21 EASY WAYS TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO APPRECIATE NATURE

21 EASY WAYS TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO APPRECIATE NATURE

Nature is incredible!
And the best thing is, it’s all around us.
 

There are so many fun and simple ways to help your children get out there and learn an appreciation for nature and understand how important it is.

Most of these ideas can be done in your own back garden or the local park so no need to travel or spend time working out how or where to do them.

Some of them will apply more to children of a younger age but you’ll be surprised how much fun a teen can have getting dirty in the garden!

The best thing is – they are all FREE!

 
Ok, let’s get started…

21 Easy Ways To Teach Your Children To Appreciate Nature

Encourage your children to play outside!

Super simple and common sense right?

We live in an age where children spend more time inside than ever before.

There are so many distractions for them inside between the tv, their ipads/tablets and phones, most of them would probably spend all day sitting and looking at a screen if you let them.

If that sounds like your children then set a time for them to go outside, no matter what the weather!

Being out in nature can help with their development, imaginations and wellbeing (yours too!)

Give them opportunities to dig in the soil

No fancy equipment needed.

It’s amazing how much they can do with utensils such as spoons and forks!

If you don’t want them digging in your borders you could fill a bucket/container with soil and let them dig in that instead.

Let them have fun and experiment: feel the texture, see what happens when they mix it with water or add grass or sand to it.

Plant seeds/plants or trees together

Planting seeds can give your children an opportunity to see how the natural world works.

Better yet, plant seeds for salad items or vegetables so they get to eat something they’ve grown themselves.

The best seeds which are quick and easy to grow are:

  • Sunflowers
  • Cress (perfect for growing on a window ledge!)
  • Broad Beans (check out this amazing article by Rainy Day Mum on How To Grow Broad Beans In A Jar)
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Wild flowers (Feed the bees! We love these Beemix Seedballs from Seedball – get 20% discount off all their products as a member of Raising Earth)
Seedball Gold Tin

Go on a bug hunt

Go on a bug hunt around the garden and see what bugs you find!

Have fun, remember to look at the different places they live in the garden eg on plants, under rocks, on a fence etc.

Why not have a go at drawing them too. This can provide a great opportunity for you to talk about their differences and similarities to show your children how amazing nature is and how even the tiniest of insects have the most incredible details.

Download our Bug Hunt worksheet to check off the bugs you find as you explore.

Let them do some gardening

In our experience kids love it when you give them some responsibilities.

Next time there is something that needs doing in the garden why not let them have a go.

They could:

  • Use the lawnmower
  • Rake leaves
  • Dead head flowers
  • Sweep the path

Take a hike

It doesn’t have to be a mountain trek – a short walk will do just fine!

Anywhere you like, even in cities there is nature to be seen – in fact it’s really interesting to see the unexpected places that plants grow such as in cracks and crevices in the pavements and walls.

Get out into the fresh air and take the time to notice the natural world that is all around us.

You could point out the differences in the seasons or the effects of the weather – have fun and encourage your children to really see the things most take for granted.

Build a bug house

You don’t need fancy equipment – you can simply pick up suitable materials on your walk.

Natural items you could use:

  • Sticks
  • Pinecones
  • Bits of bark
  • Moss
  • Dry leaves
  • Straw
  • Stones

There is no need to construct a wooden box to put them in you could reuse something you already have – a plastic container or a plant pot will do the job nicely.

Just be sure to pack in all the bits and pieces you’ve gathered quite tightly to secure them in.

 

Build/decorate a bird house

In a similar way to building a bug house you could make your own bird house or you could buy one if you prefer.

Having nesting birds in your garden is amazing and the whole family can enjoy watching the parents make a nest and then fly in and out to feed their chicks.

You’ll be able to hear the chirping babies and if you’re lucky you’ll get to see them fly for the first time too!

Whether you want to make your own bird box or buy one the RSPB website has some great advice: HERE

Stop and listen

What can you hear?

When we really take the time to listen we start to filter through the background noise allowing us to hear the smallest things.

Get your children to focus on the different sounds – are the made by creatures or other kinds of nature.

