Get Back to Nature!
Studies show that kids who spend time in nature are happier, healthier and smarter. Now that the snow gear is stored and spring is in the air it’s the perfect time to play, explore and enjoy quality time & family bonding outdoors.
The Nature Rocks Spring Activity Guide is designed to make enjoying nature with your family fun, easy and part of your everyday routine. Whether you love the outdoors or feel out of your element in nature, spring is the perfect time to embrace some new activities and, getting outdoors is an affordable way to encourage physical fitness too.
At NatureRocks.org, you can find things to do right in your own zip code. This site puts a ton of great information at your fingertips, including the “Find Nature” search tool to find local parks, camp sites and more and the “Activity Finder” that asks you to enter in the age(s) of your kid(s), your preferred location and how much time you have to spend – you’re then provided with a series of nature-related activities geared just for you.
Some fun ideas from the Nature Rocks Spring Activity Guide:
Going with the Wind
Take your little ones out on a blustery day and encourage them to chase the wind! Chase a windblown leaf, a flower petal, or even some bubbles from a bubble wand. A windy day never felt so fun.
1. Dress the kids in fun, light layers, so their clothes can blow in the wind too!
2. Bring along bubbles, pinwheels anything that could be fun with a breeze
Nature’s Jungle Gym
Nature is full of fun and challenging play structures. Encourage your kids to clamber over a fallen log, scale a rock, or climb a tree to build their agility and confidence, as well as their connections to the natural world.
1. Make sure the kids are dressed to get a few grass stains!
2. Adjust activities for the ages of your kids
Rainy Day Parade
Who says a rainy day means staying inside? When the rain is heavy and the puddles are deep, dress everyone up in waterproof clothes and boots and head outside. Your kids will love stomping, sloshing and swishing through the watery world.
1. Avoid dressing your kids in cotton, especially if it’s a cooler rain.
2. Afterward, have everyone bundle into warm, dry layers and enjoy a hot drink.
Hey Batter Batter
Take your athletes into nature with a healthy game of pinecone baseball! All you need are some sticks for bats and pinecones for balls. Mark the bases with leaves or other natural materials, choose teams…and batter up!
1. Choose sticks that are lightweight but resilient.
2. Be sure to adapt the rules to suit your group and your +me.
½ Day or Full Day Activities
Before the hot weather and the crowds set in, consider a day of beach fun. You can keep the kids happy and active by organizing a playful beach Olympics. Afterward, you might even want to collect some seashells to hand out as nature’s medals.
1. Set up sprints across the sand, crab races, and dune jumps.
2. Test their throwing arm with pebble tosses into the water.
3. Let them dazzle with beach rhythmic gymnastics, using use ribbons of seaweed or beach grass to complement your movements.
4. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Search and Enjoy
Spring’s a perfect +me for a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list of simple springtime clues: e.g., “find something pink” or “find new growth on a tree” or “find an active birds nest.” Then set off into your favorite natural area and see if the kids can find all or most of these items.
1. Make one list for every individual or pair.
2. Encourage the kids to share, describe, or sketch the things they find.
3. Consider involving the kids in creating their own scavenger hunt clues.
Nature Rocks helps to bring families and nature together by offering parents information, inspiration and tools to encourage and empower them to take their families into and enjoy nature. Current Nature Rocks partners are: The Nature Conservancy, REI, Children and Nature Network, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and ecoAmerica. To learn more about Nature Rocks and its partners, please visit http://www.naturerocks.org/, support us on Facebook at facebook.com/nature+rocks or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/naturerocks.