Nature Play

Unstructured play outdoors

Inside all of us is Hope, Inside all of us is Fear
Inside all of us is Adventure, Inside all of us is … a Wild Thing                             (Maurice Sendak)

Activities

20 Ways to get Outside and be Active

20 Ways to get Outside and be Active

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1. Take a walk or jog around your neighbourhood
2. Go for a bike ride with your family
3. Head to a beach or lake and explore
4. Take your dog for a walk
5. Throw a frisbee in the park
6. Go fishing
7. Go on a bushwalk that you haven’t been on before
8. Climb a tree – you don’t have to be a kid to be a kid!
9. Fly a kite – also dont have to be a kid!
10. Visit a National Park
11. Make use of your garden, backyard or balcony
12. Camp in your backyard
13. Lie on the grass and look up to the trees
14. Build a cubby under a tree
15. Look for bugs at the park
16. Climb a mountain and look out at the view
17. Go birdwatching – remember to be super quiet!
18. Create a loose parts play area in your backyard
19. Make art from things you find in nature
20. Go on a picnic at your local park

Click poster to download

 

10 Ways to Nature Play from a Balcony

10 Ways to Nature Play from a Balcony

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  1. Put on your scientist hat and record every insect and bug you can see, whether
    they fly, crawl or slide. You could even take photos of each one, identify them
    and create a report!
  2. Sit out on your balcony and do a drawing of everything you can see!
  3. Stand on your balcony with your eyes closed and count how many different sounds you can hear. You could make a tally and even categorise them e.g. birdsong, traffic, sounds from inside home.
  4. Find some binoculars and ‘go bird searching’ from your balcony. See how many different birds live in your area. If you don’t have binoculars you could make some from a couple of empty toilet paper rolls!
  5. Sing a song out on your balcony the neighbours can enjoy. Maybe they’ll even sing one back to you!
  6. Sit on your balcony with a pen and paper and let everything you can see, hear, smell and feel inspire your very own story.
  7. Build a fort on your balcony using whatever in on the balcony and what you’re allowed to use from inside, you might have to be inventive with this one!
  8. Take your favourite book to read out on the balcony.
  9. Find some seeds (tomatoes, apples and citrus fruits will all have some) and ‘plant’ them in an empty cardboard egg carton. If you don’t have soil or compost to cover them with, try coffee grounds for tomato seeds. They love the
    acidity!
  10. Invent your own game you can play with your family on your balcony, be as creative as you like!

Click poster to download

33 Things to do before you're 1

33 Things to do before you’re 1

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1. Watch birds fly across the sky
2. Lie on my Mum / Dad’s tummy and look at the stars
3. Dangle my toes in the ocean
4. Feel sand and dirt
5. Lie on a picnic rug in your backyard
6. Listen to waves at a beach, hear the river run and point to the water
7. Listen to the wind blowing through the trees, feel the wind
8. Meet a dog, cat or other pets
9. Sit by a stream (or put my feet in running water)
10. Roll a ball to Mum / Dad / a friend / the dog
11. Smell a flower
12. Watch other kids run, jump and play in a park
13. Lie on your back on the grass and look up to the trees
14. Grab a stick
15. Roll over on a picnic rug in a park
16. Spot Mum or Dad walking toward me across the park
17. Cry when it is time to leave the park
18. Babble to my friends in the sand pit or other outdoor play area
19. Shake a seed pod
20. Watch Mum or Dad’s face be amazed at nature
21. Sit on a picnic blanket in the park
22. Spot my reflection in a lake, river or creek
23. Begin to explore my backyard
24. Pass a feather, leaf, stick or rock from one hand to the other
25. Stand up against a tree
26. Feel scared of something outdoors
27. Point to the clouds
28. Crawl across a puddle
29. Wave goodbye to a bird
30. Throw a ball in my yard and chase it
31. Swing on a swing
32. Hold sticks in each hand and bang together
33. Say the word ‘bird’ or ‘dog’ or any other thing that is outdoors

