Leisure: 5 Nature Activities To Share With Children
The young generations of today will be the citizens of tomorrow. If you want to make them aware of the need to respect the environment, you can start by offering them outings and leisure activities in contact with nature. To make ecology as accessible and fun as a game, here are 5 nature activities to share with children.
1- Observe and recognize birds
Because they are often present in the city as well as in the countryside, birds are among the easiest animals to observe around us.
The bird watching is the first of 5 nature activities to share with children. For this introduction to ornithology, all you need is a good pair of binoculars and educational materials available online.
You will be able to teach your children or grandchildren to recognize the most common birds in our cities and gardens such as blackbirds, crows, magpies, sparrows, robins or even chickadees...
If you have a garden or a balcony, you can embark on building a feeder to attract these birds near your window and help them get through the winter by providing water and food. To learn more, see our article Feeding Birds in Winter opposite.
You can also learn to recognize bird songs with the free Birdie Memory mobile app designed for children ages 4 and up (see link below).
2- Gardening together
Among the 5 nature activities to share with children, we must of course mention gardening! Even if the garden is not as wild as the mountains or the forest, for example, it is a good space to learn about ecology.
Cutting plants or harvesting potatoes often appear to the youngest as a magical process.
If you already have a vegetable garden, all you have to do is set aside a corner for the children. A few square meters are enough to teach them how to grow radishes, strawberries, cherry tomatoes and fast-growing flowers like the giant nasturtium.
For more details on gardening with kids, we invite you to read our two articles on the subject opposite.
3- Picking with your family
Even if you don't have a garden, you can introduce the younger ones to the edible treasures nature has to offer by practicing family foraging. This is another of the 5 nature activities to share with kids and one of the ones that will entertain them the most.
Ask about nearby farms that offer individuals to pick fruits or vegetables and leave with their harvest at an unbeatable price. Some farms with an educational or touristic vocation focus on welcoming families and discovering agricultural jobs.
Moreover, if you are lucky enough to live not far from a forest, you can also initiate your children to the joys of wild picking. As the seasons change, you can organize a hike with children to go in search of raspberries, blackberries or chestnuts.
4- Observe insects
We don't always think about it, but bug watching is one of the 5 nature activities to share with kids.
Just grab a magnifying glass and present this activity as a police investigation to make the little beasts much friendlier to the youngest.
Teaching children to know and recognize insects and other small beasts is actually a good way to reconcile them with animals that often scare them like bees, crickets and spiders of course.
For example, have fun following ants and watching how they carry crumbs or other fragments on their back. Take advantage of a passing bee to introduce children to the importance of these pollinating insects for our food.
If you have a garden, you can also seed flowers and plants to attract butterflies and be able to observe them more easily (see our article on the subject opposite).
5- Making 100% natural art
The last of the 5 nature activities to share with kids is to use the materials that nature offers to do manual activities and create art.
For example, in your garden, you can use pieces of wood, small pebbles and all sorts of natural elements to form geometric figures in the manner of land art or mandalas!
Take advantage of your outings in the forest or at the beach to collect some driftwood, pine cones or dry leaves that can be used to create sculptures, collages and other drawings.
On an outdoor day, you can also take inspiration from Canadian artist Michael Grab's creations and play a game of who can stack the most pebbles or stones... before putting them back in place so as not to disturb the wildlife.
Finally, if you want to complete this introduction to the environment, you can subscribe your children to the magazine La Hulotte ! It is the only newspaper for young and old to be entirely dedicated to the wild animals, trees and flowers of Europe: https://www.lahulotte.fr/