During the first few weeks of the pandemic, it didn’t seem too hard to come up with (or search online for) indoor activities for kids. However, for most parents, that phase didn’t last long. Pretty soon the kids were spending most of their time in front of the TV or a tablet, with very few opportunities to let their creativity flow.
Nurturing your little one’s creative side early on will reflect in other areas of his/her life as they grow. They will begin to think outside the box and come up with multiple solutions for any problem, thus making them more tolerant and with greater self-control. There are many more benefits of sparking creativity in children, but let’s find out ways we, as parents can do that, without having to leave the house.
Every child needs an art box. Stock it up with everything from crayons and paint to glue and beads. Before you throw anything away, think of ways you could use them to create art. Hang on to some cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, even empty coconut shells. DIY craft projects are great for encouraging creativity but also help in the development of motor skills.
Make Something for Your Nature Friends
Nothing beats sitting inside when it’s too wet, cold, hot, or just plain yucky outside. But imagine all the small animals outside who don’t have the same luxury and how a simple creation would make their lives that much easier. Let your kids’ imagination run wild while they make food containers or shelters for their outdoor friends.
Some great and simple ideas of nature activities for kids include a pinecone with peanut butter and seeds or even a birdbath made from an old painted planter filled with water and hung in the backyard. For a bigger challenge, have your child try their hands at a birdhouse made from some twine, glue, and popsicle sticks. Both your kids and the animals will appreciate this creative nature undertaking.
Grow Your Own Indoor Garden
There are a variety of plants—edible and decorative, that can be grown inside your own home by your child; they not only have many health benefits but can brighten up a room with their pleasing scents and visual appeal.
Let them keep track of watering and feeding their plants in a notebook so they can develop a better appreciation and love for all that nature provides us. They can grow plants using recycled items—egg cartons, eggshells, coconut shells, and even empty cans. Simply fill them up with some soil, plant the seeds then place them in sunlight. Remind your little nature lover to water them when the soil is dry to the touch.
Edible plants can be used in your cooking and your child will love to know that they are contributing to their meals in a wholesome way when they can begin to profit from their harvest. To take it a step further, your child may like to try sprouting dried legumes in a jar covered with cheesecloth or paper towel, just soak with water then drain, twice a day, and watch your healthy legume sprout. Store in the fridge until you are ready to eat.
Similar to painting, the art of photography is an easy indoor activity that any aspiring photographer can accomplish with the help of a cell phone. Have them snap photos of their favorite corners, people, their room, foods, or whatever interests them.
Let them print the photos; they can even enhance them beforehand using some easy photo editing apps. Then, let them hang the photos up in some nature-inspired frames around the house or place them in a photo album.
Plan Their Next Exploration Adventure
If your nature-loving kid loves to explore unknown places but simply can’t do that right now, how about having your child plan out their next exploration? Borrow some local, or even non-local, field guides and maps. Research far-off places online and jot down all the places they would love to see.
Let them plan out the trip down to the date, the route they would take, the supplies they would need, and draw it out on a map so they are ready to go when you can get outside. Introduce them to topographic maps during their planning to help them better understand the terrain of where they want to explore (this will also help them be better prepared). The farther away and more exotic the place the longer it will take to plan; the sky’s the limit.
Embrace the Nighttime Sky
A telescope is a wonderful way to see what is hiding beyond the naked eye in the night sky. Grab a book on astronomy or print up some constellation charts from online and teach them to chart the stars they see.
Constellation viewers are a fun and creative way to track the stars and can be made from some recycled paper towel tubes, paper for the end of the tube, tape to hold the paper down, and a pencil to poke the holes of each constellation into the end. After they have charted the stars why not have them recreate the night sky on their bedroom ceiling with some glow-in-the-dark stickers?
Develop a Collection
Those who love nature tend to want to keep and hold onto the wonderful things they find in the great outdoors. Why not let your nature lover keep all their interesting treasures in a box or container that they help to design and decorate?
Recycled shoe boxes are great for collections and construction paper can be used to create dividers for all their finds. For the top and sides of the box, they can decorate it with paint, or they can cover it with leaves, flowers, seashells, or even rocks.
When their box becomes too full, they can recreate another one or they may choose to put some of their favorite finds on display or even make something special out of them, like a wind chime. Attach some shells, rocks, or even sticks onto a string and hang their decoration where the wind will make it dance.
Go on a Camping Trip
It doesn’t matter if you have backyard space or you pitch a tent in your living room, your nature-loving kid will love the idea of sleeping in a tent when you serve up this idea with a delicious side of oven-made smores and some hotdogs.
Maybe you are lucky enough to have a fire pit in your backyard or you can display a YouTube campfire on your tablet or T.V, either way, be sure to add this to your indoor adventure. Bring out the sleeping bags, put nature sounds on in the background, and settle in for a night of telling some great stories while stuffing yourselves with some delicious camping treats, and don’t forget the flashlights.
The idea behind nature journaling is drawing and describing your favorite aspects of nature in one spot, a personal journal. If your nature lover is fascinated by the outside world then this is an ideal way for them to do some research and draw the outdoor scenery, animals, and plants they have seen, and even have yet to see.
They can expand on their journal to include leaf, flower, or tree rubbings, a simple task of placing their nature finds under some paper and rub the paper with colorful crayons to bring out the textures. They can include poetry, inspiring nature quotes, animal tracks to look for, and wildlife characteristics.
Then, they can group their interesting finds into categories, such as flowers and the seeds they find within them. This nature activity truly allows them to be creative about one of their passions and is something they can work on for years to come.
No matter your child’s location, encouragement is key and what will inspire them to keep their love of nature alive, even when they can’t express their enthusiasm for nature outside.
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