Click poster to download

See more at Nature Play QLD

33 Things to do before you're 2

33 Things to do before you’re 2

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1. Play beside my friends in the park
2. Hand my friend a stick
3. Walk barefoot on the grass
4. Throw my friend a ball
5. Cuddle my sand pit buddy
6. Show Mum or Dad something I found outdoors
7. Cheer at older kids playing in the park
8. Run and jump in puddles
9. Point to my muddy feet
10. Put on my hat to go outside
11. Drink from my water bottle after playing outdoors
12. Take one soft friend from my room on an adventure outdoors
13. Try and catch some rain with my tongue
14. Play with the running water from a hose
15. Explore more of my backyard
16. Walk hand in hand with someone I love along the beach
17. Look for a lady bug
18. Point at the swings to tell Mum or Dad I want to have a go
19. Say YES when it is time to give someone else a turn on the swing
20. Go down a slide on my Mum or Dad’s lap
21. Go down a slide holding my Mum or Dad’s hand
22. Explore the picnic area where Mum and Dad are sitting
23. Get excited when playing with my friends at the park
24. Scream when it is time to go home after playing outdoors
25. Show Mum and Dad where a tree is when they ask
26. Share my bucket and spade with other kids at the beach
27. Say ‘park’, ‘slide’, ‘tree’ and ‘swing’
28. Kick the ball in the backyard and then chase it (and kick again)
29. Climb the steps on the slide
30. Sit or roll in autumn leaves
31. Look at a book on the lawn under a tree
32. Go for a walk with someone I love around the block
33. Go for a walk with someone I love in the park

Click poster to download

See more at Nature Play QLD

33 Things to do before you're 3

33 Things to do before you’re 3

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1. Sit on a rock with my feet in the water
2. Drag a stick and make patterns in the sand
3. Dig in the garden
4. Look for a worm
5. Start to learn to swim
6. Go fishing
7. Sleep in a tent in the backyard or go camping
8. Take an evening walk with Mum / Dad
9. Go to the zoo
10. Watch birds swim in the lake
11. Run through a sprinkler with a friend
12. Look for shapes in the clouds
13. Roll down a hill with friend
14. Make a rock pile
15. Look at the grass / a flower with a magnifying glass
16. Get my first splinter
17. Look for a crab at the beach
18. Play in a cardboard box in the backyard
19. Build a sandcastle
20. Take turns riding a trike with a friend
21. Chase a butterfly
22. Stand in the rain and feel it on my skin
23. Watch a leaf float on the water
24. Stay up late to see the moon, stars and night sky
25. Play in the mud
26. Cry when someone won’t let me have a turn on the swings
27. Hang from a low lying branch of tree
28. List all my friends who I like to play with at the park
29. Have a birthday BBQ at the park
30. Share my ball with my friends
31. Cuddle my friend who has hurt themselves while outside playing
32. Scrape my knee
33. Make new friends at the park

Click poster to download

See more at Nature Play QLD

49 Things to do before you're 5

49 Things to do before you’re 5

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  1. Run around in the rain
  2. Play hide-and-seek in a garden
  3. Lie on your back and watch the clouds
  4. Pick fruit from a tree and eat it
  5. Go for a hike in the bush or a local reserve
  6. Jump in a pile of leaves
  7. Build a sandcastle with a moat
  8. Hang from a low branch, then drop
  9. Make a collection of leaves and feathers
  10. Climb a steep slope on your hands and knees
  11. Watch a sunrise or sunset
  12. Play with mud
  13. Explore your garden with a magnifying glass
  14. Float a leaf in a pond or stream
  15. Listen to a storm and watch for lightning
  16. Chase your shadow
  17. Search for tadpoles in a creek
  18. Make a cubby under a tree or in some bushes
  19. Draw with a stick in the dirt
  20. Grow some herbs and veggies in a patch or pot
  21. Visit a farm, or a petting zoo
  22. Sit around a campfire and toast marshmallows
  23. Dig holes and trenches in your yard
  24. Listen to the birds and imitate their song
  25. Catch some bugs and then release them
  26. Search for shells at the beach
  27. Invent your own obstacle course using rocks and sticks
  28. Blow on a dandelion flower and make a wish
  29. Sit quietly and watch ants, snails or birds
  30. Water some plants with a watering can
  31. Have a picnic under a big shady tree
  32. Jump in a puddle
  33. Chase butterflies around the garden
  34. Play with a ball at an oval or on the beach
  35. Paddle at the beach or a backyard wading pool
  36. Play shops under a tree with seedpods and leaves
  37. Visit a botanical garden
  38. Balance along a log or some stepping stones
  39. Go for a night walk with a torch in the garden
  40. Climb a big hill and look at the view
  41. Explore a rock pool or create your own
  42. Have story time outside on a rug
  43. Catch rain on your tongue
  44. Sprout some fast-growing seeds
  45. Play ‘peek-a-boo’ from behind a tree
  46. Ride a trike or scooter to the park
  47. Roll down a grassy hill
  48. Pick a posy of flowers for someone you love
  49. Count the stars at dusk

