Make Your Own Rainstick

Screenshot 2020-04-29 at 1.50.02 PMCheck out this neat activity to make your own rainstick at home! Take your child on a stick collecting adventure, and then pull together some rice and a clear plastic bottle. We didn’t have a big water bottle like in the original post, but I found an old salt container that fit the bill. We tried a cardboard tube first, but the cardboard muffled the sound, so I definitely recommend plastic or glass if you feel confident that your child won’t drop it! We added sticks & twigs that we had collected outside and poured about ½ cup of rice into the hole. Then we duct taped the top and experimented with tilting and shaking to mimic the pitter-patter of rain drops. You may find you need to adjust the stick/ rice ratio for the best sound. Have fun with this easy rainy day project!

(Source: https://rhythmsofplay.com/diy-rainstick-musical-sensory-bottle/)

Making nature soup – fun sensory play for all ages

All you need for this all natural sensory play is some items from nature, a few kitchen tools, and water. It doesn’t get much more hands-on than nature soup! It’s a fantastic way to explore nature and is easily tailored to appeal to all ages of children.

The first step is collecting natural items. Bring a bucket or mixing bowl with you outdoors and invite your child to add whichever treasures on the ground that are appealing – fallen leaves, flower buds, weeds, twigs, berries, etc. Then add water and…voila…nature soup!

Sit back and be amazed by the imaginative and creative play your child enjoys as they “bake” goodies, mix up magic potions, and create concoctions with super powers! Consider offering props: kitchen tools like muffin tins, ladles, and plates/bowls for serving up their goodness, for example. Ask your child to share the story of their creation.

Pro tip: keep a towel near by and remember: kids are 100% washable and the muddier and wetter they get while playing, the more they are learning…Enjoy!

Make a Nature Board Game

Everyone loves board games and it’s a lot of fun to create your very own. All you need is:

  • Paper or cardboard
  • Markers or crayons
  • A die
  • Natural items as playing pieces

Your child’s age will determine how much scaffolding and assistance will be needed. It’s often helpful to have the basic frame created the first time and let children fill in the colors and details (roll again, skip a turn, go back 2 spaces, etc). Then, let children’s imaginations and creativity go wild. Talk through the way the game works with your child(ren) before beginning to play – a clear understanding of rules will help everything run smoothly.

Game on!

Nature Suncatchers

Nature suncatchers are a lovely way to bring some nature indoors; additionally, all ages enjoy this simple project where creativity and originality shine! All you need is:

  • Natural items – small/lightweight items work best – enjoy the physics lesson involved in discovering what sticks best
  • a paper plate (or sturdy paper/cardboard) – we will cut out the center creating a frame
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape – add the tape sticky side up in order to add natural items
  • Optional: string to hang in window

We hope you have a wonderful time creating your own nature suncatchers!

Helping the Earth by pulling invasive Garlic Mustard

When you’re spending time in nature, there is a super simple way to help the Earth: pull the invasive “bully” plants to give native plants space, nutrients and sunlight to grow! This short video offers you everything you need to know to get started. Be sure to put the pulled plants in the trash (not compost) so they don’t come back again! Bonus: there’s a hot tip included on a yummy way to use the Garlic Mustard…Enjoy!

Rock Buddies

On your next walk, bring a collecting bag or bucket to hold any potential rock buddies you find. Back home, you can give your new friends a quick bath, and then your imagination is the only limit on uncovering your rocks’ hidden identities.

Paint and brushes, googly eyes, fabric scrap clothes, yarn hair, a sharpie and some glue will help you fashion your new friends.

You may want to find a place outside, on a branch, around the base of a tree, or you may decide you have an indoor rock. I like to name my rock friend Roxie. Roxie may live on a shelf or you may decide to a make a special home out of a shoe box.

Nature Paintbrushes

Make your own nature paintbrushes by attaching natural items like leaves, pine needles, grasses, pinecones and flowers to the tips of sticks with twine or rubber bands. Dip in watercolor or tempera paint and enjoy experimenting with different shapes, textures and lines. Making art for Earth Day has never been so much fun!