Whether it’s a warm summer morning or a frosty winter afternoon, there are plenty of activities for activities children can enjoy outside. At Primary Beginnings in Raleigh, we love to see preschoolers enjoying nature and having fun. That’s why we’re sharing some nature activities for preschoolers that your child can enjoy during each season. They’re also fun for adults, so be sure to join in! Follow along as our 5-star accredited preschool teachers share some classic nature-based activities that our students have thoroughly enjoyed.
Nature Activities for Preschoolers in the Spring
Paint with Nature
Spring is a great time to be outside — the flowers are in bloom and the weather is usually pleasant. As the season changes from chilly winter to vibrant spring, take advantage of the welcomed fresh air and have your preschooler paint with nature. All you’ll need is a large piece of cardboard or paper, paint, and the outdoor elements! Have your child go in the yard and choose a couple of items they want to use to paint with. This can be a flower, rock, tree branch, or anything else that they find interesting. They can draw and paint pictures of the items they’ve gathered or use what they’ve gathered as their paintbrushes. Either way, it’s a great way for them to physically get in touch with nature.
As the flowers begin to emerge and bud, the outdoors are quickly filled with a variety of hues that we lack in the winter months. With the grey days behind us for a while, we can enjoy the colorful pastels and vibrant pops of colors. From Queen Anne’s lace to daisies and even tulips, your child can create stunning flower art. With your permission, your child can collect a variety of flowers from nature to use as artwork. How so? All they need is paper, glue, and perhaps some colored pencils. From there, your child can either pick flower petals and glue them on craft paper! If your child wants to draw a sun or their family on the paper, that’s a welcomed bonus. This is one of our favorite crafty nature activities for preschoolers.
Take a Hike
Exercise and nature can become one when you take your preschooler on a small hike. Look for trails in your area that are near nature. In Raleigh, we have an abundance of walking trails, including Neuse River Greenway Trail, Milburnie Park, Sal’s Branch Trail, and many more. Be sure to check your local parks and recreation center for a list of viable hiking paths in your area.
On your walk, your child will be exposed to different types of trees, rocks, flowers, insects, and more. If your child has previously learned a few varieties of trees, ask them to name the type of tree (i.e. oak or sycamore). You can do the same with insects and flowers! If there is a picnic area along the trail or at the park’s entrance, be sure to pack a nutritious snack or lunch so you and your child can enjoy all that nature has to offer while refueling.
Nature Activities for Preschoolers in the Summer
Nature Scavenger Hunt
As the windy, rainy, and mild spring days give way to hot summer afternoons, your child will want to spend as much time outside as possible! From enjoying waterparks to getting ice cream with friends to exploring the great outdoors. One thing our preschoolers love doing is searching for objects outside. This activity is easy and fun! We simply make a checklist of items for them to find (i.e. something shiny, something soft, something hard, something textured, and a leaf that is an interesting color). If you have more than one child participating, you can make a small competition out of it and have a prize for the person who checked off the most items on your list. The reward can be popping out for creamy, soothing ice cream.
Rock painting may be a classic activity, but from what we’ve noticed, our preschoolers never get bored of it. Children seem to love collecting various-sized rocks, so this activity is a win-win for you and them. To conduct rock painting activities, take some paint, brushes, and perhaps a plastic tarp outside so your little one can paint the rocks in the colors of their choice. Once all the rocks are painted, your child can have a rock garden. This is a great way for them to get outside, use their imaginations, and create something that everyone will see when they visit.
Plant a Garden
From what we hear, many parents love planting herbs, flowers, fruits and/or vegetables. Since preparing and planting a garden is not exactly a quick and easy task, ask your child to help you sow seeds or plant small flowers/plants. While you may be the one who prepares the soil, your child can easily help you garnish the ground with seeds or small potted plants. Additionally, you can give them extra responsibility by having them water the plants when needed. They will not only learn about gardening but also reap the results of all their hard work. You can also do this activity in the spring, depending on what you’re planting (i.e. tomatoes).
