We all cherish the moments spent with our family in the open. Sometimes, though, kids who are used to modern gadgets find it difficult to play without them. That’s why their parents should think about activities to do in advance.
We at Bright Side have found ten simple yet creative scenarios for such outdoor trips which can be put to use both in an urban park and in the rural woods.
To try this idea you’ll need glass or transparent plastic jars with lids, or wide-necked bottles, and clear water. Each jar should contain one tree. Put twigs, leaves, seeds, and cones inside, then pour water over it all and close the lid. It’ll be a good idea to stick original labels with the names of the trees for your home exhibition.
Take some paints and brushes with you for a walk, and ask your kids to find a couple of smooth stones. If there are no really smooth ones around, use those you can find — the result will still be beautiful. You can paint the stones to become ladybugs, little cars, or even houses. It’s also a lot of fun to paint simple stones into precious ones. The main idea is to do it all outdoors.
Building a home for fairies is a great idea, and it’s very simple to do: make a framework out of twigs, and bind it with a thin rope. The roof of the house is made from leaves. Then comes flower decoration — your fairies should have a pretty home. You can bring your own toy fairy from your home and, for example, some dollhouse furniture to fit inside.
Go for a hunt with your kid. Arm yourselves with a list of finds and a pencil. ’Finds’ are pictures of what you should look for in the woods — these can be leaves, flowers, or insects, for example. Each picture should have a checkbox next to it that you’ll check if you find the item on the list. In case you don’t have time to draw your own finds, you can get the pictures from the Internet.
First of all, make sure you have a colored background. Draw a grid on a sheet of paper at home, and paint the squares into different colors. The task for your kids is simple: sort everything they find by color. That is, cones go to the brown square, dandelions to the yellow one, leaves to the green one, etc. This quest will be a lot of fun for the kids even if they are a bit older and know all the colors already.
For this, you’ll need to bring a ball of thread and scissors from home to the woods. Firstly, pick some long twigs and bind them together into a square, rectangular, or triangular foundation. Then coil the thread around it, and interlace the forest treasures between the threads — flowers, leaves, twigs, cones, or pieces of bark. Your work will not stay with you for long, so don’t forget to take a picture of it.
This one is for little scientists. Ask your kids to make a mound in the sand or earth. Put a plastic bottle with baking soda inside it into the mound. Now just slowly pour vinegar into the bottle, and watch your ’volcano’ erupt! Make sure to take a photo of your kids’ fascinated faces.
The greatest impressionists strived to show their fleeting impressions of what they had seen somewhere. You can do the same with your kids: bring a drawing album, some paints, brushes, water, and draw the forest beauty around you like real artists. No true artistic talent is required.
Ask your kids a perplexing question before this task: Would they be able to survive in the forest in winter, like squirrels do? To prove they would, the kids should find a suitable tree hollow and gather some supplies for winter by stashing lots of cones inside. Come back in a week to check if your supplies are still there — maybe squirrels found them?
Drawing mandalas is a great way to relieve stress, but it’s even more fulfilling if you make one out of nature’s gifts with your kids, right in the woods. Gather some forest treasures (chestnuts, acorns, leaves, flowers, twigs, cones, stones, moss...) and start creating. Don’t forget to take a picture to remember!