Crafts and nature are two things I love combining when I spend time with my son. The nature inspired crafts and activities are ones that we’ve come back to again and again. These crafts are great for toddlers and preschoolers. What I like about incorporating nature into crafts is that children begin to appreciate the wonders and beauty of the outdoors. Exposing early learners to nature helps them practice observation (an important life skill) and notice the changes that take place outside. There’s so much to learn and create in our backyard.
Cheerio Bird & Squirrel Feeder
This is a great craft to get your child interested and interacting with nature. It is simple for preschoolers to make and requires almost no preparation. Making a Cheerio Bird & Squirrel Feeder is lots of fun and great practice for your child’s fine motor skills.
Nature Sun Catcher
My son and I really adore this craft! He carries his bucket in our front and backyard and we collect different leaves, flowers, and (even) weeds are great to decorate with. There are many things to take notice when collecting the leaves and flowers, such as their shape, color, size, thickness and even smell. You never know what you may see on your adventure outside. We went out this morning and were lucky enough to see a bunny, squirrel and Monarch butterfly as well. Here are full instructions on the Nature Sun Catcher.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
We’ve done scavenger hunts inside, which can be a lot of fun! But, why not bring the scavenger hunt outside? This is another great way to connect with nature. Its also a wonderful opportunity to talk about what your child notices outside, and, for example the difference in plants. An outdoor scavenger hunt is perfect for family exercise, enjoying the outdoors, and a fun way to spend time together. I’m always looking for a reason to go outside. Could you tell? This Nature Scavenger Hunt is great for preschoolers and gives children practice in pre-writing skills.
The whole process of planting seeds is a lot of fun. When you’re ready to plant get a lot of empty pots together so you can plant a variety of seeds. A simple way to distinguish one potted plant from another is by labeling them with freezer tape and permanent marker. We’ve planted outside and also inside the house or on the patio when we need to catch some shade. Try using a “Mess Mat” (a shower curtain) which allows you to plant anywhere with a simple clean up.
My son and I have planted a variety of seeds. Broccoli, Green Beans, Basil, and Sun Flowers are some of the plants that have grown and flowered in our backyard. It’s so exciting especially for preschoolers to grow, take care of, and pick a vegetable or flower that they’ve grown themselves. Watering the plants is an important responsibility for little ones and lots of fun too. In addition, noticing new growth on plants is a great learning experience and very rewarding.
Paint a Can Planter
Here’s another way children can benefit from interacting with nature. Making a planter from a can is a fun recycling project to do with your preschooler and one he will feel proud of. He will enjoy using his creation as a home for a plant. Here are instructions on Paint a Can Planter craft.
Shell Painting Chimes
Shell Painting Chimes is a fun craft inspired by nature’s treasures on the beach. A shell collection can be fascinating to gather, but what do you do with all the shells once they come home? Painting on a different surface will be an activity your preschooler will really enjoy experimenting with.
Backyard Inspired Painting
Taking the time to talk about a particular plant or animal can inspire your little one to make a very thoughtful painting. A great way to inspire your toddler’s painting is to allow him to be hands on. You can do this in a variety of ways. Here’s one way my preschooler became inspired.
Through these hands on activities your child will gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the outdoors. You’ll be amazed what your toddler takes notice of, his interests, and thoughtful questions he comes up with. I hope you’ll find these activities artful, entertaining, and educational.