Nature Activities for Preschoolers in the Fall
As the long summer days fade into crisp, autumn days, your child can enjoy the outdoors even more since the weather is a bit cooler and the afternoons aren’t so humid. We encourage you and your child to take full advantage of the autumn weather by getting outside and being crafty. Below are a few of our teacher’s favorite fall-based nature activities for preschoolers.
Make an Acorn Collage
If you live in a neighborhood or countryside pasture where acorns are abundant, your child has the perfect opportunity to create an autumn collage. All they need is a bag to collect acorns, sticks, leaves, grass, or anything else that catches their eye. Draw an acorn on a piece of paper that is large enough for them to glue the items on. Have them cut and paste everything they’ve gathered to create an acorn collage. Once everything dries overnight, they have a lovely piece of artwork to show off.
Leaves, Twigs, and Stick Crafts
Similar to the acorn collage, your child can create artwork from nature, such as leaves, twigs, and small sticks. Have your child collect an abundance of leaves in and around your yard. Note: This activity is more fun when the twigs are all different sizes, and the leaves are different colors. Once they have their collection, all they need is glue to create a cohesive masterpiece.
Visit a Corn Maze
Fall is adorned with an abundance of autumn activities, such as hay rides, apple bobbing, and corn mazes. Corn mazes are much more exciting than a maze on paper, so take this opportunity to take your child to a real corn maze at a local farm. When you’re looking for nature activities for preschoolers during the fall, this is one that will keep them busy as they try to find their way out of the maze. It’s also a great way to enjoy the crisp fall air and maybe even jump in a pile of leaves at the end.
Nature Activities for Preschoolers in the Winter
You might think that nature activities for preschoolers in the winter are few and far between, but think again! There are plenty of fun and engaging activities for your child to enjoy.
Build a Snowman
As the crispy fall days give way to chilly, perhaps snowy winter days, your child is sure to want to get outside, despite the cold weather. A classic activity that is loved by children and adults of all ages is building a snowman. If you want to be prepared, purchase a snowman kit in advance so your child can decorate the snowman when it snows. This way, you’ll have a proper snowman with a corn cob pipe, a button nose, coal eyes, and a hat. And of course, you and your child can both enjoy the fun of rolling up snowballs together. Perhaps you’ll even start a friendly snowball fight as well.
Make a Pinecone Bird Feeder
If it has been a dry year, the pine trees around you will produce an abundance of pinecones in the winter. Dry months allow the tree to focus on reproduction whereas wet months demand more energy from the tree to focus on growing. Whether it’s been a dry or wet year, we bet you can find at least a couple of pinecones on the ground. A unique and fun craft is to build a birdfeeder using a pinecone as the base. All you need to get this done is some peanut butter, twine, birdseed, and of course, pinecones. Once the birdfeeder is complete, have your child hang it outside and let them watch the birds as they visit. You can even take pictures of the different birds with them so that they can look at them and learn about the different species.
If there’s snow on the ground, you can have your preschooler track wildlife from the prints that are left behind. Have them look at the claw marks and number of toes to help determine who made the mark. Having an animal field guide with you or on your phone to look up what you find, can make this easier. Let your child guess which animal was there and see if you can find a match in your guide.
Nature’s playground has so much to offer that your child will never get bored. Getting a breath of fresh air is not only invigorating, but being outside keeps kids active, off the couch, and away from electronics.
One of the amazing things about preschoolers is that they are naturally inquisitive so outdoor activities are an excellent way to get their little minds wondering about the world around them and have fun at the same time!
Enjoy Nature Activities all Year at Primary Beginnings
If you are looking for a 5-star accredited preschool that prioritizes outdoor time, look no further than Primary Beginnings. Our curriculum and staff are dedicated to ensuring your child gets to experience nature and learn from it. In fact, our nature activities for preschoolers are proven to be as fun as they are fruitful for growing minds.
Our programs include infant care preschool care, and after-school care for children in Kindergarten through fifth grade. To learn more about one of our three convenient locations[/link], call us at [phone] or fill out the form below. Take an in-person tour, meet the teachers, and see the classrooms so you can decide if our child care is right for your child.