Nature Crafts and Activities for Toddlers

 
Leaf Maze

Take advantage of all of those pesky leaves that have fallen on your front lawn.

Before you rake up all of the fallen leaves in the autumn, clear thin paths through the leaves using a rake or a shovel. You can create a make or a simple path to follow. If you are energetic, you can also do this with snow.

Picnic Ants

This game can be played indoors or outdoors and will help your child become more observant. You may wish to provide the participants with an old sheet and some fabric paints and let them decorate their own picnic blanket.

What you’ll need:
1 picnic blanket or sheet
Assorted picnic items, such as thermos, paper plates, and napkins

Spread out the picnic blanket and arrange the picnic prop items in the center.

Have all the children close their eyes. Play the part of the pesky ant. Remove one item and hide it behind your back. (You may also choose one of the children to serve as the ant.)

Ask the children to open their eyes and guess which item was removed.



Bug Activities

Catching Butterflies

This activity is best played on a windy day. Cut butterfly shapes out of pretty pastel paper. Give your child a butterfly net. Go outside and throw the butterflies in the air and see how many she can catch with her net.

You can also use bubbles too. And you don’t have to wait for a windy day!


Make Worm Tracks


Pour brown paint in a container. Take string or yarn anklet your child drag the yarn through the paint to make worm tracks.

Fingerprint Bugs


Pour paint in a shallow bowl and let your child make bugs with his thumbprint. Use a sharpie to make the legs and antennae.

You can also use wine corks, cotton balls or even marshmallows to make bug prints.

Coffee Filter Butterflies


Place a coffee filter on some paper towels. Let your child squeeze drops of different colored food coloring onto it. Then fold the filter into a fan shape and place the center into a clothespin. Pull on each side a little if you have to to form the wings. Bend a pipe cleaner in half and place it in the opening of the clothespin.

Nature Crafts

Pinecone Bird Feeder

Not only will your toddler enjoy making this project, but the finished bird feeder will attract birds for your toddler to watch and enjoy!

What you’ll need:

12” length of yarn or twine
1 large pinecone
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 cup birdseed
Shallow bowl or pie tin

Attach the yarn to the pinecone. Make a loop at the loosened for hanging the bird feeder.

Help your toddler spread the peanut butter on the pinecone.

Pour the birdseed into the bowl. Show your child how to roll the coated pinecone in the seeds to coat it.

Take your bird feeder outside, and hang it where your child will be able to watch the visiting birds.

Flower Crown

You can make this decorative craft project with your child at different times of the year to showcase the variety of natural materials and reflect the change in seasons.

What you’ll need:

Paper plate
Scissors
Varios flowers, seeds, grasses, and other natural materials
White craft glue

Fold the paper plate in half. Cut out a semicircle, leaving a 3” border. Cut spikes and square shapes to a depth of 1”.
 

Open the plate. The spikes and squares become the spires of the crown.

Give your child a variety of natural materials to glue on the crown for decoration.

Let the glue dry before helping your child don the crown.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Here is a fun and easy way for your odder to preserve all of the treasures she picks up when she is exploring outside.

What you’ll need:

Assortment of items that your toddler has found outside
1 sheet construction paper or poster board
Clear contact paper

Help your child find and collect safe outdoor treasures. Good items include leaves, bark, twigs, and flowers. Watch out for small items that may pose a choking hazard if your toddler still puts things in her mouth. Also watch out for sharp pieces.

Have your toddler arrange her treasures on the construction paper.

Cover the paper with clear contact paper. You will not have to glue anything and it will last a long time. (Alternatively, you can use a larger sheet of the contact paper. Have your child arrange her treasures on one half, and then fold the contact paper over and seal.)


Astronomy and Nighttime Activities

This is an activity we like to do in early Autumn, when it starts getting dark early and it’s still not too cold at night.

Binoculars

Although these “binoculars” do not work, you may find that they encourage your child o be observant and interested in the night sky. Because rubber bands can be a choking hazard, be sure to supervise your child when making this craft or playing with the finished product.

What you’ll need:

4 large rubber bands
2 squares clear plastic wrap or tinted cellophane
2 toilet paper tubes
Crayons
Star-shaped stickers (optional)

Use a rubber band to secure a square of plastic wrap or cellophane over 1 end of each toilet paper tube.

Attach the 2 rolls together side by side with the remaining rubber bands.

Give your child crayons and stickers to decorate the binoculars.

Go outside on a clear night, and use the binoculars to look at the moon and the stars. If you have real binoculars or a telescope, be sure to bring that along, too.


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