Creature sounds:

  • Birds singing
  • Bee’s buzzing
  • Grasshoppers chirping
Other nature sounds:
  • Wind in the trees
  • Water running or dripping
 

Have a picnic

Who doesn’t love a picnic!

Pack up some lunch and go and eat it outdoors somewhere.

There are some beautiful picnic ware in our membership from our amazing business partners.

Such as these kids sets from Bamboo Beautiful (loads of designs available!)

Members of Raising Earth receive a fantastic 15% discount! (JOIN NOW to start saving)

Catch rainwater

For children who love playing with water this is perfect.

Find containers of different sizes and put them outside to simply catch the rain.

Measuring jugs are particularly good!

Use the collected rain water on the garden when you’ve finished playing with it or you can even give it to your pets as drinking water – our own cats much prefer rain water to chlorinated tap water.

Go on a nature treasure hunt

Get out and enjoy the beautiful world around you together as a family.

A great way to help your children take notice of the natural world and appreciate the beauty around us is to do a hunt for different items.

Take the opportunity to talk about the things you see and what makes them special.

We’ve created this Nature Treasure Hunt worksheet just for you…

Download it HERE

Take photos

Allow your children to use a camera to take photos of the items you find on your nature treasure hunt or anything they like on your walks or in the garden.

They’ll love being able to take their own photos and it will help them focus more on the details.

You can keep the photos to talk about later or print them out and stick them into a scrap book.

Jump in puddles!

Go on… you know you want to!

It’s so much fun to just let go and make a big splash.

Dress appropriately and remember you can always change out of wet clothes!

The memories you make for your children will be worth it, I promise.

Camp in the garden

If you have a tent (and a garden) why not set it up in the garden one sunny weekend or in the school holidays.

Add a few toys and books and spend the weekend out in nature.

Even teens will jump at the chance to spend some time on their own or with friends away from the house! Even if it is only in the garden.

If you don’t have a tent a great alternative is to build a den!

Use your washing line and sheets or blankets to make a cosy space for your children to hide out in.

Get crafty

Gather leaves, sticks and whatever else you can find and make a picture.

There are so many posibilites, let them have fun with it.

Bonus points if you don’t use glue and return the items to nature or a compost heap afterwards.

Make a plan/map of your garden or the park

Making maps and thinking about where things are located is not only great fun but also teaches children spacial awareness and about their surroundings.

For younger children keep it simple for older children they can make their maps more detailed or even try to do it to scale.

There are lots of ways to do it: draw, paint or make a collage – get the creative juices flowing!

Cloud watch

You probably did this when you were young, some of us still do it!

Lay back and look at the clouds with your children to see what shapes they make.

You can give them some basic information about the clouds – what they are, how they are made and why they rain.

What are clouds?

They are made from tiny droplets of water.

How clouds are made?

When the air cools down the water vapour (which is invisible) in the air turn into water droplets or ice crystals.

These reflect the light so we can see them.

They are so tiny that they don’t fall down to the ground they just hang in the air.

Why do clouds rain?

When too many water droplets gather together in a big cloud they become too heavy and that makes them fall to the ground as rain.

 

Read together outside

We all know the benefits of reading with our children.

Reading outside is fun and exciting to little ones, the change of surroundings and the sounds can make it more memorable for them.

Lay out a blanket, throw down some cushions and read some good books!

Our girls like to do their homework outside too.

Find out fun animal facts

Our middle daughter Malaya is the fact queen – she loves learning facts and spouting random bits of knowledge!

Did you know…

Hedgehogs weren’t always called Hedgehogs? They used to be called Urchins – which is where Sea Urchins got their name!

Goats have accents, just like humans their accents depend on where they live!

A wombat’s poop is cube shaped!

Have fun finding out lots of random animal facts – search the internet and have a giggle.

 

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to teach children about the environmental issues we face but also ways that we can help solve those issues.

There are lots of opportunities for volunteering for

  • Tree planting
  • Community garden maintenance
  • Litter picking
  • Other conservation projects

Find out what is available in your area with a quick internet search – there are Facebook groups dedicated to volunteering too.

It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and also give something back by making a physical difference.

 

Do you have any other easy ways to teach your children to appreciate nature?
Let us know in the comments!

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Easy ways to teach your children to appreciate nature

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