Encouraging those little green fingers
Our toddler loves bugs. Nature in general has always seemed to grab her attention. She wants to smell every flower, touch every leaf and hold/squeeze the life out of every woodlouse. Here are some ideas to channel and grow your child's love of nature.
We have always been quite outdoorsy and like a good woodland walk or a wander around a National Trust garden. I would say almost 4 days a week Edie ends up in a park or garden. This is partly down to needing to get out of the house for the sake of everyone’s sanity, but also because we were lucky to be surrounded by amazing green spaces, firstly in South East London and now around Reigate. Having recently moved to green and leafy Surrey with our first proper garden her interest is only growing.
I have written before about the amazing small business, Bumble Box. They provided our first structured foray into using nature as entertainment. One of the boxes we received earlier in the year supplied the materials for nature bingo. It was very simple, just 8 pictures on a card of things you might see in a park. Bees, flowers, ladybirds, ducks…you get the picture. But the clever bit was the inclusion of stickers. Toddlers go mad for them!! For each item you see you put a sticker on it until you have completed the card. As I said…simple, but so effective.
Nature Scavenger Boxes
I have seen a few variations of this idea. Essentially you take a container, be it a matchbox, Tupperware, egg box or as in our case a lightbulb box, and encourage your child to find things to fill it. It was Hungermama that inspired this one after seeing her Instagram post.
When we did it we just went around collecting anything that Edie found interesting. Colourful leaves, shiny stones, petals and feathers were her favourite. The only rule was that it had to be on the ground already. No picking of flowers! As a slight variation to this I have seen a friend that used an egg box put labels on it to identify what had to be found.
One note of warning here. If you let your little one take the box home try and limit the collection to things that won’t make too much mess. We were finding decomposing flora for weeks!
This is the latest addition to our nature walks. This game is available from the Sensory Trust. Each card you draw has a word describing something you have to find. From colours to textures, smells to just things that make you go wow, it provides a little more structure and direction. It really gets the whole family involved and is great for a few children as you can play in lots of different ways.
If your child has even a slight interest in nature then I cannot recommend these highly enough.
We are always open to more ideas and would love to hear how you get on if you try out any of these in some of Reigate's parks, woodlands and gardens. Happy bug hunting!