Kids and nature
Kids are naturally wired to love nature, but the earlier they start getting outdoors the better.
While children are small, give them opportunities to play (safely) in little streams or ponds. You can tote a camp chair to the water’s edge and enjoy some precious down time as your toddler or preschooler throws pebble after pebble after pebble into the water. But exercise extreme caution around swift or deep water as well as other hazards.
No water near your campsite? Bring a pail and shovel, plunk your kid down on an already-disturbed piece of dusty ground, and let them dig happily away.
Activities for kids while camping
Older kids may enjoy the following nature activities:
- Rock collecting
- Exploring with magnifying glass and binoculars
- Making leaf rubbings
- Collecting leaves for leaf pressing
- Drawing the surroundings
- Seeing how far kids can walk on interconnecting logs (our kid enjoys pretending that they’re a network of streets she knows near home)
- Playing pirate ship on downed trees
- Keeping a nature log or trip diary
- Alphabet scavenger hunt (find something in nature starting with each letter of the alphabet)
- Trying to mark off as many plants or flowers as possible on a short, laminated nature guide
- Taking Polaroid photos and compiling them into a nature-themed story
- Placing sticks in a stream and betting on which stick will make it first to a designated finish line