Beat the "I'm bored" blues with nature activities you and your children can enjoy together. Put on the sunblock and head outside to explore the natural world around you.
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You can't get closer to nature than feeling dirt squish in between your fingers. Even children who prefer to suck their green thumb can start their own flower or vegetable garden with mommy's help. Growing plants together is also an excellent lesson on how nature works without your kids feeling like they're in school. Fun in the garden goes beyond digging in the ground. Capture your children's handprints in garden stepping stones
for a keepsake that will last long after the flowers and vegetables are gone.
Photo © Pingu1963 / Flickr
The tweets from the trees can bring you countless days of bird watching with your kids. Feed the birds, watch them through homemade binoculars
and raise your children's awareness of the creatures around them. Bird watching teaches kids
patience, listening and observation skills. With over 10,000 bird species to see, you never know which type of new friend you'll find hiding in the branches.
Photo © Kriss Szkurlatowski / stock.xchng
Letterboxing and geocaching are activities that appeal to children who crave adventure. Both sports have different goals but your whole family can play this global version of hide and seek combined with treasure hunting. Younger children will enjoy getting out of the house to find and leave treasures. Older children will love solving puzzles and clues while logging the journey in their personal notebook
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Mosquitos. Bears. A hockey mask-wearing guy named Jason. If the idea of packing up the family and heading out to the woods gives you the chills, spend an afternoon camping in the backyard. Tell stories, sing songs and pretend you're hundreds of miles from civilization. No running inside to answer the phone or grab a soda from the fridge either!
Photo © bilbord99 / Flickr
Bugs aren't as scary once we get to know them. Encourage your kids to check out insects on their own terms so they won't be as shocked the next time one of the unwelcome visitors makes its way into the house. An insect watering hole is the prime spot to invite bugs for a friendly outing. Your children can discover beetles, spiders and other insects looking for a drink of water.
Photo © Beth Rankin / Flickr
Let nature come to you at the craft table. There are many nature projects
you and your kids can do together to attract toads, birds and butterflies. You can also create crafts from your explorations. Dried flower pictures
, fairy houses
and leaf art
combine your children's new love of nature with their creativity.
Photo © Able Images / Getty Images
Sometimes the most fun you can have with nature is by playing games under the big blue sky. Do you remember how to play red light, green light? What about a game of hopscotch with sidewalk chalk
? Bring back the classics you and your parents grew up playing when you were little. Your children may not appreciate breathing fresh air and running barefoot through the grass now but these gifts from nature grow lasting memories year after year.