Blossoming logoSusan from Blossoming Cooks shared with us some easy nature activities to try at home with the children.

Whilst recently house and garden-bound with my 3 and a half year old, due to chicken pox, I had to work very hard to keep him amused – and from scratching. It made me think of putting together a little guide to easy nature activities which might be used by others in a similar situation! All of the following activities use only everyday items!

 

wormeryBuilding a Wormery

You will need:
• Washed plastic bottles – cut in half
• Trowel or old spoon
• Compost (although garden soil will do just as well)
• Sand (if you have a sandpit, otherwise not to worry!)
• Elastic band
• brown paper / newspaper

The Activity:
Put a few scoops of soil or compost into a halved plastic bottle. Add a few scoops of sand and some dead leaves. Give it a little watering and then go on a worm-hunt!
Look under large flowerpots, bricks or dig down into the soil a little.Look under your compost heap if you have one.
Take a look at the worms with your little helper – are they brave enough to pick one up? Talk about the differences in sizes and shapes.
Put a couple of worms into the newly-made wormery and fix some brown paper or newspaper over the top with your elastic band. Poke a few holes into the paper to allow air inside. Watch the worms moving about and mixing the layers!

 

beeBeing a Bee
You will need:
• Cardboard box with a hand-sized hole cut out and painted yellow (or covered in yellow paper)
• Pieces of yellow and orange card or paper
• Tiara or any kind of hat
• Any yellow and black pieces of clothing

The Activity:
Hide lots of pieces of yellow and orange paper or card around the garden.
Put on the tiara (or any hat you can find) and any yellow and black items of clothes. You are the queen bee and can choose where the hive (box!) will be located. Your little worker bee must buzz around trying to find all of the nectar (yellow/orange card) and put it into the hive before the queen bee decides on a new location.
Swap over so that your little one gets the chance to be a queen too! Give a honey snack to follow the exertion and teach your little one how honey is made!

 

snailSnail Racing
You will need:
• Chalk or paint
• Leaves
• Snails
• Washed coffee jar
• Some sort of prize

The Activity:
Collect some snails from the garden – dusk is the best time to do this although in the heat of summer they can be tricky to find! Look behind any foliage / weeds, under flowerpots or hiding in hedgerows. Keep them in a soil-filled jar with some leaves and a few holes poked through the lid.
Draw a circle on the ground using chalk or washable paint. Scatter some leaves around the circle as an incentive! Put a dot at the centre of the circle – this is your race-track!
Before starting the race take a look at the variety of snails you have found and try to guess which will be the fastest. Use chalk or a dab of paint to mark your chosen snail. Put the snails onto the dot in the centre of the circle. They will not like being exposed in the light and should try to escape. The first one to reach the edge of the circle is the winner!
Be sure to find a nice leafy home for your snails following the race!

 

hungrycaterpillarHungry Caterpillar
You will need:
• Cardboard box with a hand-sized hole
• Play food
• Old sock
• Felt-tip pens / any decoartiosn such as googly eyes or pipe-cleaners

The Activity:
Decorate the cardboard box to look like a caterpillar by attaching pipe-cleaner antennea (or 2 thin sticks!) and painting on eyes. Draw a mouth shape around the hole and stick on some teeth made or bits of old fabric or foam if you have it. It doesn’t need to look particularly realistic – imagination is just as important here!
Take an old sock and make a double sided puppet. Caterpillar on the outside and butterfly on the inside. Use googly eyes and pipe-cleaners if you have them otherwise simply draw on features using a felt-tip pen. Any old bits of fabric can be used for wings.
Scatter play food (or any other objects you like) around the garden. Wearing the sock puppet with the caterpillar side outwards, your little helper must gather pieces of food and deposit them into the “mouth” of the big caterpillar. Once all the food has been collected simply turn the sock inside out to reveal the butterfly!

 

Egg ‘n’ Birds Nest Race

You will need:
• Plasticine or playdough
• Boiled eggs
• Twigs / leaves etc
• Any objects which could be used as obstacles / hoops etc

The Activity:
Help your little one to make a “bird’s nest” from plasticine or play-dough. Hunt around the garden for any pieces of twig or dead leaves etc which could be used to line the nest. When finished, add a boiled egg or two and try to complete a home-made obstacle course around the garden without dropping any eggs!

 

woodlouseWoodlouse Garden
You will need:
• A clean food tray (e.g. packaging for mushrooms / strawberries etc)
• Smaller pots such as yoghurt pots
• Moist soil or compost
• Dry sand
• Dead leaves
• Small stones

The Activity:
First prepare your new woodlouse garden by dividing the food tray into two halves. Place moist soil into one half of the food tray and dry sand into the other half. Scatter some dead leaves onto the soil and some stones onto the sand.
Go on a woodlouse hunt! These are usually fairly easy to find – try looking under any garden objects such as flower pots or bricks. Catching them can be tricky as they move fast but try to get a few into your yoghurt pots.
Talk about your new pets – do any curl up into a ball? If so you have pill woodlice as well as common woodlice!
Put the woodlice into their newly created habitat and cover. Leave them for about half an hour. Before lifting the cover try to guess which part of the “garden” they prefer – did you guess correctly?
Put them back wherever you found them at the end of this activity.

 

Thanks to Blossoming Cooks for sharing these super nature activities.

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