Spring is almost here and it’s time to start planning fun and educational nature activities for preschoolers!
The great outdoors is a wonderful place for preschoolers to learn. Playing outside encourages motor development, encourages healthy vitamin d levels and so many other benefits.
How do you teach nature to preschoolers?
Teaching nature to preschoolers isn’t as difficult as you may think. We know that kiddos are little sponges.
We can teach nature to preschoolers in several different ways:
- Being outside and playing
- Doing nature activities
- Reading books about nature
- Nature documentaries
- Taking about nature in general conversation
What kinds of activities are considered nature based?
Activities that are considered nature based would be exploring, making art from various nature items, nature scavenger hunts, and even just drawing with chalk outside!
Why is being in Nature important for preschoolers?
Being in nature is important for preschoolers for many reasons. The freedom and fresh air is great for them to gain independence. Children that play outside develop a great sense of agility, balance and body awareness.
Teaching Littles Top 5 Favorite Nature Activities for Preschoolers
Below is a list of my top 5 favorite nature activities for preschoolers!
Helping your children learn how to use their five senses is extremely important. Before starting this activity, ask your little ones to guess which jar will smell the best and/or strongest and see if they are right.
Making sun catchers is a great way to have your little ones display their creativity. This nature-based sun catcher is no different, allowing them to choose multiple different colorful decorations from just outside your door!
Portraits are a fantastic way to see how a child observes what they see. The different possible combinations of what can be found on the ground can lead to some great works of art!
This tree bark rubbing is an amazing way to show how different each tree is from those around it. Whether they are the same type of tree or not, each rubbing is sure to be unique and full of variances that your little ones will thoroughly enjoy!
Little princes and princesses will absolutely love making these nature crowns. First, collect your materials, make sure they don’t have any tiny insects on them, and then assemble.
Nature Activities for Preschoolers to Investigate Science
Teaching science to little ones may be intimidating, but helping them learn and understand the basic concepts of the world works is important!
This activity is a fun way to teach children about different melting temperatures that objects may have and why. Ask which object they think will melt first and last.
Teaching your little ones about plants has never been easier. Just make sure to take progress pictures occasionally to make comparisons easier.
Teaching your child how water is recycled through nature will give them an understanding and appreciation for how amazing nature truly is. Just set up this fun little experiment and let them observe each cycle in real time!
Nature Activities for Preschoolers that build Math Skills
There is lots of math happening in nature, you just have to look for it! Look for different shapes, angles, count objects, seriously tons of math!
I don’t know about you but I frequently find random rocks and sticks in my drier. Turn those collecting skills into counting skills!
There are tons of shapes in nature, but don’t stop there! Think about all of the different shapes that you can make with items in nature!
What objects belong with which category? Help your little one set up different categories and ask them to sort objects they have collected. Sorting and categorizing are great skills to have.
Creative Nature Activities for Preschoolers
Being creative comes easier for some children, and is harder for others. It is important to encourage creativity to help your child think outside of the box. Creativity is important because your child creates their own opportunities for learning and trying new things.
Set a timer and see what all your little ones can find in 5-10 minutes. Then have them make a sticky mural (together or individually)! I think it’s so neat to see what they come up with and how they express themselves.
I love to see what collages little ones can make when set loose to collect on their own. It’s interesting to see what they find beauty in and find valuable!
Long before they had the paintbrushes we have today, they had paint brushes made from feathers, flowers, leaves, weeds, etc. Collect your items and assemble the paintbrushes. See what kind of art your little ones can make with these fun DIY paintbrushes.
Leaf threading is a great fine motor skill activity. Use a stick to thread twine through some freshly fallen leaves to make your own garland!
STEM Nature Activities for Preschoolers
STEM activities intertwine science, technology, math, and engineering to help children become more well-rounded in their thought processes. These activities help to check the STEM activity boxes and stimulate your child’s problem-solving and creativity.
Rock balancing is actually a form of art and a great lesson for children on weight and balance. Kind of like nature’s version of Jenga.
With great accuracy, our ancestors could tell time with the location of the sun/moon and shadows. This human sundial is a great lesson on figuring out the position of the sun and where your shadow will go.
Will it sink or will it float? This is a great lesson on buoyancy and having kiddos determine what they think will sink or float and why!
Building a dam like a beaver would be so fun for little ones! This is a great hands-on activity for little ones. They can gather their own materials and then build a dam. You can have a competition to see whose dam is best!
Building a dam is actually a great lesson on engineering.
Indoor Nature Activities for Preschoolers
If you are somewhere that is bitterly cold in the wintertime, it may be hard to get outside. These are some activities you can do when you want nature activities, but can’t get outside!
Did you ever grow seeds like this as a kid? I remember doing this activity and it was so fun! Watching the plant grow and transform from a seedling into something you can plant is rewarding and fun to watch!
Flowers are probably one of my favorite parts of spring. Learning the anatomy of flowers is a simple and hands-on lesson for your little ones.
Sensory bins are a great way to stimulate your child. You can collect the items together and then make a fun sensory bin! 2 activities in 1!
Fun Nature Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger Hunts are great ways to teach your kids about the world. The best part is, they are extremely customizable to what you are trying to teach. This blog from Green Child Magazine has some great printables and ideas such as:
- 5 Senses Scavenger Hunt
- Nature Trail Scavenger Hunt
- Fall Nature Scavenger Hunt
- Beach Scavenger Hunt
Feel free to change and adjust to make a scavenger hunt of your own to focus on the lesson at hand!
Nature Activities for Preschool: Amazon Finds
Sometimes you need an all-in-one kit or something that is ready to go quickly. These are some of my favorite Amazon finds.
Create unique glow-in-the-dark painted rocks with this entertaining arts and crafts set for boys and girls! Customize your painted rocks with easy-to-use fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark paints.
For children, making a personalized terrarium can cultivate their hands-on ability, ignite their imagination and also develop their teamwork ability. This terrarium is designed specifically with girls in mind and contains all the special features that little boys love! Best of all, DIY craft kits will keep your kids engaged and productive away from screen time.
Watch the birds flying inches away from your faces. Welcome birdies with brightly vivid bird feeders made by your little artist’s little hands, interspersing your backyard with sunshine, flowers, and the twittering of birds.
Books about Nature for Preschool
Books are a phenomenal way to teach little ones about nature. There are lots of books about nature for preschoolers, but here are my favorites!
- Exploring Nature Activity List
- ABC of Nature
- Wilderness Survival Guide: For Kids
- Life Cycles
- On the Nature Trail
- Nature’s Treasures
- Nature Anatomy
Frequently Asked Questions about Nature Activities for Preschoolers
You may have some questions about the importance of nature activities or why we should do nature activities. I have answered some of those questions below!
What are the benefits of nature activities for preschoolers?
Nature activities encourage children to use their creativity and explore the things that make them curious. Being in nature allows kids to be, well kids and learn about the environment around them.
Can we do these nature activities with toddlers?
A lot of the activities are appropriate for toddlers, they may just need some extra support and assistance.
How much time should kids spend outdoors each day?
It is recommended that children spend around 3 hours outside each day. The more time the better. Of course, that may be difficult to achieve in the colder months depending on where you live.
I find that my kids are happiest when they are outside, playing in dirt, collecting leaves, and simply exploring. It is important to encourage this in children, and you can show them how to learn about nature with the activities I have found!
What are your favorite nature activities? Let me know in the comments below!