I love taking my kids on nature walks. Where we live, we have several different environments within 1 1/2 hour of our home. Sometimes we find lots of things to observe and talk about during our walk. Other times, I need to reach into my Mom Toolbox for ways to keep the kids enthusiastic and prevent that deadly chorus of “Can we go home?”
8 Ways to Add Fun to Your Nature Walk
1. Scavenger hunt
Try this activity while walking or when you stop for a break. Depending on the age of your kids, challenge them to find different things. Spice up the scavenger hunt by setting a time limit or limit the area to the ground or eye level.
- colors – yellow, red, orange
- types of trees – deciduous vs. evergeen, oak, maple birch, dogwood
- types of birds
2. Teach your kids a hiking song while walking
If you were a Girl Scout or Boy Scout, dig into your repertoire of camp songs. Preschool songs with their repetition and rhythmic beat work well, too.
- Hiking Songs and Cadences
- Hiking Songs using familiar nursery rhymes
- Boy Scout songs
- Girl Scout songs
3. Count the number of easy to find for younger kids and harder to spot for older kids
- types of rocks
- types of trees
- steps from one tree to another
4. Identify that sound
Birding by Ear is a fantastic CD compilation I’ve used to teach my kids common bird songs for our area. Birding by Ear uses phonetics, mnemonics, and descriptive words to help listeners remember bird calls. Learn a few before going out on your nature walk and see who can identify the most bird songs and calls.
When someone yells freeze, everyone stops in a statue-position
6. Letterboxing or Geocaching
7. Charades: Imitate a bird or animal
While taking a water or snack break, play charades using the behavior of animals and birds you saw on your walk.
Have each kid take turns being a navigator using a map and a compass.
9. Pick a Letter and find things around you that start with the letter sound.
10. Find Letter Shapes in Natural Objects around you.
What are your favorite outdoor activities for your kids?