When I'm out in nature with the children I like to look for natural play opportunities in our surroundings. How might the children be playful in the natural space they find themselves, even if it's only for an hour? I try to think how a child might like to play.
Visiting Wales a few days ago, we came upon a pure, clean bubbling stream which was an obvious water play opportunity. Its silty bank offered up sand play. Mix the two together and there was mud play! I like to keep a simple nature play kit close at hand to help the children really enjoy being outdoors and associate nature with an opportunity ripe for natural play. In our basic nature play kit we have:
Short handled fishing net
Easy for a child to hold.
Perfect for folding up into a pocket. They're great to use on nature walks to collect just about anything. For a younger child they're good for 'filling' and 'dumping' play outdoors. We like Scrunch Buckets.
Great for digging sand, soil, stones or mud.
Wide necked jam jar
Useful for filling up from the stream or sea and then looking to see what might be in the water. Or filling with water and making a simple posy of flowers with daisies or dandelions.
Little plastic boat
Tied with a long piece of string so it doesn't float off downstream.
Fold up kite
For those days when you find yourselves on the beach or on top of a hill and the wind is blowing.
Small watering can
Children love to fill and empty watering cans!
Complete change of clothing
With a change of clothes for each child there's no need to restrict how muddy or wet they get when they're playing.
To clean muddy, sandy hands.
To dry off with. Or sit on.
Plastic shoes or welly boots
To keep feet safe when wading in water.
I love to see Miss K and Little L being playful in nature!