We know times are tough for many families, so we surveyed parents on their favorite ways to connect kids to nature in the backyard. Here are their top suggested activities for keeping kids entertained outdoors.
1. Backyard Staycation
Bring out your camping gear, barbecue dinner, pitch the tent, tell ghost stories, roast marshmallows, and sleep outside under the stars.
2. Plant a Butterfly Garden
Research which native flowering plants of Mount Diablo will thrive in your garden to act as a sanctuary and attract a wide variety of butterflies while also providing a place where butterflies can grow and multiply. Build a bee or butterfly bath by using a shallow bowl or dish and some stones for them to land on.
3. Do a Construction Project
Build a house for birds, bats, or bees. Or, you could let the kids help you make a sandbox for them.
4. Set Up an Obstacle Course
Help your kids stay active and pro- mote development of physical and mental skills. Create the course with things you have around the house, such as cinder block balance beams, balls to toss into a basket, hula hoops, jump ropes, balloons, and a wading pool to “fish” for metal objects with magnets on a string. If you have a rotating sprinkler, have them practice their timing by running past the sprinkler without getting wet.
5. Build a Fairy House
Using childlike imagination and gifts from Mother Nature—twigs, pebbles, moss, flowers, pine cones—transform a corner of the yard or a base of a tree into an enchanted place where fairies can flutter.
6. Make a Dream or Sun Catcher
Use sticks, nature’s treasures you find in the yard, string, or yarn to make a dream catcher or sun catcher you can hang up and admire.
7. Create an Outdoor Haven
Create a comfortable space shaded from the sun to work on projects, read, or study. This would be a great spot for creativity or homeschooling!
8. Nature Journal
Nature journaling is for all ages and can be done in your own yard or neighborhood, requiring only a notebook, pen or pencil, unbounded curiosity, and keen observation. Read our nature journaling blog post on free resources to get started in nature journaling.
9. Mosaic Chalk Art
Arrange painter’s tape into a geometric design on a pre-swept sidewalk, fence, or wall where you want it. Color away with sidewalk chalk. When you color in the sections, use your hand or an old sock to smooth it out and spread the chalk dust into the corners and spots you might have missed.
10. Have a Backyard Nature Scavenger Hunt
We have created a scavenger hunt list that you can print.