Sometimes the weather just isn’t cooperating, sometimes your allergies are acting up, and sometimes you just can’t (or don’t want to) go outside. Not to worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are 10 easy ways you can bring the magic of the outdoors inside with nature-inspired activities for kids.

 

Nature Sensory Bin

What better way to explore nature indoors than with a sensory bin full of nature items? This is a favorite activity for kids of all ages. Go on a nature walk and collect fallen leaves, sticks, rocks, and other nature items of all textures and sizes. If you have permission and access to fresh leaves and flowers with strong fragrances and colors, add those too. The point is to offer a variety of nature items for you and your little ones to explore. There is no right or wrong way to create this and can be done during any season.

nature sensory bin play

Leaf Art

Leaves offer a variety of wonderful art opportunities. Create leaf rubbings, arrange them to construct leaf people and animals, paint and use them as stamps to make leaf prints, or attach them to some paper and make a leaf crown. Need some other ideas? Hands on as We Grow offers a ton of ideas that would work for any season (though they focus on Fall). 

Caterpillar Metamorphosis

Want to bring this magical experience inside where you can watch every step? It is easier than you may think. All you need is a large jar or terrarium, caterpillars, and the specific plant the caterpillars need to eat. If you need more information, this Joyful Butterfly article lays it all out for you. 

raising caterpillars into butterflys

Playdough Nature Art

Looking for something to do with all the nature treasures your children bring home? One exciting way to explore them is with playdough. Press your nature finds into the playdough to make imprints, use the nature pieces to make letters or pictures, use the playdough to recreate the nature treasures, combine the nature finds and playdough to construct more elaborate images, and so much more.

Color Changing Flower Science

Do you have access to white daisies or carnations? Then this flower experiment is for you. Add the white flowers to different colored water sources and watch as each flower begins to change color! It is fun for all ages and Fun Learning for Kids has the experiment and free printables available to use. Remember Leave no Trace principles and to use only the flowers you have permission to use.

color changing flower activity

Harvest Edible Plants and Make Food

Learning which plants are edible and how to eat them is really a great way to bring the outside in. Consider making pine needle tea, adding dandelion petals to your next batch of cookies, mixing fresh rosemary into biscuits, using lavender in lemonade, or spicing up some soup with wild onions. Make sure to do your research and ensure the plants you are using are edible. There are a variety of books and online resources to help you learn more.

Make a Biosphere

Want to add some science to your indoor nature activities? Creating an ecosystem that stays inside your home is pretty easy and would offer a ton of learning opportunities. The Science Classroom as the details on this one.

Paint a Branch

This easy activity not only brings nature inside and offers some entertainment, but also can double as decoration to spruce up your living space. You can create this Art Bar activity, or use it as a launching off point to create you own works of stick art. Wrap different colored yarn around your branch or use glue to attach different nature treasures or art supplies. The options are endless.

Create Flower Arrangements

Focus on fine motor and creative skills with this simple activity. Provide your children with some fresh flowers, greenery (think rosemary, basil, or other leafy greens) scissors, and a small jar or vase. Let your little one cut and put together the flowers and greenery in any way they want to create their own flower arrangements. 

Make Suncatchers

These make for beautiful window decorations and are so easy to make. Collect colorful nature pieces and arrange them in different designs on contact paper to form nature suncatchers. There are many ways to do this. Here is one way by The Artful Parent.

kids suncatcher art activity

There are so many ways to bring the outside in! What are your favorite ways to do it?

Hike it Baby works to be the most effective hub of tools, information, and community inspiring all families with babies and young children to get outside and connect with nature. Learn more about Hike it Baby’s mission and how you can get involved.

About Hike it Baby

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photos courtesy of Katie Fox.

Editors Note:

We hope you enjoyed reading this article from Hike it Baby. We’re working hard to provide our community with content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain you.

But content is not free. It’s built on the hard work and dedication of writers, editors, and volunteers. We do not make this ask lightly, but if you are able to afford it, make a donation, and become a Hike it Baby member.  A membership also makes a great gift for that new parent in your life. We make an investment in developing premium content to make it easier for families with young children to connect with nature and each other. If you can, please make a contribution and help us extend our reach.

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