Has technology taken over your kid’s life? Nowadays you see kids glued to screens wherever you go. We thought it might be a good idea to give you a few ideas to get your kids out and about to enjoy nature this Summer. You know, things like blowing up your inflatable fishing kayak, inflatable SUP or grabbing your beach cruiser bicycle and head for the beach with your snorkeling gear. We’ve got 15 summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature. Obviously, they might not like all 15 of them, but if you can choose one or two, you’ll be well on your way to get your children out of the house and into nature. Your kids might not like fishing, so a regular inflatable kayak might just be the ticket! Without further delay, let’s jump into the activities.
We’ve produced an infographic which you can embed on your own site to tell your readers about the fun things they can get up to with their youngsters. Simply copy and paste the code below the infographic to get started!
Make Your Own Garden Bird Feeder
The first one that we got on our list is making bird feeders. Birds are a crucial part of nature and creating bird feeders will help your kids understand the value of them. Birds are beautiful too and the process of preparing bird feeders isn’t difficult either.
What you’ll need:
- Dry ingredients
- Bird Seed
- Cooked Rice
- Grated cheese
- Dried fruit
- Chopped nuts
- Or you can buy ready made bird feeder from your garden centre
- Hard cooking fat (lard or dripping)
- A fir cone, coconut shell or yoghurt pot
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl
- Add the fat and give it a good mix
- Choose your feeder:
- Plaster the dry mix all around the fir cone, or put it inside the pot or coconut shell
- Hang your feeders with string. You may need to make holes and tie the string before adding the mix
- Hang your feeder where you can see the birds without disturbing them
How To Go Rock Pooling
Rock pooling and enjoying the ocean is a great way to spend the afternoon. – especially if you have a pontoon boat with a trolling motor, don’t forget the best pfd for kayaking if you’re heading out on the water. This hands-on experience will introduce kids to the wide variety of sea creatures that lurk on our shores. Getting their hands wet will make an everlasting experience for them.
What you need:
- Buckets or clear tupperware containers
- A field guide or ID sheet
- Sturdy footwear
- A Camera and or pens and paper
- An adult to help you keep an eye on the tide
On the day:
Half fill your buckets or containers with seawater. Have more than one to keep bad tempered animals apart. Use your hands to carefully lift crabs, starfish and other sea creatures into your containers.
- Watch out for spines and pincers!
- Nets can cause damage to rockpools and are best avoided.
Use a guide to identify your creatures. Take notes, sketch them or photograph them. Return the animals to where you found them and you’ve finished looking. Wash your hands before eating.
Here’s some tips to keep the rockpool safe for future generations:
- Don’t take living animals or plans with you
- Don’t prise limpets, anemones or seaweed from their rocky homes.
- Be careful not to damage delicate animals
- Replace rocks to the same position once you’ve looked underneath
Make a Garden Bird Hide
Creating a bird hide is probably the easiest task of them all. You will need a few ingredients to prepare… You can buy sets of these from a DIY store but it is more fun to do it on your own. A bird hide is great to get up close and personal with wild birds. It will help your kids appreciate how important birds are to nature and our ecosystem.
What you need:
- An old sheet or blanket – dark ones are best
- One long and two short branches or poles
- Clothes pegs
- Warm Clothes
- Bird feeders and food
- Binoculars (optional)
How to make the hide:
- Lash the three poles together to make a low frame
- Cut a small viewing flap and peg it up out of the way
- Cover with a blanket and peg in place
- Stock your hide with comfy cushions and snacks
- Wear warm clothes and wait!
Make a Wildlife Pond
A wildlife pond is a place where you can attract wildlife creatures to come and party with you. Many kids are afraid of wildlife, insects and animals.
A garden pond is great way to introduce your kids to all the creatures lurking in the garden.
- Don’t push your kids to get too close before they’re ready as you might scare them off making the pond.
What you’ll need:
- A big patch of garden to dig a hole
- A plank of wood
- Spirity level
- Bytol pond liner or a waterproof tarp
- Water (Use rainwater for best results)
- A variety of pond plants
- Large rocks
How to go about it:
- Choose your spot.
- Draw your pond outline and dig out, including some shallow areas. Use your plank and spirit level to ensure that your edges are level.
- Put a layer of sand at the bottom – don’t use it all, you’ll need some later.
- Make a trench all around the edge of your pond and lay the edge of the liner into this. Weigh it down with large rocks.
- Fill the bottom with the remaining sand
- Fill the pond up with water. If you fill it from a tap or hose your water might turn green. Don’t worry this is just minerals.
- Leave your pond to settle for about a week before adding your plants.
