5 ways children can connect with nature at home during winter

Here’s how your kids can still get a good dose of nature play around the house during the cooler months.

It can be hard to come up with new ideas to keep the little ones in your life entertained when the weather is cold and rainy and you're stuck at home.

Which is why nature play is a great solution.

Not only does nature play give children a chance to burn off steam and connect with nature, but it's also important for your child’s physical, mental and cognitive development.

And the best part – it can be as simple as stepping into your backyard.

With the help of our friends at Nature Play SA and their creative ideas, we’ve pulled together a list of how the kids can keep entertained outdoors at home:

1. Nature Scavenger Hunt

Your backyard can be a treasure trove waiting to be explored (or if it’s not – you can always plant some items for the kids to find).

Give the kids a list of natural items to find – an interesting piece of bark, a magical pebble or stone, and the list goes on. Download the guide to get started.

2. Creating your own natural play space

South Australia has some magnificent nature play spaces, but if you want to create one in your own backyard you might be wondering where to start.

Climbing areas, gardens and secret places are just a few things that you can incorporate into your own nature play space. Download the full list of elements to get started.

3. Loose parts

Fascinated when children choose to play with wrapping paper or ribbon instead of the present you bought them?

This is an example of children using loose parts as part of their play. Kids often prefer loose parts as they can use the item any way they choose.

Nature is full of loose parts like sticks, pinecones and flowers. Just be mindful to only use items suitable for your child’s age group as some items can be a choking hazard for small children.

Download this list of loose parts for more inspiration.

4. Build a cubby in your own backyard

Cubbies can be simple, easy-to-build structures and inexpensive. They’re also a great way for kids to express themselves and be creative and are also a great excuse to get outside.

Follow these kid-friendly tips to build a cubby in your own backyard.

5. Nature weaving

Think of this activity as a kid-friendly, nature-inspired alternative to macramé. The kids can try this at home and the great news is you only need a few items to get started.    

They’ll also end up with a beautiful piece of art you can hang on the wall and the whole family can admire.

Download the step-by-step instructions.

Your chance to win a copy of Nature Play SA’s new book

Did you know Good Living is on Facebook? Simply follow our page, find the post containing this story and comment with your favourite nature play activity for your chance to win a copy of Nature Play SA's new book Where birds sing and wildflowers dance by Jason Tyndall worth $49.95 and a National Parks and Wildlife Service 12 Month Multiple Entry Parks Pass*, worth $108.

Competition closes 2 pm Wednesday 11 August. Download the terms and conditions.

*Parks passes are valid for 12 months. Before visiting a national park, visitors should check they are adhering to the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Looking for more inspiration for school holiday activities? Read our stories on 6 things to do at Cleland Wildlife Park these school holidays and 5 things to do in Adelaide’s national parks these school holidays.

(Main image courtesy of Jason Tyndall Nature Play SA)

This story was originally posted in March 2020.

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