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Kids Summer Nature Walk

Day 15- Kids Summer Fun {Ideas & Activities}

Summer Nature Walk – Keep kids active, learning and open them up to conversation by A Life in Balance

To see ALL 31 kids ideas click here!

Love this! A new idea for kids fun activity every day for a month!! This will make long summer days SO much fun!

Nature walks are one of my favorite ways to get my kids outside.  They are the perfect way to get your kids active, teach them something new, and open them up to conversation.  I’ve been doing nature walks with them since my oldest son, now 18, was 5. I love nature walks because they can done anywhere at any time. You don’t need to go to a park; walking around your neighborhood will yield lots of things to look at and talk about.

Every detail you need to go on a nature walk with your kids that will be a great way to learn and open them up to conversation!

Getting Ready to Walk

Always dress appropriately for the walk. During the summer, wear sunscreen, sturdy walking shoes, and a hat. If it’s too hot to wear long layers to protect against ticks, do a tick check at the end of your walk and another one at bedtime.

Plan on setting aside at least an hour for the walk depending on the age of your kids. If you have little ones, check on conditions ahead of time. Some places have nice flat trails for jogging strollers while others may be a bit more rugged. When my guys were really little (under 6 months) I carried them in a Baby Bjorn. After 6 months we moved to the jogging stroller with a nifty little sack to keep them warm.

Summer Nature Walks with Kids

Places to Go

To get started, take a walk in each of the different habits in your area. For example, our hometown area, the Delaware Valley, is home to a fresh water marsh, salt water marsh, meadows, mountains, and woods. The fresh water marsh is the source for walks throughout the year since it serves as a stopping point for birds migrating in the spring and fall. The other spots can be visited seasonally to see what changes have occurred.

Summer Nature Walks with Kids

What to Look For

Nature walks are an easy learning opportunity. Just bring your own curiosity and encourage your kids to bring theirs.

Toddlers can look for leaf buds, common birds and animals, animal tracks, or signs of insect activity like praying mantis egg cases. Preschoolers can be introduced to the concept of seasons. They can also begin to differentiate between the different types of environments.

Elementary students and up can use nature journals to help them hone in on details in the environments such as tree shapes, different types of birds, and coniferous vs deciduous trees. Later in winter, they can look for migratory birds if they live near one of the migratory bird routes.

Elementary students are ready to understand concepts like the water cycle and the roles the different members of the environments play. Elementary students can also learn about recycling and how to preserve the environment for others.

Ways to Extend the Walk

  • Make small file folder books to use as nature journals for each walk.
  • Start a regular nature journal with a sketch book from an art store.
  • Learn bird calls for your area. Petersen’s Birding by Ear CD is one resource our family has used.
  • Have a visual scavenger hunt. Print out pictures of animal tracks, animals, birds, or trees to look for and have the kids match them up with the pictures.
  • Learn about animal tracks and make air dry clay casts of tracks you find.
  • Take a walk at night and listen to the sounds of the nocturnal birds and animals.
  • Buy your children disposable cameras if they’re young or lend them your camera if they’re old enough and have your kids take pictures of what they see. Focus on a theme for each walk.

Nature Study Resources

Handbook of Nature Study

I have two favorite resources that I keep on my shelf. The first is Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study. Written in 1911, it is a wonderfully thick reference for those taking nature walks on the East Coast. Just be aware that it is a good size book. You may want to keep this in the stroller or at home.

Keeping a Nature Journal

The second is Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Claire Walker Leslie. Not only does it give a nice overview of how to draw, it gives ideas of what to look for in each season. I would love for my own nature journals to be as full of life as Leslie’s!

Summer Nature Walks with Kids

Packing Food

I always bring an easy snack and water bottles when we go on our nature walks. Kids don’t need a big snack, though snack time is an easy way to take a rest. Often, when my kids are lagging and complaining about being tired, a quick snack stop gets them back into a happy mood, ready to head back to the car.

Snack Resources

Easy Lunch Box Ideas – lots of easy to pack snacks and lunch box ideas for longer hikes

12 Quick and Easy Snack Ideas

Healthy and Easy Toddler Snack Ideas

Summer Family Fun: Grab and Go Picnics for the Car

My name is Barb, and I’m a mom of 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 girl. I share my life and resources for moms on my site A Life in Balance. You’ll find inspiration and motivation to balance parenting, fitness, real food, healthy living, and frugality. Remember, our lives are a journey. We’ll never have it all, or balance it all.

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Love this! A new idea for kids fun activity every day for a month!! This will make long summer days SO much fun!

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