- Watch and see what wildlife visits.
- Consider adding a plank of wood to help any wildlife that may have fallen in.
- Look for spot with plenty of sun, ideally with some shade in the afternoon. Try and about trees nearby, as fallen leaves can pollute the pond.
- Remember: Don’t add fish or a pump. This fish will eat smaller life forms (including frog and new larvae) while the pump may suck them up!
Decorate a Tree In Your Garden
Tree decoration is a fun way to get your kids to appreciate the importance of trees in nature. Decorating trees isn’t just a Christmas activity, now you can do it all year round.
Be creative in what you use and remember to supervise kids who are climbing trees. It’s also important to be careful not to damage the tree.
You will need:
- Ribbon or string
- Natural object such as twigs, leaves, dried fruit, feathers and pine cones.
- Coloured wool and beads
How to get started:
Use your natural objects to make decorations.Wrap wool around the twigs, make minibeasts with dried apricot and small twigs.Bind twigs with the wool to make a wind chime. Get creative!Attached the ribbon or string by either tying it around your decorations or by cutting a hole and threading it throughFind a tree! Use your ribbon to attach your decorations to your favorite tree.
Make a Blackberry Crumble
This is an iconic summer dessert which your kids will love. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon after you’ve picked the blackberries yourself. Blackberries are usually found in fields and woodlands, try and search online to see if there are any known spots in your area.
You will need:
- 450g of handpicked ripe blackberries
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 75g soft butter
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- Mixing bowl
- Ovenproof dish
- Oven gloves
- Between August and October go out on an adventure picking blackberries
- Wash the blackberries and arrange in a shallow ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together between your fingers and it all goes crumbly. Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the fruit
- Bake in the oven at 180C / 350F / Gas 4 for 30-40 minutes
- Leave the crumble somewhere safe to stand and cool down. Ask an adult to check before tucking in. Enjoy
Build a Nature Table
Start a nature table at home, your workplace or school to share your wild findings with colleagues, friends, and family. From feathers, mosses, pine cones, fossils to animal bones and eggshells – make it as interesting as possible.
Workout in Nature
Working out is fun, isn’t it? Well, it is your chance to introduce your kids to the power of working out. Rather than going to the gym for some exercise, volunteer for a couple of hours on a local nature reserve or within your community.
It’s sociable and fun and you’ll burn calories off too!. You can go litter picking, cutting back trees or hedges, helping others enjoying nature or sow a wildflower meadow.
Watch Moths by Making a Moth Light Trap
Moths are incredibly interesting insects. They’re full of character and colors and the little ones will love the endless variety of moths you can attract to your garden.
- White sheet
- Washing line
- Bright lamp or torches
How to make your trap
- Peg your sheet on a washing line or hang it over a branch.Leave for two hours and check after dark
- Turn off nearby lights.
- Shine your torch onto the sheet and wait patiently for your moths to gather and see how many different ones you can find. Then head for a movie with your outdoor projector.
- It’s a good idea to dress warmly as it might take a little while for the moths to arrive.
Watch Moths By Making a Wine Rope
You can also attract moths by hanging some rope soaked in cheap red wine over branches in your garden.
Don’t worry the moths won’t get drunk as they only drink a small amount.
What you need :
- Bottle of cheap red wine
- 1kg Sugar
- Some one meter lengths of cloth
- An adult to help
Make Your Own Mammal Tunnel
- Mix together wine and sugar.
- Heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Soak lengths of cloth in the cooled liquid.
- Hang the strips over tree branches.
Make your own small mammal tunnel to attract small mammals to your garden. The idea is that you create a place where mammals like to hide or shelter and your children are then able to inspect the tunnel to see who’s paid a visit.
- 2-3 square sided juice cartons
- Small margarine tub lid
- Bottle top
- Thin cleaning sponge
- Food colouring
- White paper
- Sticky tape
- Bait – dog food or cat food, peanut butter, mealworms, seed or some chicken
- Branches, rocks and leaves.
How to make your mammal tunnel
- Cut the top and bottom off the juice cartons so that they slide together to create a tube.
- Line the bottom with white paper and stick in place
- Cut a thing, clean sponge, to size and place inside the margarine tub lid. Soak with food colouring and slide it to the middle of the tunnel.
- Put bait in the bottle top and place this on the sponge.
- Put the tunnel along a wall, fence or hedge. Cover with rocks, leaves and branches.
- Leave overnight and check in the morning for prints. Small prints could mean mice or even bigger mammals like rabbits might visit too
Build Your Own Miniature Raft
Preparing a raft is a very cool process. It’s not quite a stand up paddle board, but hey that doesn’t matter. Building a mini raft is a great way to teach the youngsters about survival, boat construction and how wind works in the environment.
