Exploring nature with children: Fun outdoor play ideas

WAtering can
Explore & Develop Roseville brings you these simple ideas for encouraging a love of nature

Exploring nature with children is more important than ever, now we are living in a world where we are regularly being bombarded with negative images of our impact on our planet, plastics in the ocean and forests being destroyed.

We know our society is becoming more urbanised, with an increase in the number of families living in apartments. Children are given more low-quality plastic toys and have increased access to technology at a younger age, leading to more sedentary play and less engagement in risky, unstructured outdoor play.

Exploring nature with kids

Start your child’s journey into the wild at Explore & Develop

Experts are increasingly concerned about the disconnection between children and their natural world. When children are given the opportunity to experience their natural world they are more likely to build respect for it and value it, growing into citizens who care for their world.

Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods says “Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualisation and the full use of the senses… in nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace.”

sand play

Author Richard Louv’s philosophy is, “In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy”

If you are looking for simple ways to encourage your child’s connection to nature, these ideas from the parents library at Explore & Develop Roseville are a great place to start your journey into the wild.

nature play ideas

When walking, stop and look at the trees, flowers, bees; talk to your child about what you notice

Exploring nature with children: Fun ideas for the natural world

  • Take a walk in the park or bush, away from man-made playgrounds, and engage with your child, observing the natural habitat, recognising the animals you see
  • Take your shoes off and walk on the grass
  • When walking along the street, stop and look at the trees, flowers, bees; notice them and talk to your child about them
  • Allowing your child to play in a muddy puddle, pick up sticks, play in the dirt
  • Go walking in the rain
  • Lie in yard watching clouds, imagining what the shapes could be
  • Go to the beach, make sandcastles or explore rockpools
  • At home, garden with children, planting, watering and caring for the garden. Lots of other creative outdoor ideas!

At home, garden with children, watering and caring for your plants

Remember, when looking for an Early Education Service for your child , choose one where your child can engage with natural resources inside and outside the classroom, one that possibly takes children on excursions into the community and one that has a philosophy of sustainability.


Natural surfaces that are rough, smooth and bumpy offer sensory feedback during play

Sorting natural objects

There are simple ways to encourage your child’s love of nature

Block play

Experiment with hands-on play using natural materials

The educators at Explore & Develop Roseville develop programs and learning opportunities that promote and encourage children to develop connections with the natural world.  Beyond this, the natural world provides many opportunities for children to grow and learn in a holistic manner.

Exploring nature with children

The centre has a sustainable focus with water tank, vege garden and waste organics bin

Explore & Develop Roseville is a local business wholly owned and operated by local mum Chantal. The centre You can find out more about the centre here, or follow their adventures indoors and outdoors on Facebook and Instagram.

More outdoor adventures for kids and families:

Article references:

  • Louv, Richard. Last Child In The Woods.- Saving Our Children From Nature-deficit Disorder.
  • Chapel Hill, NC : Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill, 2005. Print.
  • Author: Su Garrett, Explore & Develop Annandale

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