There’s a whole world out there that can be fascinating learning for kids if they know how, when and where to look. And it’s not just for kids! Since the lockdown started, 74% of adults in England are taking more time to notice and engage with everyday nature, such as listening to birdsong or noticing butterflies. 

With the Summer holidays upon us, try these activities to use the great outdoors as your playground, laboratory and inspiration.  

1) Become a Nature Investigator 

Have a lot of questions about the natural worldYou’re not the only one. With so many species of minibeasts and birds, flowers and trees, it can be hard to know where to start when exploring.  

Unleash your inner detective, download the Seek app to use your phone to find out about the flora and fauna around you. To find out who is sneaking about at night, have a go at building your own footprint tunnel to catch animal tracks. 

Kew Gardens have a quick guide to becoming an inspector Moss - learn the tricks of the moss to work out which way is North.  

2) Be a good host to bugs... 

Help nature come to you by making or installing insect friendly places to visit. Here’s the #GiveItAGrow Guide to making your own bug hotel to help creepy-crawlies stay as snug as bug over winter.  

3) Attract the birds... 

The UK has loads of bird species, and they’re good at keeping pests under control, pollinating flowers, and for spotting of course! Make your outdoor space inviting to feathered friends by making this bird feeder from recycled materials 

In hot summer weather, a bird bath is a great addition to draw birds in, as the water can help keep them cool, clean and hydrated. Here’s the RSPB’s top tips to making a bird friendly bathing spot, you can even use an old dustbin lid. You never know what unexpected guests will be flocking to see you!   

4) Make a hedgehog hideaway 

Add your garden to the Hedgehog Highway by adding small gaps or holes in fencesThese can be mapped on the BIG hedgehog mapHedgehogs travel around one mile every night, so while they might be prickly, you can help make sure their journeys are as smooth as possible.  

Space to spare in your garden? Welcome thorny tenant with a hedgehog house.   

5) Be a Weather Watcher 

Living things are all affected by the weather; keeping an eye on sky helps an understanding of what plants and animals might need at the time. Making rain gaugesweathervanes, wind gauges and sundials are awesome projects that keep you checking in on the conditions outdoors and you won’t want to take a rain check  

6) Go wild with artistic license  

Nature is an endless fount of inspiration for great artists, and you can ‘draw’ from it too!  

Have a go at painting or drawing plants and minibeasts or using colouring-in sheets for guidanceExplore textures by making rubbings of bark and leaves using paper and crayons. 

A walk or trip outdoors can also be used to collect resources: flowers for pressing, or fallen leaves and twigs to make collage of creepy crawlies. 

7) Be ahead of the game 

What better way to explore an environment than with a game? Scavenger Hunts help children discover what hides under rocksbehind logs and find little treasures. A game of I spy’ can help kids to notice new plants and animals and learn the words for them.   

Try out Wildlifewatch.co.uk’s bingo cards for a mix of plants, animals and fungi spotting. May the woods be ever in your favour! 

8) Get active 

There’s no bigger playground than the Great Outdoors, the National Trust have tips to climb a tree safely 

If the weather gets warm, building a twig teepee provides a shady hideout and a mud pit is an alternative to a paddling pool – you just have to wash more laundry afterwards! 

9) Give it a grow 

Just getting your garden started? Watching the magic of plants sprouting and blossoming is fascinating. Watch the whole process from seed to fork by farming your own salad. #GiveItAGrow are here to help with this guide to planting to attract wildlife. Try growing water plants in a mini-pond, and give bugs, birds and amphibians a place to chill out.  

Backyard Nature offer free resources and missions if you pledge to become a Guardian and protect your patch.  

10) Make or decorate your own plant pot 

Give your plants home they can flourish in by decorating an old plant pot. Check out #GiveItAGrow’s guide to making plant pots by upcycling other household items, or for a bigger challenge, how to turn an old wooden pallet into a wall planter – the POTential is endless! 

Hungry for more? 

After all that exploring, you must be hungry! Try these 5 easy, no waste, kid-friendly baking recipes.

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