In our family, one of the best things about the weather change is the increase in family walks. We walk all year long; however, in the good weather, we are ALWAYS taking walks and planning outdoor activities.
Another of our favorites is to incorporate a “nature walk” into our day. A nature walk, by definition, is a walk in nature – learning about nature, noticing nature, capturing nature. We do these differently every time. Sometimes we simply slow down and talk about what we see. This is usually child led and we stop and discuss anything they find interesting.
Another way to make our nature walks fun is to collect things we find in nature and bring them back home to create a project. This usually furthers the discussion as well as spurs our creative side.
If you would like to be a little creative and turn your next nature walk into craft time, here are some suggestions on what to collect and some ideas on the craft you can make with what you create.
COLLECT FLOWERS AND PLANTS
One of the easiest and most common nature walk projects is for your child to collage various flowers and plants along your walk. You can then take these home for a variety of projects.
Dry your flowers – If you take the time to dry your flowers and plants, you can either make a picture with the dried collection or a framed picture of your collection. Lastly, potpourri is a great project if you have some very fragrant items in your collect.
Decorative arrangement – If you collect mostly flowers and there are plenty of them, you can head home to play with flower arranging. This can be fun to see how they look and discuss sizing and placement. Remember to water your flowers.
Live plant picture – Those obviously not drying your flowers will limit the “life” of your picture, you can make a lovely picture with live flower petals.
A fun thing to do while you are taking a nature walk is to collect various sticks. Find ones of different sizes and shapes.
When you get home with your sticks, put them in piles.
Get construction paper or a large piece of art paper.
Arrange the sticks to spells names or make a heart. You can make many different shapes with the twigs.
Once you find what you would like for your picture, glue the sticks in place.
Hang on the wall or frame.
Something the kids have always found fun is to take a piece of paper and crayon with them on a nature walk (backpack or in a pocket or the bottom of the stroller) and make tree and plant rubbings. We usually use those big crayons for little kids or we use the crayons we made out of scrap crayons and melted together.
Take the paper and lay it on the bark of the tree or over a plant leaf and then lightly rub the side of the crayon over the paper with the bark or plant under it
You can label it or use it for a print or drawing.
The kids think this is fun and we usually do a bunch of them.
Be sure to take lots of paper!
Another favorite is to collect rocks. The kids will collect rocks along the way and bring them home to paint. This is fun because they know they are going to paint them. However, if they find something really unique, we don’t paint it, it goes into our rock collection box for later. You might be surprised what kinds of rocks you find along your way.
Remember, in the end, the goal is to enjoy nature and have fun with what your children collect. Let them be creative. There is no one way to make something with what they collect. Simply collect some things and let their imaginations carry them. You might be surprised what they will create.