TGSG Note: Hi gang! This week, my friend and fellow nature geek, Suz Sachs Lipman, is stopping by to share some fun activities to help get you and your family outside and connecting with nature. Suz is celebrating the publishing of her new book, Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World. See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru
If you find yourself craving a deeper connection to nature, but don’t know where to begin or what to do once we get there, you’re not alone. These simple and rewarding activities can help you and your family slow down enough to observe and experience nature’s small wonders and have fun while you’re doing so.
1. Name Walk
As lovely as nature is, the instruction to observe it can be overwhelming, especially for kids. Just as birdwatchers focus on birds, other opportunities to focus on specific elements of nature can help children tune into their surroundings.
• Paper and pencils, optional
Before beginning your walk, instruct everyone to look for things that start with the same first letter as their names.
Lead kids on a route or trail or around a park and encourage them to look in the sky, on the ground, and in trees. Be prepared to walk slowly and perhaps not cover much distance, to allow
Try other observation walks by having everyone look for the same type of thing, such as flowers, leaves, birds, rocks, small items, smooth items, or certain colors. See how many varieties the group can find within one category.
2. Nature Bracelets
I’ve done this very easy activity with groups of all ages. It encourages people to look all around them.
• Masking tape, 1? or wider, enough to go around each child’s wrist
Tear off a piece of masking tape, slightly longer than the child’s wrist.
Place it around the wrist with the sticky side out.
Go for a walk or hunt and look for small items in nature that can be stuck to the masking tape, such as leaves, twigs, seeds, acorns, pebbles, and pods. In general, things that have already fallen on the ground are safe to pick. If in doubt, leave something.
Fill the bracelet by sticking the items onto it and wear it proudly.
3. Kim’s Game
This well-known game has entertained many generations and is easy to organize and play, indoors or out.
• 20 small items, such as acorns, shells, twigs, rocks, pinecones, or seeds
• Pencil and paper for each person
• Towel or something to cover items
Decide whether you are playing in teams or individually.
Uncover items for two minutes.
Cover items again. Teams or players remember and name as many objects as they can.
Each player earns one point for each correct article named.
Seeking a different way to play? Try Duplication. Uncover items for two minutes. Players go out in nature to find duplicates of the items.
Have fun while you deepen your connection to nature!
Playfully yours, Suz