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Nurturing Nature: 5 Ways to Enjoy Local Wildlife and Teach Your Little One to Appreciate Nature

Your kiddo is completely into science. They’re all about exploring, experimenting, and making discoveries when it comes to the world around them. With the warmer weather, you have the ideal opportunity to take your little one outside and enjoy the local wildlife. Interact with the flora and the fauna, and help your child learn a lesson in nature appreciation. Keep in mind, wild animals are just that – wild. Never approach, try to pet, or try to feed any of the wildlife around you. When it comes to talking to your child about how to appreciate wildlife from a distance, we’ve got an activity for that. Oh, and we’ve also got plenty of other nature-ific fun too!

Build a Bird House

Your child’s feathered friends are flying all around the yard. So why not build a house/feeder for them? Forget about the complex wooden structures that look like mini mansions. Your young child can’t help saw and drill these structures together. Instead, go simple and reuse a milk carton (the cardboard kind). Thoroughly wash and dry the carton. Have your child draw ‘windows’ (rectangles) on all four sides. You can cut the windows out with scissors for your child. Glue the top of the carton together and punch holes in the cardboard just under it. Encourage your creative kid to get artsy, and have them paint the outside of the carton. After the paint dries, thread a piece of yarn through the holes and tie it at the ends. Fill the bottom of the bird house/feeder with bird seed and hang the whole thing from a tree.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Explore the world that’s right outside your door with a fun-filled game. This one will get your little learner thinking and help them make discoveries in nature. Find pictures of plants, flowers, bugs, and animals that are outside in your area. Print the pictures and glue them to index cards to make a reusable set of nature clue cards! Have your child find a match outside for each card. Sometimes there won’t be a match. The squirrels may be shy or the flowers may have fallen off the tree. Hold on to the cards and see if your child can find them next time.

Artsy Outdoors

A nature walk is an ideal and easy way to help your child appreciate the world around them. As you walk through your yard, the park, or the woods, pick up a few fallen objects. Bring along a bag to stash twigs, pebbles, fallen leaves, flower petals or chipped bark in. Avoid plucking live flowers or pulling bark off live trees. Explain to your child that respecting nature, and all things living, is absolutely essential. Bring the natural treasures home and use them as art materials! How? Line them up in the driveway or on a patio, and make words or pictures from them. If your child wants something more permanent, have them glue the objects collage-style onto poster board paper.

Name the Creature

Animals are adorable – for the most part, that is. That doesn’t mean your child should approach, pet, or cuddle those furry friends. Sure, the family cat or dog is all about snuggling. A wild animal is not. Instead of running up to every squirrel, chipmunk, or raccoon, stand back and play a “name the creature” game. Ask your child to tell you what the animal is. Take the game a step farther and ask for the first letter, or the entire spelling, of the animal’s name.

Picture It

Your nature-loving child can play the role of photographer. Have your kiddo pretend they’re a National Geographic photog, snapping pics of naturescapes. Hand over the camera and help your child take photos of plants, furry friends, and feathered creatures. Get up and close with creepy crawlies and take a few awesome insect shots too. When you’re done, print the pictures or put them together into an outdoorsy Pint-Sized picture book!