Summer is a great time to get outside and learn more about the environment. From hunting bugs to making seashell magnets, these awesome hands-on activities are a great way for your child to get a little closer to nature.
They fly, they buzz — they can even light up! It's no wonder most kids think bugs are cool. Take some time to observe the bugs in your backyard with your child, and get up close and personal with a magnifying glass. Talk to your child about what colors they are, how they protect themselves (do they sting?), and how they work together to build a home (an ant hill is a great example of an insect colony.)
Take your kids for on a rock-hunting adventure and gather rocks of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. When you get home, pull out the paints and let your kids go to town decorating them. Encourage them to be creative by painting funny faces or animals on them. When they are dry, store them in a box for safe keeping.
If your child loves to collect mementos from your trips to the beach, playground, or other summer destinations, save them and turn them into a wreath to display in your home (or, ahem, perhaps in your child's bedroom). Heavy cardboard makes a sturdy base for gluing heavier objects (like seashells), and will allow you to easily hang your masterpiece for all to see.
All you need for this simple craft is tape! Wrap a piece of masking tape around your child's wrist sticky side up, and head out for a nature walk. As you explore, have your child find different items to attach to the tape to make a bracelet. Different flowers, leaves, and even grass all make great additions!
Work with your child to create a list of natural objects you can find outside during the summertime (such as a bird feather, wildflowers, and a green leaf.) After you make your list, grab a paper bag and set out to find each item. You can even turn it into a game for multiple children — the first one to find every item wins!
A terrarium is a completely self-supporting ecosystem. Build your own and watch it come to life! You'll need a glass container, some plants, and a few easy-to-find supplies from your local hardware store to get started. Your kids will love watching their terrarium thrive throughout the summer.
If you want to get a close look at the birds in your yard, a DIY tree feeder will help attract them. Simply string popcorn, berries, raisins, fruit, and anything else you think birds might like to eat on a sturdy piece of string. Loop your string around a tree in your yard (evergreens work well, since the needles will easily hold the string in place), and watch as birds flock to your homemade feeding station!
Take a walk with your child and gather a variety of colorful items that can be found in nature (such as flowers, plants, leaves, weeds, etc.) The more colors you can find, the better!
When you return home, spread out your findings and have your child draw a picture of each item on a piece of paper using crayons that match the color of each. This simple activity is a great way for your child to learn his colors, and to see how colorful nature can be!
Turn your seashells into magnets to hang on your fridge! Have your child decorate her seashell however she wants — she can paint it, adorn it with silk or dried flowers, or even roll it in glitter! Afterwards, attach a magnetic strip to the back with a glue gun, and use your new magnets to display your favorite family pictures from the summer.