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!

Plant Collecting Board

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Do you have a child who is noticing the abundance of violets, dandelions, and new leaves in your neighborhood? Check out this neat way to collect some plants and flowers from the website below. I created the board just as described except I added a handle at the top so my almost-3-year-old could carry it (of course after about 5 minutes I ended up with it anyway!!), but even with that it took about 1 minute to set up. Just grab a piece of cardboard, write/ draw 3-4 categories of plant parts along the front, and attach rubber bands near the words. You could make the categories anything you want– I found the twigs to be the toughest one because my daughter wanted to pick up bigger sticks, so it might be worth changing the bottom row to grass. If you feel leery about picking live plants, you could always collect seed pods, fallen flower petals, and other loose plant parts. Just watch out for those leaves of 3… no one wants to collect poison ivy!

(Source: https://toddleratplay.com/2019/05/08/naturehuntactivity/) 

Jump over the river

Have a blast with this super simple, kid-approved activity today! All you need is two sticks (or blocks or tape) to make a narrow river for you and your little one(s) to jump over. Each turn, the river gets a little bit wider as the jumper figures out how to make it across the river in a step, lunge, jump or leap. You’ll be amazed at how fun this easy activity is…Try it today!

Save the stuffies!

Today we challenge you to create a simple “Save the stuffies” obstacle course. You need just a few materials:

1) a log or two – sticks also work! If indoors, use pillows or placemats as stepping stones. You just want them to be within a step’s reach of your youngest player.

2) stuffed animals or magazine/pictures of animals

3) a home base (a tree, step, chair, etc)

The goal of the game is to save the stuffies by balancing along the logs or stepping stones and picking up and taking each stuffy (one at a time) to home base without losing your balance. Repeat to save as many stuffies as you can. Have fun!

Nature Portraits

Making art from natural objects is so much fun! For this activity, collect any natural items that are appealing to you and your child like twigs, acorns, walnuts, invasive species, garden flowers, etc. and arrange them into portraits on a canvas. A paper plate or cardboard work well as a canvas (both outdoors and indoors) as do flat stumps in nature as well. This activity is a great conversation starter about different emotions and feelings. It’s so beneficial for our children to hear (over and over, so many times) that all feelings are okay and all feelings pass. We ALL have big feelings every day – especially right now during this time of uncertainty. Ask your child questions about the faces they create on their canvas and to remember a time they felt that emotion. Create different faces and play a “guess that feeling” game with your kiddo- it’s sure to have you both laughing in no time!

Make & Bake Yum Bars

These kid-approved (and child-named!) Yum Bars are super easy to make, have only four ingredients and are a delicious and protein-packed snack. We hope your family enjoys this simple baking project and yummy snack!

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas

2 cups of old fashioned oats

1/2 cup of peanut butter

1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350*

Mash the bananas, add the other three ingredients, and stir together. Pour the batter into a greased 9×9-inch pan OR drop by the tablespoon onto a lined baking sheet.

Bake until set (between 10-15 minutes). Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

Number Ride

The Number Ride game is really simple and totally customizable. All you need is sidewalk chalk (or markers and paper indoors). Make many sets of the same 3 numbers a short distance apart. The goal is to bike ride (or hop or jump) on whichever number chosen that round, from the start to the finish. Vary the distance of the numbers based on age and ability and plan for your child to be able to hit the same number 5 or 6 times. It’s great to start with consecutive numbers like 1, 2, and 3 and you can quickly move to playing with concepts like evens (2, 4 and 6’s) and odds (1, 3 and 5’s) as well as using the numbers to show children how to count by 5’s and 10’s. Have fun with the Number Ride!