Hands-On Nature

With Earth Day approaching I’m writing at The Organized Parent today about getting our kids’ hands a little dirty….

I believe that there is nothing that will compel our children to be good stewards of the earth that’s quite as powerful as simply experiencing the wonder and joy of nature for themselves.  We have to get them outside, get their hands dirty, and get their brains buzzing!  Here are some things to consider for your next hands-on nature experience.

Look Through the Lens

Bring along some binoculars, a magnifying glass, and/or a camera for the kiddos to use and you’ll find them looking at things in a whole new way.  Even if you don’t have the most powerful, professional, or top-of-the-line you’ll find the prop alone encourages children to really look around them.  As an added bonus, you get exposed to a new perspective too as you’re invited to see things as they do!

Start Collecting

Kids are natural collectors.  And so are scientists.  If you’re exploring in an area where you’re OK’d to remove samples, bring along supplies for collecting.  A little Contact paper is great for pressing and preserving flowers or leaves, or for wearing as bracelets (sticky side out) to hold found treasures as you hike.  Grab a basket or bag for collections or an empty egg carton for sorting.  Maybe pack some small tools like tweezers and brushes for extracting exciting finds, paleontologist-style.   Read more about how to store and display your child’s growing nature collections in this great post from Amy at Simple Kids.

Pound Some Leaves

This is one of my favorite activities!  Help your child take a leaf and place it between two strips of muslin or other white, cotton fabric.  Together, hammer the muslin with a rubber mallet.  As the mallet strikes the leaf, the chlorophyll is released from the leaf and absorbed by the fabric.

Head on over to The Organized Parent to find more ideas!

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3 Comments

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3 Responses to Hands-On Nature

  1. Love the leaf pounding idea. Thanks!

  2. There is a joy in showing your children the wonders in the world around them. One of our favourite family destinations is the Brisbane Zoo and each time they never cease to amaze me with the things they notice and learn.

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