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How to get kids outside and immersed in nature

How to get kids outside and immersed in nature

Long standing members of our blogging community gardening blogger Catherine Hughes and parenting blogger Becky Goddard-Hill have just had their new book A Year of Nature Craft and Play, published by Harper Collins.

It is a bumper activity book which contains over 50 crafts, gardening projects, games, art and science activities for children aged 7 and over. The activities are designed to get kids outside and immersed in nature. Discover how you get encourage your kids to get outside and love nature.

A Year of Nature Craft and Play by Becky Goddard-Hill & Catherine Hughes

Why outside activities are important for kids

As autumn arrives, kids need daylight and exercise more than ever. Both contribute to the production of serotonin in the brain, which is a great mood booster for our kids and will really help them through the back-to-school blues.

In a study of 300 primary school children, researchers found that children with strong feelings of connectedness to nature reported higher levels of happiness (Barrera-Hernandez et al 2020).

Study after study shows fresh air, exercise, creativity and immersion in nature are all a real boost for both the physical and emotional wellbeing of kids and adults alike.

How do we get kids outside when it’s cold?

It is an established fact that nature craft and play is beneficial. But how do we get kids outside when it’s a bit chilly and so many of them would much rather be indoors and on screens?

This is exactly the question A Year of Nature Craft and Play sets out to answer by offering a host of fun, exciting, interesting, and rewarding natured based activities.

How to encourage nature craft and play

Here are 5 ideas you might like to try with your kids over autumn to engage their love of the great outdoors. Unsurprisingly, awesome, colourful autumn leaves play a starring role.

child painting pinecones as nature arts and crafts activity

Leaf printing

Lots of trees lose their leaves in autumn.  Kids can collect some of these fallen leaves from their garden or local park, and use them to create their own unique artwork. Encourage them to gather a wide selection of sizes and shapes, dab them in some paint and see what they can make.

Conker Art

Conkers look amazing made into a simple wreath, arranged in a spiral, or glued together into a long snake.

What can your child make with the conkers they gather?

Autumn Lantern

Perfect to hang outside on a tree and liven up dark autumn evenings, your child could use their gathered leaves to make a leaf lantern by gluing dried leaves around a jar and adding an electric tea light. This would also make a lovely gift for an older relative who may not be able to get outside and see the autumn colours.

Cone cows

Pinecones have so much potential. There are awesome experiments kids can do with them, and crafts too. They could add teeny pom poms and turn them into Christmas trees, roll them in paint over some wrapping paper, or even turn them into a cone cow. This is a popular activity in Scandinavia and it simply involves inserting four small sticks to make legs.

cow cone
An easy cow cone that kids can make themselves

Leaf Pile

Jumping in leaf piles can be so much fun. It requires gathering up handfuls of leaves and making a hill, then taking a run up and jumping into it. Make sure the pile is nice and deep through, and that there is nothing prickly or living beneath it, or your child may get a nasty surprise.

How about encouraging them to making smaller piles and jumping from one to the next without touching the ground?

If you film this on slo-mo, it can look amazing when you play it back, with leaves slowly scattering everywhere.

The great outdoors is full of craft and play potential. Sometimes kids just need a little inspiration!

Get the book: Get A Year of Nature Craft and Play to enjoy active and fun outdoor play any time of year!

More nature craft and play ideas

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