You will need
- Large straight sticks
- String or Twine
- Large leaf or newspaper
- Wooden lolly sticks
Building the raft:
Break sticks to roughly the same length and lay them side by side. Watch out for knobbly bits and avoid having too many gaps as your raft may sink. Tie a string around the end of the first stick and tie a knot.Thread the string under and around the end of each stick in turn. Tie off on the last stick. Repeat on the other sideGlue wooden lolly sticks over the top of the string lines and leave to dry Add a thinner stick for a mast.Push between middle sticks and glue or drill a hole for it. Use a large leaf or a square of a newspaper for a sail.
Help Birds Avoid Windows
More than a billion birds hit windows a year and die or get injured. It’s not a pleasant sight to witness a bird hitting a window, so the best way to avoid that is to make the glass less reflective.
It’s a brilliant way to teach young ones how to take care of wildlife and care for animals.
You will need:
- A4 or Letter card
- Black marker pen
- Thread or fishing line
- Suction cup, blu-tack or duct tape. Hint: You can find a suction cup on a shower scrubber or puff.
How to make the decoration
- Sketch a large bird shape on your card and colour it in with a black pen. Cut it out carefully.
- Make a small hole in the top of the bird and tie it onto a short thread.
- Hang the bird outside a window to break up reflections on the glass. It will also move in the wind. Instead of a bird you can also place a netting on the window, though this might not be suitable for every type of window.
- Attach your bird with a suction cup to the window.
Build a Survival Shelter
A survival shelter is a great way to teach the young people, teenagers and even adults how important finding or building a Shelter can be for survival. Apart from these benefits, it’s also good fun to gather all the material and to build a structure which you can be proud of. If you’re done with the shelter, then try using a hammock tent for a great night sleeping under the stars. Don’t forget a compound bow to keep the beasts away!
First choose which type of shelter you’d like to make.
A sloping A-frame shelter
This is made by using one long straight piece of wood and several small pieces with a Y shape wood on the end.
These smaller to longer pieces of wood props up the straight backbone to create a shelter.
A tent shaped shelter
This type is made by resting a backbone longer straight piece of wood between two trees. The trees should be fairly close to one another.
Then use shorter branches to create the ribs which lean against the longer branch from the ground.
Add the ribs by collecting straight branches and lining them up along the length of the shelter.
Then add some twiggy branches, weaving them between ribs to create a mesh. Next add material to make it waterproof.
Work from the bottom to the top using whatever you can find on the ground.
- Wear gloves if you can, branches may get prickly.
Build an Insect Hotel
Insect hotels act a lot like wildlife ponds or tumble traps but it’s a little more upmarket than a tumble trap! They’re great to have a peek in to see what your new guests are up to.
There are two options when making an insect hotel. A quick and easy version or the deluxe version. We love the deluxe if you have the time!
Here’s what you need:
Quick and easy express version:
- Holllow plant stems, like bamboo canes
- Twigs and sticks
- Collect handfuls of stems, twigs and sticks
- Tie the bundles quite tightly in two places.
- Post into a hedge or bush or hang in a sheltered place.
Check back in a while to see if you’ve had any guests checked in.
The deluxe version:
- 4 x small logs or untreated timber
- Hollow plant stems like bamboo sticks
An Adult to help with tools:
- Nails and hammer or screwdriver and wood screws
- Drill and 5mm wood bit
- Make a wooden frame, fixing the wood with screws or nails to make a box
- Fill the frame with stems, twigs and sticks
- Fix a wire loop to the back of the frame and hand somewhere sheltered.
- Get ready to welcome your new guests in no time!
Make a Tumble Trap
This is the last one in our list. What is a tumble trap? Well, take a yoghurt pot or a simple jam jar. Now dig a hole in your garden to prepare a trap. Place some tasty treats in the jar and wait for bugs, insects or other creatures to fall in to the trap.
What you need:
- An old yoghurt pot, jame jar or tub
- A cover – an old slate tile or bir of flat wood
- Bait – try cheese, bacon rind, bread, something sugary or fruit
- A spade or trowel for digging
Here’s what to do:
- Dig a hole in the ground with the trowel
- Put the pot, jar or tub into the hole and fill the gaps around the edge with soil
- Bait your trap with your food to attract tiny visitors
- Use the slate, tile or bit of wood to stop the rain getting in. Prop it up with twigs or stones
- Come back later to see if anything’s been caught
- Pack your trap away when you’ve finished.
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