Thank you for visiting the home blog of Caliso Learning, a natural science-based business celebrating the beauty and ecology of our natural environments. Our goal is to connect you and your family with nature--actually, we want you to fall in LOVE with nature!

Here you will find nature-inspired articles and posts, family activities, personal stories, resources, and more--all with the goal to connect you with the benefits of nature for family fun and inspiration! Please enjoy and let us know what you like :) Follow us on Facebook for even more resources, more frequently!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Activities Do You Do With Your Children To Encourage Love & Understanding Of Nature?

Recently a discussion on LinkedIn was started by a group member asking, “What type of activities do you do with your children to encourage love and an understanding of nature?”

Of the activities my son (nearly four years old) and I do together outside, I feel the best is when he leads the way in personal discovery and his excitement of finding flowers, lizards, birds, etc. on his own. It's so tempting for parents to point out every little cool thing we see—in our own excitement—that we don't want our child to miss! I catch myself all the time ;) But it's so important to let your child make their own discoveries and if they pass up the lizard for the rabbit poopies, so be it...the point is to get them excited about nature, and any way they can relate it back to their own world, the better! If this kind of exploration is encourged, they'll want to get back outside!

Here are some activities I shared in the discussion that we do with our preschooler:

1) Rescue bugs spiders in the house and release them outside (although we currently have
a harmless cellar spider living up in a hallway corner that we say hello to each day)

2) Caring for our desert tortoises, requiring a little native plant knowledge on what they like to eat and tortoise behavior like when they’re usually awake, take naps, how they eat cactus.

3) Playing "Pooh Sticks" in streams; also make leaf and stick boats for stream play

4) Puddle jumping, he's great at it—and we encourge it, even on the way out to dinner ;)

5) I made him a set of paint sample color swatches to practice his colors on wildflowers and other plants and rocks, which he LOVED when he was 18 mos. to about 3 years...

6) We keep fresh flowers in the house

7) "Hiking" and bug/bird/reptile watching; tracking; stick play

8) We pick up trash we come across on trails or in nature areas and parks

9) We go outside to jump around in the rain (it hardly rains here!)

10) We pay attention to the moon

11) We like ladybugs crawling on our hands

12) He collects feathers, leaves and flowers that he knows some names of, also sticks and rocks. The feathers, leaves and flowers go in a simple photobook, the rocks in a bucket while collecting, and into container for keeping (unless we're in a protected area*)

*A quick note on being in a protected area: this is an absolute prime teaching opportunity. Please respect the rule of no collecting or removing of natural items in protected or preserved areas!!! It is so important and little ones are not exempt! My son will collect 'til his heart's content, but before we've even started I've let him know that whatever he collects "lives here" and we will have to leave the pinecones and rocks behind, after we go through them and admire his finds and/or take their pictures. His fuss is brief and the lesson is so valuable, especially in the long run.

What are your favorite nature activities you do with your child(ren) or students? Please share with us :)


  1. My two explorers love playing in nature! Trees seem to be a big hit these days -- hugging them & touching the bark and leaves.

  2. Wonderful! So tactile, I love it! ;)