Hot and cold

Play an old favorite game with natural items! The player that is the “hider” chooses a natural item. The “seekers” use their senses to really explore the item before the hider hides it. Discuss its details together: is it large, medium or small? Is it heavy or light? Smooth or rough? It’s important to practice keen observation skills as there may be other natural items that look very similar! Consider marking the item with a sharpie or a string if you think that would be helpful.

Once ready, the seekers close their eyes while the hider hides the object. Once the hider shouts “ready!”, the seekers move together as the hider tells them with each step if they’re getting “warmer” (closer to the hiding spot) or “colder (further from the hiding spot). When the seekers get warm, warmer, hot, hotter, BURNING HOT (!!) they know they are close to the jackpot and need to use their eagle eyes to find the natural item. We hope you have a blast playing “Hot and Cold” with natural items!

Tree obstacle course

Head outside and find a climbing tree to create a tree obstacle course! Find different ways to climb through the tree – Japanese Maples and Bush Honeysuckle work well for young children – and consider adding a rope for more challenges. You can switch up speed, height, and distance for more or less challenge depending on your child’s age, comfort and skill level.

A few safety rules to consider is to only climb on branches as thick as your leg, ensure safe fall zones, and have a spotter for young children.

Have fun and remember to hug the tree when you’re finished!

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!

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!

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!

Nature twists on fun games

It’s easy to add a little nature into play!

We are all spending a lot more time at home these days and while it’s always wonderful to spend time in nature, it’s extra important right now to find a way to bring nature into our lives to help calm, center and soothe us.

Our amazing staff at the Audubon Nature Preschool is excited to share a fun activity to help bring more nature into your lives each weekday. All activities are geared toward young children and are adaptable based on age and whatever outdoor (or indoor) spaces you have available to you. Here’s a sneak peek at the type of activities we’ll be sharing each day. Leave us a comment if you try it out! Have fun, everyone!img_6325

Step-scotch: a nature twist on hopscotch…with steps!

This activity is super fun indoors or outdoors. If outdoors, just add one action idea to each step with chalk. You’ll also want to mark a starting point and ending point on the sidewalk if possible. Then gather rocks, seed pods, or pine cones and toss the nature item on the steps. Take up to three tosses and whichever step your item lands on is the action you try!

If you’re indoors, just add the actions to each step with paper, markers and tape. You can tape off a starting and end point on the floor for the actions and use natural items to toss if you collect some items on a nature walk. Enjoy!