By Samuel Broaden

As we head into fall, parents continue to juggle it all during COVID-19, including entertaining and engaging preschoolers, and trying to support their ongoing development. Many parents feel like they have to buy workbooks or special toys to give their children the best experience. Instead, save your money and try some simple activities at home or close-to-home, like this nature walk.

This is one of the simplest and most enjoyable activities that you can do with your child—and it requires very few materials or much prep. Being connected to nature is an integral part of every child’s development. Nature and the outdoors are things that every child needs—and needs more of!

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For this activity, you need:

  • A basket of any kind
  • A camera (phone)
  • You and your child
  • Paper and drawing materials

Talk with your child and invite them to go on a nature walk with you. As you walk, talk with your child about what they see, hear, smell and feel. Invite them to collect things as they walk and place into their basket. Snap some pictures on your phone.

When you arrive back home, spend some time with your child discussing what they saw and how they felt. Go through the items they found and talk about them: What are they, what do they do, why did they decide to collect them? Look through the pictures you took and invite your child to draw pictures or words about what you both saw — you can draw, too! Then you can display what they found and drew in your home for them to continue the conversation with other family members.

This is a fun, but simple way to get your children outside and to encourage them to think critically and express themselves—which are both great skills that young children need. The more conversation you have with them, the better!

Samuel Broaden is an early childhood educator, consultant and author. You can read more of his work at Honoring Childhood.

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