Did you know that creative nature walks are a great way for families to explore the outdoors? They’re exciting, immersive science activities.
Whether taking a brain break during homeschooling or looking for an interesting activity on the weekend, taking a walk in nature is a great way to get everyone away from screens and into the fresh air.
Not only do nature walks provide physical and mental health benefits, but they can also be educational and fun!
Below, you’ll find some fun ideas you can use to make your next outdoor adventure both enjoyable and worthwhile.
Benefits of Nature Walks
There are many physical and mental health benefits associated with nature walks for both kids and adults.
They can reduce stress, increase feelings of happiness and well-being, reduce anxiety, and boost creativity.
Being surrounded by elements of nature helps you to focus on the moment, giving you the chance to pause and relax while you take time away from your daily routine.
If your kids are struggling to concentrate, a quick trip outside may be the brain break they need to be able to focus again.
Nature walks also offer physical benefits, the biggest being exercise. Spending time on outdoor activities, even in your own backyard, can also improve sleep and boost immunity.
These trips offer important social benefits too, especially for older students. Walking in natural spaces can be an opportunity to explore while spending quality time together.
As you can see, there are tons of reasons to get your tweens out of the house and into nature when you can.
What is the Goal of a Nature Walk?
The goal of a nature walk is to explore and appreciate the natural world.
When possible, get off the sidewalk and onto trails in nature preserves, local park, or a close state park. Kids will get more out of the experience when they can observe plants, animals, and other natural features.
The goal is to make your time both educational and fun. Most kids love being outside, just exploring, but there may be occasions you may need to be creative to give your time outdoors more of a purpose.
The best way to do that is to make a plan before you head out of the house. Choosing an activity (or two) for everyone to focus on during the nature walk will help make the experience a positive one.
Check out this awesome resource that will make it simple for you to make your time outside meaningful for your family.
Creative Nature Walks
Cindy West’s 100+ Easy and Fun Creative Nature Walks is one of the best tools for homeschoolers who want to get their kids up and exploring.
This downloadable book includes a wide variety of activities you can do during a walk in nature, and each one requires very little preparation. In fact, they designed each one for you to briefly read the directions and head out on your way.
I used this resource in our homeschool and it saved me a ton of time and energy. I loved it and my girls had a blast on each of the creative nature walks we went on.
Here are a few of the planned walks that my tweens loved from the book.
- Classify It – Botany uses a lot of classifications, so when this was a part of our science studies, we used our time in nature to practice classifying various plants. For example, they had to answer whether a flower they found was a dicot or monocot.
- Dissect It – My kids often took a small pouch with them on the walks so they could collect things like flowers, seed pods, pine cones, and plant stems. When we got home, we cut them open to look inside.
- Texture Walk – This is a good way to build advanced vocabulary skills. Before we headed out, I had my girls make a list of adjectives that described the texture of objects found in nature. Words like fuzzy, waxy, barbed, and coarse. Then we took the list on our next walk and tried to find things that matched the words.
The 100+ nature walks not only teach your children more about the environment, they also include unique ideas for combining your outdoor time with other school subjects like math, language arts, art, and science.
These creative ideas are all simple, fun, and educational.
Nature Walk Activities
Here are a couple of fun nature-related activities you can do as a family.
- A nature walk photo scavenger hunt is a wonderful way for older kids to practice critical thinking skills.
- Learn about birds through activities like bird watching. Bring along binoculars and a field guide to help with identification.
- Make a nature journal. Ask your tweens to draw what they see or write about plants and animals spotted along the way.
- Look for wildlife tracks in the mud and work to identify them.
- Play Nature Hike Bingo. Look for certain plants, animals, and natural features during your walk and mark them off.
- Listen to the sounds of nature. See who can find the source of a particular sound first.
- Collect natural items like pinecones or seashells and use them in nature-themed crafts.
Nature Walk Tools
Nature walks can be even more enjoyable when you have the right tools. Here’s a list of items that can make your nature exploration easier and more comfortable.
- A printed copy of the creative nature walk activity you’re doing
- Field guide
- Magnifying glass
- Cell phone to capture photos
- Notebook and pencil for jotting down observations
- Small bag for collecting items
- Snacks and water
- First aid kit
- Bug spray
By taking regular walks in nature, you can provide your family the chance to reconnect, recharge, and have fun exploring. So head outside for a creative nature walk!