Nurture your child’s creativity in nature
There are more things to do outside than there are leaves on a tree! Discover the benefits of playing and learning in nature with your child.
Outdoor play for babies
A change of scenery with a regular outing to the park, creek, beach or nature reserve – even the backyard – can be enjoyable for everyone.
Bring a blanket or wrap for some tummy time and talk about the different sounds you hear and things you see.
Go for a walk with your baby while you talk about the clouds, trees or birds. Notice what catches their attention. Allow them to crawl around, explore and learn about the natural environment. Talk about what you discover.
Stay sun smart - always make sure your baby’s hat protects their face, neck and ears.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers
Children have natural curiosity to experiment, explore and discover new things around them.
- Make sandcastles, mud pies, natural forts or daisy chains
- Start a small veggie or herb garden and nurture it together. You can use recycled egg cartons to start your seedlings. Kid-friendly options include tomatoes, green beans and basil
- Go on a bug hunt. See how many different bugs you can find and name
- ‘Paint’ your fence with water for mess-free fun. If you have an outdoor staircase, you can paint the steps.
- Cook up a storm. Using some old cooking utensils, cups, plates and pots, make a meal in your outdoor restaurant. Gather 'ingredients' (sticks, leaves, flowers and water) to prepare your recipe. Role play and take turns being the waiter or customer
- Put up a tent or shade shelter in the backyard and go on a pretend family camping trip
- Build simple cubbies and plan together how you’ll make them
- Write messages or your child’s name in the sand or mud
- Sort things you find into groups. For example, create and arrange a few piles organised as rocks, sticks, leaves and seed pods
- Play a game of Poohsticks - Each player drops a stick on the upstream side of a bridge and the one whose stick first appears on the downstream side is the winner.
Visit your local library
Great books about nature can be borrowed from your local library.
- Grug series - Ted Prior
- The Tiny Seed - Eric Carle
- All Through the Year - Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
- Isabella’s Garden - Glenda Millard
- Imagine - Alison Lester
- Millie loves ants - Jackie French
- Big Rain Coming - Katrina Germein
- Grandpa and Thomas - Pamela Allen
- Uno’s Garden - Graham Base
- A River - Marc Martin
- Some Books can to inspire outdoor activities and enhanceing early literacy learning:
- Leaf Man - Lois Ehlert. Collect leaves and make your own leaf man
- Not A Stick - Antoinette Portis. What are all the things you can turn your stick into?
- Little Cloud - Eric Carle. Lie on your backs and together and talk about all the shapes you can see in the clouds
Ask your local library if they do Story times or activities outside the library. Across Queensland there are some great sessions available in parks, pools and beaches.