Exploring nature doesn’t have to mean hitting the trail, heading to the mountains or going camping – though those are all fine ideas. Connecting with nature can be as simple as heading out the back door.
If you’re not quite sure how to get started with your kids, try one of these 50 ways to explore nature in your own backyard. Most require only a few minutes of time and a good dose of curiosity.
1. Go cloud watching
2. Build a fort
3. Climb a tree
4. Roar at the moon
5. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
6. Plant a garden
7. Create a backyard beach
8. Explore a flower
9. Run barefoot through the grass
10. Dig in the dirt
11. Follow an ant trail
12. Camp out in your backyard
13. Tour your neighbor’s front gardens
14. Take a color walk
15. Jump in puddles
16. Go on a backyard birdwatching expedition
17. Bake mudcakes
18. Raise a caterpillar; release a butterfly
19. Build a fairy house
20. Make leaf, rock or bark rubbings
21. Start a backyard field guide
22. Create rock art
23. Gaze at the stars
24. Plant a tree from seed
25. Play with sticks
26. Build snow animals
27. Watch a sunset
28. Go butterfly watching (and maybe catch a few!)
29. Host a backyard garden tour
30. Keep a moon diary
31. Run through a pile of leaves
32. Start a seed collection
33. Paint with mud
34. Take a flower walk
35. Create a fairy garden
36. Plant a flower
37. Search for spider webs
38. Go on a backyard safari
39. Explore a tree
40. Design a backyard hiking trail
41. Create a treasure map
42. Enjoy a backyard campfire
43. Go on a bird watching scavenger hunt
44. Make a birdfeeder
45. Start a nature journal
46. Paint rocks
47. Create land art
48. Take a compass walk
49. Make sand angels (snow angels are nice, too)
50. Go on a backyard bug hunt
Sebastien Fouillade says
Outstanding list and very inspiring. Thank you.
GREAT list. Can't wait to get started.
@Anna: Glad you found it helpful! 🙂
Anna @ The Imagination Tree says
Oh WOW! I am going to link to this too. What an amazing list! Thank you 🙂
@Tim: Thanks for sharing! 🙂
What a wonderful list! Thank you so much for sharing. I have pinned this to my pinterest board. http://pinterest.com/pin/11526113/
@Laura: Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Very fun list!! I've bookmarked it for future reference! 🙂
@Abbie & Mamapoekie: Thanks so much for sharing – I'm excited to meet so many people wanting to get their kids outside!
great post. Saving for next week's Sunday Surf and newest follower!
Great list! We do so many of these but are such great ideas to share. <br />Sharing with my fans on Greening Sam and Avery facebook!
@Tim: Thanks for stopping by, Tim!
Tim Magner says
Looks awesome.<br /><br />I'm doing a kids book "Outdoor Play from A to Z" and I'd love to get your take.<br /><br />Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org<br /><br />P.S. For others we've done: http://www.greensugarpress.com
@Karin: Yay – what a great thing to hear! Shadows are great because we take them everywhere we go. 🙂
Love your list! I saw a mom at the park today tracing her kids shadows with sidewalk chalk and then letting the kids draw on the clothes and facial features. My kids love playing with their shadows!
@clarkbeast: I agree about giving kids a camera — it adds a whole new world of discovery for them. Thanks for sharing!
Nice blog, and terrific list. I look forward to looking at more of the posts you link to. If I could add a number 51, it would be to "practice nature photography." Actually, this combines well with a number of your other items . . . my boys did your number 50 with the help of my camera today: (http://clarkbeast.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/backyard-bug-hunting/)
@Jen: Thanks so much for sharing the list on your blog. Hope you guys are enjoying some fun in your backyard! 🙂
What a great list! I shared it on my Pensacola with Kids blog. We are having to spend a lot of time at home this week so it is nice to have a few new ideas!
@Nature Rocks: Thank you! :o)<br /><br />@Frank & Sue: I most certainly hope you continue to roar at the moon well beyond 50! Kids need role models!:)
Frank and Sue says
Love your list! Can I still roar at the moon if I am over 50?? <br /><br />Frank
Nature Rocks says
I'm impressed! We need more people like you who inspire others to stop sitting in front of TV screens and computers and head outside to explore. <br /><br />By the way, thanks for sharing this great article on the Nature Rocks Facebook page. I really appreciate it!
@Kerri: Thank you!<br /><br />@Mel: I never thought of this as a list of our accomplishments, actually. But, yeah, I guess you're right – we're walking the talk!<br /><br />@Marghanita: Thank you for your continued inspiration my nature friend!<br /><br />@Crystal: You are sweet … & many congrats to you – I've missed you!
What a great list! The experiences you're sharing with your children are so very inspiring. I agree with backyardsafari…your boys are so very lucky!<br /><br />(I'm sorry I've been MIA for a while now…my family's had a wonderfully eventful, exhausting month. I'm settling down with a cup of tea while Shane naps and am determined to catch up with you and the other blogs I
Marghanita Hughes says
Great list Deb and big hugs for including my pinecone bird feeder and fairy house building. So many wonderful things to do with your children in your own back yard. One of my favourite being ………bug hunts!
Quite comprehensive! It must be sort of rewarding to make a list like this and see all the things you've done. And great for the rest of us to get some ideas.
Oh this is an EXCELLENT List! LOVE it!
@SquiggleMum: Thanks for sharing!<br /><br />@backyardsafari: Glad you enjoyed the list. Thanks for saying such a sweet thing! 🙂
Love it! I can't believe all of the great things your family has done! Your kids are very lucky to have you 🙂
Fantastic list!! I've shared it on twitter 🙂