Gather up as many blankets and clothes pins you can find and construct an epic fort in your home. Move & utilize furniture to add "walls" and height. You can also use rubber bands, string, tape or kitchen clips if you don't have clothes pins. Once completed, hang out together and read, eat snacks, have screen time or play a board game. Need inspo? We really like these tips.
Use items from around the house to create a DIY obstacle course for kids to romp through. Utilize tape or chalk to create lines on the floor for jumping over or on top of. Try doing this activity right before nap time to release pent up energy.
Make a list of specific nature items available for collecting within your property, or in an area that's safe for your family to be in. Have the kids go out on a hunt to collect the items in a basket, jar or tote. Ideas of things to forage could be a pinecone, an yellow wildflower, a black stone, a piece of green moss, a piece of bark, etc. Really it just depends on what's available near you.
Plan a classic picnic to eat outside. Think sandwiches, crisps (that's what chips are called in Australia), and fruit or potato salad and brownies. Have the kids help prepare the menu, cook, pack the basket, set-up + breakdown the feast! (If you don't have outdoor space, you can still do this inside.) Need inspo?
Have some camping gear lying around? Spend the afternoon setting up camp in the backyard and making it super cozy. Sing campfire songs, play charades and tell not-so-scary scary stories. Make classic camping food, even if you don't have access to a BBQ, by making snags, veggies in foil and trail mix.
Set up your own movie theater inside. It's kind of like a real movie theater, but better because you have blankets and pillows to construct your ideal watching scene. Make an array of flavored popcorn for snacking and be entertained together for the night. We suggest watching a movie about the outdoors to make you feel wild and free.
Set out a blanket and pillows in the yard or patio and watch the clouds pass above. Listen to your family's favorite music (or kid-friendly podcast) as you stare off into space. Point out what you see and draw rough sketches of the animals and shapes that come into view in your minds-eye.
Afternoon tea isn't exactly a nature activity but it's very Aussie and a fun way to add a little fanciness to your family's day. You could even do it outside on a clear day. Make simple tea sandwiches with sandwich bread, and any kind of veggies and cheese you have stocked. For the sweets? Scones, jam and clotted cream are traditional, but it's ok if you don't make the scones and cream, the kids will love store-bought cookies just as much :)
Add a sense of wonder to the day. Once the sun sets and the stars start to twinkle overhead, lay down a blanket, plus extras to keep warm, and lie down head-to-head in a circle so you can point out stars to the kids easily. We love using this phone app for identifying constellations in your locale just by holding up your phone at different angles in the sky.
This is the perfect time to get your garden growing beautifully. Have your kids get their hands messy and help you out in the dirt. Either plant some flowers, veggies, herbs or simply start weeding. If you don't have a garden, you can plant a container garden for the patio or indoors. Order your supplies ahead of time online!
Go outside and gather "ingredients" from the yard or a nearby safe nature walk. Bring small jars and storage containers to carry what you find back home. Using a see-through glass container, jar or bowl (even a mason jar tilted on it's side would work in a pinch) create a mini nature scene. When you're done admiring your mini world, return the items to nature together.
Make a bird feeder and place it near a window to draw in neighborhood birds. Kids will love having interruptions to their day when they get an impromptu bird visit. Try to snap a photo (if you can in time) to remember which birds have stopped by. This feeder is made using an orange, seeds and twine, which you might already have around the house!
Collect flat-ish leaves, small twigs, shells, bark and/or sturdy flowers. Lay paper on top of your findings and lightly rub with crayons or colored pencils to make a nature-inspired art project. This short video will show you just how it's done in 2 minutes.
Put your naturalist cap on. Dedicate a notebook to keep track of the happenings in nature outside your windows or in the yard. Each day, have your kids make the same observations about how the "landscape" has changed from the day before. Record things like what's happening with the weather, or if there has been animal or insect visitors, or if there have been any changes to the plants.
You can't get up and go to a wide open place at the moment, but it shouldn't stop you from planning on going. Anticipation is half the fun anyway, right? Find out what kind of place your family is yearning to discover. Whether it's a river, a place with lots of animals or mountains, concoct a plan and create a detailed itinerary for a future trip somewhere feasible & specific that fits the bill.
Pick a beloved book from your child's collection and make story time an immersive experience. Bring in elements of the five senses that can help bring the story to life. Try out this awesome app that adds sound effects and character voices at just the right moment as you read aloud.
Are your days blending together? Make a family journal and have the kids decorate the pages each day to keep track of the activities you've completed. Add instant-camera photos or print some to glue inside. You'll always have a record to look back on together and perhaps even recreate some of the things you did that you enjoyed the most.
You can't physically go deep into the wild or to a zoo, but you can still see your favorite animals right from your living room. Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary's Youtube videos are a real cute treat. We like checking in on The Nature Conservancy's Reef Cam too for a little underwater adventure.
We're fans of the Cosmic Kids Yoga Youtube channel for themed and visually engaging physical movement time. There are lots of colorful video options in make-believe settings to choose from to suit your mood. You'll get to stretch and exercise with your kids while letting your imaginations wander to the bottom of the sea, a wintery wonderland and beyond.
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