This is a tough summer for parents and kids alike. The pandemic has limited whom we can see and what we can do in ways none of us have experienced in our lifetimes. While some organized activities for children – day camps etc. – have opened in some places, they have remained closed in others. And parents have different risk tolerances and many might not wish to potentially expose their children to Covid-19.
Fortunately, the great outdoors is one of the safer places we can be right now, and there is never a shortage of activities for young children (approximately ages 3-8) in which to engage. Here are several we recommend, taken from the website healthychildren.org
Nature sculptures can be built with natural objects found all around us, including twigs, leaves, cones, and rocks. Sticking the collected items into a play dough base yields a sculpture. “Notice what kind of patterns are created by different items,” the site suggests.
Nature all around us
Whether you live out in the country, in a suburb, or in midtown Manhattan, there is ample nature to observe everywhere. Have your child look around, and identify five to 10 natural objects. These can be leaves, rocks, ants, dandelions or other weeds, squirrels, pigeons…the list is endless. Keep a chart of what you see. The chart can get as elaborate as you’d like: different kinds of leaves, different sizes and colors of squirrels, etc.
Nature scavenger hunt
Depending on the ages of your children, this activity can be made more or less challenging. Hunt for plants, trees, animals, and birds. Collect rocks, acorns, leaves or pinecones. See how many items children can find on a list, or gather objects to add to a collection.
Leave a trail
Here’s how the Healthy Children website describes this activity: “Organize with parents of your children’s friends to send kids on “secret spy missions.” One family goes on a walk with sidewalk chalk, drawing arrows and letters along the way to spell out a secret message. The other family must then follow the arrows along the way to record the letters in the message.”