When I was young, I can remember spending hours outdoors -- hiking to the woods behind our house, looking in the creek for crayfish and tadpoles, scouting out which animals were running around the yard.
And I can clearly remember the smell of the lilac trees when they started to bloom! I would ask my mother if I could keep my window open just so I could fall asleep to that wonderful scent :)
There always seems to be so many new things to experience in nature with the seasons constantly changing around us. And as you know, we are big fans of nature activities for kids both at home and on the blog!
So I was very inspired this month to join the 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge and share how kids can be 'Nice to Nature' with these hands-on activities and a free printable to share with you too!
20 Inspiring Nature Activities for Kids
Most of us teach our children about ecology without even realizing it! It happens every time we ask them not to pull the leaves off the tree or to leave some of the pinecones at the park where the squirrels will need them.
I realized last week during a discussion with my daughter that ecology is not a branch of science that's talked about when kids are young -- and yet, it's probably one they can relate to very well.
Ecology is the study of how we relate to the environment around us -- something that kids do every time they head out the door!
And in addition to teaching our children to respect nature and care for it, I also think it's very important to INSPIRE them to do so.
For it's inspiration that will move their spirit and make them a passionate person as they grow up!
In honor of the 100 Acts of Kindness, I wanted to share ideas for activities & books that will inspire kids to be nice to nature!
◊ Put out birdseed for the birds -- someone needs to feed them during cold months ;)
◊ Plant butterfly-friendly flowers in your garden -- learn more about butterflies
◊ Stay on the path when you go hiking
◊ Be sure to clean up your trash when you have a snack outside
◊ Plant a tree -- schools can apply for free tree seedlings
◊ Clean garbage from a local stream or pond -- contact your city to see if they host a local Clean-up Day
◊ Leave the leaves on the trees
◊ Turn off the lights when you leave a room
◊ Recycle any glass, plastic, metal, paper or cardboard that’s used at your house
◊ Turn off the water when you brush your teeth -- learn more about teaching kids to conserve water
◊ Make a bird feeder
◊ If you climb a tree, be gentle on the branches
◊ Learn about ecology and how people can help the environment
◊ If you have a garden, help to water the plants -- putting in a rainbarrel is a great thing to do!
◊ Help your school to recycle paper
◊ Fill the birdbath with water -- those birds need baths too!
◊ Clean up litter when you visit your local playground
◊ Let the bees be! Learn more about what's happening to the bees & how to protect them
◊ Use less water when showering and washing your hands
◊ Read a book about someone who was nice to nature
That last one -- read a book about someone who was nice to nature -- is a key activity!
There are so many wonderful books to inspire our kids to change the world! Here are a few of our favorites along with affiliate links so you can learn more about each one:
Miss Rumphius is a moving story of a woman who wanted to make the world more beautiful -- so she planted flowers and inspired others to find their own way to add beauty to the world.
The Wump World was one of my favorite Bill Peet books as a child. Read along to see what happens to the Wumps as their world becomes polluted. A BIG hit with elementary age kids!
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia shares the experience of a young woman who saw plastic bags blowing around her city and decided to do something about it -- truely an awesome book!
Planting the Trees of Kenya is a story that shows just how one small act can truely change the world!
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever -- kids will love seeing how one woman transformed a city!
Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest is based on the true story of a woman who wanted to help save the redwood trees in California and the community that supported her.
The Camping Trip that Changed America is the story of how the US National Park system was started -- all the result of a camping trip between two well-known men!
And of course, The Lorax (I prefer the book over the movie but some kids love the film!)
And to keep these ideas front-of-mind, I thought a free printable "Be Nice to Nature" sheet would be nice -- something you can hang in the kitchen, classroom or on the back patio to remind kids how much of a difference they can make in nature.
You might also be inspired to get involved with some real life science projects this year too!