One of our favorite summer activities is picking fruit. The kids love filling up baskets full of fresh berries or ripe peaches. And I love seeing their purple-stained grins after they shove a handful of newly-picked blackberries in their mouths. There really is something almost magical about seeing where fruit comes from and enjoying it so freshly picked. Picking fruit is also a fantastic way to get kids excited about nature.
My kids love going to the pool, but it used to fill me with anxiety. I would worry about the chlorine in the water, the PVC in the pool toys and the chemicals in the sunscreen. Fortunately, companies are making a lot of progress when it comes to offering safe alternatives to toxic pool gear. And I am discovering my own cheap and easy DIY alternatives to things like pool toys. If you want to be stress-free at the pool, read on!
Ever since our visit to Boxerwood Gardens in Lexington, Virginia, my kids have been begging me for a mud kitchen. They spent hours there making mud pies with mud and gravel, salads with grass and flowers, and mud milkshakes. Plus, Pinterest is full of inspiring mud kitchen ideas. So I have begun the planning phase of putting a mud kitchen in our yard.
Now that the weather has warmed up, we are spending a lot more time outside. My son loves nature – climbing trees, hunting for bugs and picking flowers. I don’t have to do much convincing when it comes to getting him outside. But I do like to encourage his love of nature and use it as learning opportunity. Here are 75 activities that are sure to inspire a love of nature in your child:
My son loves playing in rivers. He will spend an entire day searching for minnows, collecting river rocks and creating boats out of bark. So we were excited when the opportunity came for us to learn more about rivers and to contribute to the protection of a local river. For our next good deed, we participated in a local Riverfest.
Entertaining a baby is deceptively hard! I had this delusion that I would continue to take my six-year-old to all of his normal activities and the baby would just come along for the ride. I had pictures in my mind of the baby calmly playing at my feet while I cooked or sitting contently in my arms while I taught my son math. I obviously had completely forgotten what it was like to have a baby! It turns out that I am desperately in need of help playing with my baby. Fortunately, a blog called Nothing if Not Intentional introduced me to a great idea called Heuristic Baby Play.
Sensory bins (or play trays) are an easy way to entertain kids of any age. I like to include natural elements in my sensory trays to expose my son to nature even when we are indoors. This spring play tray with rainbow rice is a fun way to give your kids a taste of springtime when it is too cold or rainy to go outdoors.
For our first of 52 good deeds this year, Monster and I created bird feeders. I have had this on my list of things to do for years now. The goal was to feed some hungry birds and encourage wildlife to visit our home. Plus, we recycled a pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving to make the bird feeder using this idea from Martha Stewart.