a certain degree. One great way to do this is to create little games along the way. There are countless ideas you can use to make nature walks more interesting or fun. Here are some of our favorites:
Nature Walk Ideas for Kids of Various Ages
Play “I Spy”
While on your nature walk, stop the group and play a nature walk version of “I Spy”. Change things up to suit the age group you are with. For example “I spy something red” is great for kindergarten kids in reference to a cardinal, Indiana's state bird. However “I spy something that represents Indiana” might be more fitting for older children. Tailor it to fit the group you are with.
Ask for Samples
If you already know what kind of plants you are going to see on the walk, ask the children to collect a set amount of samples to represent those plants. You are going to need to show the children pictures and describe the plant so they can recognize it. You may even stop the walk from time to time and drop a hint about which plant sample can be collected where you are. Here are some 100 things to look for on a nature walk for inspiration.
Ask children to take notes so that they remember the little details about what they find. This can include drawings or leaf tracings. They can also glue some of there samples in their journal if they wish. Here is a DIY Nature Journal for Kids.
Make Time to Sit and Observe
Even on a nature walk, there are plenty of things that can be missed if you don't take a few minutes out from the walk. The wildlife in the area will probably hide when you take your walk. If you can get the children to stop and be quiet for a few minutes they may be able to see how the wildlife interacts with the plant life in the area. Animals become much more active when you calm down and be quiet.
As an added benefit, this is a good time for younger children to rest without them feeling like they are holding the rest of the family back.
Hunt Specific Species
If your kids love animals, this is a great deal of fun. Have your kids bring along a sketchbook and every time you encounter a new animal or insect, they can draw them. This also works for plant species, trees, and various other things you find in nature.
Don't forget to encourage children to use their imaginations. Ask them to pretend they are on a safari. Or maybe they are in a land of fairies. Maybe your group is the only group of humans left and you have to find your own food to survive. You might even ask children to make up their own stories as they move along the trails. The key is to make the nature walk as fun as it is educational. Encourage children to use their imaginations in order to make the walk even more fun!