10 Ways To Teach Toddlers About Nature

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Getting outdoors with young kids is important for a variety of reasons, like improving motor skills, developing muscle strength, and promoting curiosity. It’s an opportunity to teach your little one about the environment and expose them to new ideas and textures.

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But finding educational things to do that involve nature can be a challenge. Generally, the younger your kids are, the more limited your options can be. But there are still tons of nature-themed activities to be done with toddlers, including the following 10 options. The only difficult part is choosing which activity to try out first.

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10 Take A Walk

Taking a walk is a simple but effective way to familiarize your child with nature. Point out different things along your walk, like moss on the side of a tree or a squirrel on a branch. Be ready to answer their questions about the environment as they explore.

In addition to being an opportunity for education, there are plenty of other benefits to taking a walk, including decreasing stress, boosting energy levels, and promoting heart health.

9 Garden Together

To teach children about how plants grow, We Have Kids suggests growing one with your toddler. Pick up a small planter and some seeds and help your little one plant them. Then, teach them the importance each day of watering the seedlings. Your toddler will feel accomplished once it starts to sprout.

8 Nature Sensory Bin

If you want your toddler to learn about new textures, create a nature sensory bin. Pick a bucket or bin, and then collect items from the outdoors to use inside, like twigs, rocks, and leaves. If you’re worried about cleanliness, you can pick up fake items (like plastic plants and rocks) from the art or dollar store.

7 Pick Up A Book

You don’t always need to go outdoors to teach your child about nature. Try incorporating books into your routine that can educate them. Happiest Baby recommends popular children’s books like Seeds of Change or If Sharks Disappeared. Make sure the book is simple enough for your toddler to understand.

6 Recycle Together

Teach your toddler the importance of protecting the planet by involving them in recycling. Have them help you sort between different containers and bottles to put in your at-home recycling bin or take to a local depot. Explain in age-appropriate words why we recycle so they learn a life-long lesson.

5 Children’s Documentary

Switch out your toddler’s cartoons for a child-friendly documentary. These docs will expose your child to different animals and plants all around the world and can even teach them basic facts about nature. Be sure to check the age rating to make sure the documentary is appropriate for your toddler.

4 Download An App

For days you can’t get outside, have your toddler play on an educational app. Do some research to find available ones that can teach kids about nature – it could expose them to different animals or teach about recycling. You can also find websites (like National Geographic Kids) with educational kid’s games.

3 Scavenger Hunt

An easy activity to do outdoors with toddler is a scavenger hunt. Prepare a list of nature-themed items ahead of time. Instruct your child to find things like a butterfly, a leaf, or a rock – anything they should be able to easily come across outdoors. This will teach them about new things in their environment while helping them have a ton of fun.

2 Go To The Water

For an all-day activity, spend time by the water with your toddler. Head to the beach or a lake, and take the opportunity to teach your child about the different environment. Try spotting animals like fish and ducks that are prone to water.

You can even practice your toddler’s swimming skills if the water is calm. Read our in-depth guide before letting your toddler swim in the ocean, and be sure to lather your toddler in the right type of sunscreen.

1 Nature Collage

If you want a creative activity, have your toddler create a collage. Instruct them to find outdoors items they can use for the product. Look for small, lightweights items. Then, help them tape or glue the items on a piece of paper or cardboard to create a collage. Take time to tell them about each of the things they chose for their collage.

You don’t have to limit yourself to a collage. Any sort of creative activity that involves nature will help teach your child about the environment. For more information, check out our list of nature-themed crafts that are perfect for toddlers.

Sources: Happiest Baby, We Have Kids, Rhythms of Play, National Geographic Kids, Mayo Clinic,

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