Forest School: How to turn a nature walk into an opportunity for learning

So. Things are pretty weird right now! Living rooms have become workplaces, parents are trying to become teachers, and we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have. And let’s be honest… the cabin fever is REAL, friends! You feel it, your kids feel it.

Stepping out and spending some time in nature is not only a great way to shake off cabin fever, but it also provides lots of opportunities for open-ended playtime and learning with your little one. So why not get your kids out of the house and unwind outside? Pack a bag with some of the following everyday items from around the house to help turn your much-needed nature walk into a day at Forest School!

Deer Diary

Bring along a notebook and some pencils and crayons to create a nature diary! Make a list of all the creatures you see on your travels. Encourage your child to look up high (keep an eye out for our resident forest flyer, Robin), down low and even under rocks, where some of the coolest, slimiest creatures like to hide. Use crayons to make leaf rubbings, and gather small objects to tape into your diary when you get home.

Did S’omeone Say S’mores?

Take a break from your walk and have a mini camping trip! Collect sticks to build a pretend campfire, play I Spy, or cuddle up together on your blanket with some snacks and a favourite book.

Science… In A Jar!

Raid that recycling bin! Your child can use an old jar to scoop up and examine water from a creek, or fill it with sticks and leaves for a temporary bug habitat, or use it to collect cool rocks and other sciencey specimens.

Say “Trees!”

If you’ve got an old phone or digital camera lying around that’s not too precious, charge it up so your little one can take pictures of their favourite forest sights. Encourage them to be independent and seek out what interests them. When you get home, scroll through the pictures and let them tell you all about their findings!

Shovels and Diggers and Cars, Oh My!

Let your kid get down in the dirt for some sensory play. Bring toy shovels, cars and trucks and make your own construction site! Build a tower of sticks, then knock it down! See how many rocks you can pile up before knocking them down! Build roads and bridges… then knock ‘em down! You get the picture. Or build a little village of gnome homes! There will be no shortage of useful supplies on the forest floor.

Being in nature stimulates the senses, gets the body moving, and is the perfect antidote to the dreaded cabin fever. So slap on some sunscreen and go find some green space! Be safe, have fun, and remember to give ample space to your fellow nature lovers. And as always, let your child be your guide.

Happy trails!

Looking for more creative learning ideas? Weather not so sunny? Check out the Forest topic in Sago Mini School & keep the open-ended learning going!

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