Have you been looking for ways to teach your kids more about the natural world? There’s so much to try, whether that be learning about different species or discovering new ways to take better care of the world around us. Here is a selection of forest school activities you can do at home with your kids.
Teaching your children about the beauty and magic of the natural world is a vital part of their development, allowing them to engage with the world around them, learn new skills, and truly appreciate nature’s wonder. However, in many cases, finding the best forest school activities to do at home with your kids can be challenging.
So we’re on hand to help you find out a little more about the different forest school activities to do at home; hopefully, this will help you inspire a love of learning and nature for you and your children.
Make forest school snap cards with pictures and species
One of the first activities we would like to share is a classic snap game with a simple twist; you can transform traditional snap into one of the best forest activities at home. First, start by using pieces of card to make your snap cards; you can get everyone involved in creating and drawing them or print photos for more clarity. A few things you can draw are different species of birds and woodland animals, different types of trees, flowers, etc.
Next, create a pair for each card. Again, this could be simple or complex, depending on your children’s age and level of knowledge. For example, for younger children, create one card with a picture of a robin and a corresponding card with the name “robin.” For older children, you can add a little more complexity by including a description of a robin instead of just an image.
You can repeat this for countless different species. Make sure to include some plants and trees in the mix to keep it interesting. You can go one step further and laminate the cards to take out with you each time you visit a forest or local green area.
And there you have it – a homemade game of forest school snap that’s great fun and hugely educational for your little ones.
Forest school ‘Top Trumps’
Remember ‘Top Trumps’ from when you were young? There’s so much to love about Top Trumps, and Natural Top Trumps is even better since it allows your little ones to learn specific quantitative facts about different species. They are fun to make together and a great way to research with your children. Find out traits such as lifespan, offspring numbers, and global population. This will help children learn specific facts about species (all under the guise of an excellent and easy to learn game!)
Design your own herb garden
You don’t need a lot of land to start growing a herb garden. Instead, create one with your children from your windowsill. You’ll need a small planter, some compost, and some seeds; your children can design the rest. This is a great way to explain to your child the different methods for germinating seeds and the importance of looking after seeds carefully to help them understand a little more about the biology of how crops grow. Then, allow them to plant their seeds carefully and choose somewhere to create their new miniature herb garden.
Explain to them the importance of light, warmth, and water for plant growth and germination, and let them monitor their herbs’ growth to see if their plants are thriving. If their herbs are struggling to establish, help your child understand the problem, so they can try to find a solution to help their herb garden thrive.
The most important thing here is to ensure that this is your child’s project, not your own. Your little one may lose interest if you’re managing the plants for them. However, when designing a herb garden is wholly their responsibility, they’ll often be much more engaged with learning how to improve their garden. And, if it doesn’t work out right, start again – a single packet of seeds should grow multiple different herb plants.
Make a hotel for bugs
You don’t need to be in the middle of the forest to teach your children about the natural world – and bug hotels are prime examples of this! With creativity, you can make a perfect shelter for bugs in your garden or, for city families, on a windowsill or balcony. You’ll need a few pieces of wood, some scraps (such as cardboard tubes or shredded paper) to fill the “hotel” with, and a little creativity to make an excellent mini habitat for bugs and small insects. In doing so, you’ll help your children learn more about the natural world and the role of insects in keeping everything running smoothly.
Press flowers and create nature scrapbooks
Wildflowers are common in forests and evolved to specifically attract the attention of passing insects to help spread their pollen. In short, the flower is a massively important part of the flowering plant’s lifecycle – and you can also help your child learn more about the structures and traits of flowering species by encouraging them to create their own natural scrapbook.
Flower pressing is an excellent option here. After visiting a local woods or forest, help your child create a flower press by buying one or making a homemade press with heavy objects and straps. This process preserves the flowers onto the scrapbook pages; then, your child can fill out each page with astounding facts about each species they find and decorate it however they wish!
Even if you live in the middle of a city, there are countless excellent activities you could try to help your child learn a little more about the natural world around them. Many don’t even require you to necessarily be present in a wood or forest while doing them.
As such, this could be an excellent addition to your little one’s learning, and we highly recommend you consider today’s top five forest activities to do at home. Also, let us know in the comments section what your child liked about their new forest school learning; we’d love to hear from you!