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Nature At Home Series: Up the FUN factor in your family nature walks

Whilst we're all doing our part to keep a safe distance yet keep life as healthy, and normal, as possible for our families, you may find yourself going out and about more often for simple walks in nature. However, the moment I mention taking a walk I hear “Moooom do we have to…? Walks are soooo boring". Cue a lot of cajoling to get the kids out of the door!

Not all kids love to go out for the simple pleasure of a walk. In the tropical heat it can just seem like all work and no fun. So how can you make your walks more fun for everyone? Try turning your walk into a game! Do you remember turning a car journey into endless games of eye spy? No its not like that! Being outdoors is much more fun, it's active and there's fresh air and variety for a start. Read on for ideas on making nature walks more fun.

Can you find a leaf bigger than your head? Or bigger than you?!

1. Challenge your children to complete a Scavenger Hunt

When my two boys were young, adding challenges and activities like a scavenger hunt to our outdoor activities was the best way to keep them engaged. The first time I said “Get ready boys, we’re going on a hunt!” They were already excited, they always loved searching for things, collecting things and using them for arts and crafts kept them busy for happy hours afterwards.

Make a nature treasure box for your child to collect their treasures

The great thing with a scavenger hunt is that it requires very little preparation if you want to do it spontaneously, but you can prepare in advance and have it as a back-up should enthusiasm for your walk start to wane. For younger kids It's a good idea to take a scavenger hunt list with you, printed out and ready to go. Download ours here.

For older children you could brainstorm and make a list together of things to search for. You could ask questions like: “What do we usually see on our walks? Can we try and spot five different kinds of birds?”. Encourage your child to contribute. If they do, they’ll get a feeling of success and confidence finding items on the list which they thought up.

Making lists (from the age of five) helps children with literacy and organisational skills. Turning the list into a checklist to complete is fun and allows your child to keep track of their progress. Rather than challenging children to simply find a leaf, or a stone, challenge them to find something that meets certain more specific criteria to increase the challenge level - this can be altered to be more specific depending on the age of the children:

  • A leaf shaped like a heart

  • A stick taller than you are

  • A flower with five petals

  • A leaf larger than your head

  • An insect larger than your fingernail

  • The colours of the rainbow

If you have more than one child you may want to turn it into a competition. Challenge them to find as many things as they can in 10 minutes, or before you get to the playground, or back to the car! Putting a boundary around the game will keep it interesting.

Can you find the colours of the rainbow? In the tropics, colours are everywhere!

2. Make nature crafts with your hunted items

If you're on private property, like in a garden, your condo, or at Wildlings, you could ask the owner / staff / gardener if you can take the items home to for some nature arts and crafts. We recommend laying out some fabric or cardboard as a backdrop and seeing if your child is interested in arranging the items into a picture. Add tape, paint or glue to make it more interesting for them. If you can keep the activity natural, then the items can be returned to nature at a later date.

Arrange your natural treasures into the face of Mother Nature

You can easily draw a quick template on some plain paper for inspiration to create some funny nature faces, or take some chalk out with you and do this on-the-go! IKEA sell jumbo pavement chalk you can take out and about with you.