The fall is an off-peak season for outdoor activities. Less crowded trails and parks make it easier for parents to enjoy nature with their children without the summer crowds.
Autumn is also a time when wildlife becomes more active, preparing for winter. You may have the chance to observe migratory birds, squirrels collecting nuts, and other animals engaged in seasonal behaviors.
Not all children enjoy being in nature, of course. Once your children have grown beyond the stage where everything is interesting to them, nature walks fall down the pecking order behind console games, TV and social media.
However, it’s well known that none of these indoor hooks are good for your child’s mental and physical health, their understanding of the world or their social development.
One way of encouraging your children to embark on nature walks more regularly is to invite their friends. And find ways of making nature walks exciting for children. Here are some solutions for the fall.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of items or specific natural features for children to find during the walk. This can include different types of leaves, rocks, flowers, or even specific colors in nature.
Collecting and Sorting
Give children small containers or bags to collect interesting items they find during the walk. Afterwards, encourage them to sort and categorize their collection based on colors, shapes, or textures.
Bring along sketchbooks, colored pencils, or watercolors for children to create nature-inspired art. They can draw the plants, animals, or landscapes they encounter during the walk.
Nature Bingo: Identifying Plants and Animals
Teach children to identify different plants, trees, and animals they encounter. Bring a field guide or use a nature app to make it a learning experience. Create a bingo card with things commonly found in nature. Children can mark off the items as they spot them during the walk.
Children are often fascinated by insects. Provide them with magnifying glasses and encourage them to observe and identify bugs along the way. Teach them about the importance of bugs in the ecosystem.
Bring along sheets of paper and crayons for leaf rubbings. Place a leaf under the paper and gently rub the crayon over it to reveal the leaf’s texture.
Find a comfortable spot and spend some time cloud-watching. Ask children to describe the shapes they see and imagine stories based on the cloud formations.
Bring birdseed and a small bird feeder. Find a quiet spot to hang the feeder and observe birds that come to feed.
Bring along smooth rocks and acrylic paints. Children can paint the rocks with colorful designs and leave them in nature for others to find.
Remember to adapt activities based on the age and interests of the children, and always prioritize safety during outdoor adventures. By combining learning with fun, nature walks can become memorable and exciting experiences for children.