The Ugly Bug Contest
Take a bug net and a lidded jar with you on your next nature walk and encourage the kids to try to find as many ugly bugs as they can. When you're done with the walk you can look at the bugs under a magnifying glass and vote on which bug is the ugliest.
Doing a backyard exploration at night is eye-opening for kids. Tape red tissue paper over the front of your flashlights, and head for the bushes. The red tissue paper will help prevent spooking nocturnal creatures. Have the kids check around rocks and logs and look up into the trees while keeping track of all that they find and hear. Kids also love doing constellation hunts at night with a constellation calendar chart.
Follow the Leader
A great way to teach bike safety and hand signals is by playing follow the leader on your bikes. Have the kids follow you and copy every hand motion and maneuver that you perform.
Surveying a Lake
A lake survey can easily be performed with several clean, lidded jars and a microscope. Take water samples from several different areas of a lake, placing each sample in its own jar. Attempt to get samples from areas of the lake that differ from each other, such as a sandy bottom, a weedy bottom, an inlet, a backwater and away from shore. Take the samples home, and look at a drop from each under a microscope, comparing what you see in the different samples.
The Fox and the Hound Game
During the fall, rake interconnecting paths through the leaves on your yard. Assign one person to be the hound and everyone else to be the foxes. The hound chases the foxes, attempting to tag them. Everyone has to stay on the paths. If the hound tags a fox, the fox then becomes a hound as well. This continues until there is only one fox left. During the winter, stamp out paths in the snow.
Help a child make an ice or snow sculpture. Ice and snow blocks can easily be made and then turned into works of art. A soup spoon, spatula and knife are all the tools you need. A bucket of hot water to heat your tools is also helpful. Little odds and ends like buttons, scarves, hats, pine cones, orange peels, carrot sticks and food coloring allow you to be even more creative.
Article Written By Isaac Billings
Residing in northern Michigan, Isaac Billings began writing in 2009, with articles appearing on eHow, Trails and Run.com. A wilderness EMT-paramedic and wilderness instructor, Billings enjoys writing about the outdoors, running, health and nutrition. He holds an Associates of Applied Science in emergency medicine from North Central Michigan College.