Click poster to download

See more at Nature Play QLD

51 Things to do before you're 12

51 Things to do before you’re 12

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  1. Climb a tree
  2. Sleep under the stars (even in your own backyard)
  3. Fall off a bike
  4. Learn to swim
  5. Build a cubby or a tree house
  6. Find a geocache in your neighbourhood
  7. Go beach combing after a storm
  8. Cook damper on a campfire
  9. Go on a school camp in -the bush
  10. Catch a wave. (start  with a small one)
  11. Play chasy in the rain
  12. Catch a prawn in a river (and have fun trying)
  13. Make a water slide with builders plastic and a hose (do it on your watering day)
  14. Find a cave
  15. Make something with things you find
  16. Play in a creek
  17. Do something you’re scared of
  18. Watch kangaroos in the wild
  19. Slide down a sand (or grass) hill on cardboard
  20. Yell “cooeee!” in a gorge or a valley
  21. Camp on a beach
  22. Build a sandcastle city
  23. Skim a stone
  24. Plant something and watch it grow
  25. Play spotlight
  26. Ride your bike on a bush trail
  27. Visit an island
  28. Go for a two day hike
  29. Snorkel at the beach or on a reef
  30. Ride a flying fox
  31. Play under a sprinkler
  32. Climb a big rock
  33. Play in the bush for a whole day
  34. Visit a waterhole
  35. Meet kids in a park and invent a game
  36. Paddle a kayak
  37. Dig for worms in your backyard
  38. Catch a crab
  39. Learn the Aboriginal names for five plants and five animals
  40. Visit a national park
  41. Catch a fish
  42. Play on a rope swing
  43. Eat bush -tucker
  44. Make a kite and fly it
  45. Jump off a jetty (check the water is deep enough first)
  46. Identify the birds in your backyard
  47. Go abseiling
  48. Catch a tadpole (and release it)
  49. Make mud pie
  50. Find a lake, puddle. pond etc and use a magnifying glass to spot the creatures in it
  51. Play beach cricket

Click poster to download

 

See more at Nature Play QLD

25 Things To Do In Winter

25 Things To Do In Winter

  1. Make leaf boats and float them down a stream or in a puddle
  2. Collect fallen leaves, paint them with winter colours & press onto paper to make leaf prints

and many more … courtesy of Nature Play WA

 

10 Things to do before you're 13

10 Things to do before you’re 13

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  1. Catch a wave
  2. Play in the creek
  3. Play stalk the lantern/spotlight
  4. Build a sand castle city
  5. Learn the Aboriginal names for 5 animals
  6. Play beach cricket
  7. Paddle a kayak or a canoe
  8. Find the Southern Cross at night
  9. Play tiggy on the beach
  10. Learn the names of five plants

Click poster to download

 

See more at Nature Play QLD

 

 

 

For more games to play outdoors, go to Kids Outdoors: Activities

About Nature Play

What is Nature Play

Nature play is any activity that gets children active or thinking actively outdoors, with the end goal of building skills and ability to play without the need for parental or adult control. This can be in any setting, so long as it’s outdoors. (Nature Play QLDread more)


Natural play challenges and fascinates children and teaches them about the wonders and intricacies of the natural world while they explore and play within it. It is intuitive and unstructured, constructive (or deconstructive), and timeless, encouraging interaction with natural materials, features, indigenous vegetation, and creative landforms. Natural Play is often a blend of materials and experiences to create purposely complex interplays of natural and environmental objects. (The Learning Landscaperead more)

 

Why nature play?

Nature play – unstructured play outdoors – is vital to a healthy childhood.

For children, play is learning. There is no better space for kids to learn than the outdoors, and there is no better play resource than nature.

One of the best lessons children can be taught in their early years is to play outdoors. Children innately reap great benefits as they grow connection and appreciation of the natural environment. In the structured, busy and technologically-advanced world we live in, the role of outdoor play that we experienced as children is being forgotten.

Nature play is any activity that gets children active or thinking actively outdoors, with the end goal of building skills and ability to play without the need for parental or adult control. This can be in any setting, so long as it’s outdoors. It supports children being left to their own devices while caregivers supervise from a distance. Adults can also actively participate in nature play, however, through child-led play activities.

Nature play significantly improves all aspects of child development – physical, cognitive, social and emotional.

Playing outdoors grows resilience, self-confidence, initiative, creativity and more. It encourages the joy of movement; it nurtures wild imaginations, experimentation, friendships, social connections and behaviour.

Source: Nature Play QLD

But all the magic I have known, I’ve had to make it myself

Shel Silverstein

 

 

 

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Tail Lights by Georgina Pratten