One of our mottos at The Parents’ Climate Community is “climate action within reach.” Same goes for nature play: encouraging kids’ wild explorations shouldn’t come with a lot of planning or expense. Plus, the beauty of nature play within safe boundaries is to encourage kids’ independence, which generally means less caregiver prep!
Below are a few suggestions for activity books that cultivate kids’ wild curiosity right in their backyard, at a local park, or even indoors:
THE BIG BOOK OF NATURE ART. For kids who love to make art, 20 invitations to find creative connection with the natural world.
FUNKY FUNGI. Pitched for older kids and tweens, this guide is full of facts, along with 30 mushroom-centric activities.
NATURE’S BEST HOPE (YOUNG READER’S EDITION): HOW YOU CAN SAVE THE WORLD IN YOUR OWN YARD. For middle-grade readers with a penchant for plants, this guide is based on the bestselling book by Doug Tallamy.
WHAT’S WILD OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR? DISCOVERING NATURE IN THE CITY. From the celebrated author of The Hidden Life of Trees, a nature activity book geared toward kids ages 8-12 that equips kids to find nature in the most urban of spaces.
WILD CHILD: NATURE ADVENTURES FOR YOUNG EXPLORERS. Beautiful art and design to entice kids and adults alike.
Bonus activity: make your own explorer badge
We debuted this activity at the “Wild Wednesdays: Exploring Your Wild Backyard” event at Waterloo Greenway. The possibilities are endless, so use what you have on hand (or shop at Austin Creative Reuse) to minimize waste and make this activity your own:
- Decide on a name. My son and I came up with “Austin Explorers’ Society” – we liked that it sounded fancy and old-fashioned. But how about “#1 Neighborhood Park Ranger” or “¡exploradora!“?
- Create a logo. Add drawings, stickers of native plants and wildlife, or a more abstract design.
- Finish your badge. You can insert your design into a clear acrylic badge like this one.
- Create your design on construction paper or card stock, then cover with contact paper.
- Use a round Kraft paper sticker.
- Draw on felt with fabric markers.
- Your explorer badge could also adorn a flag for a treehouse or grace the cover of an explorer’s notebook.
- This could be a fun activity for a playgroup or homeschool nature group to collaborate on as well. Get wild!
Check out Wild Wednesdays, presented in partnership with Families in Nature, at Waterloo Greenway weekly on Wednesday mornings through August 2nd.