Neighborhood Nature Walks with Young Children

One of my favorite ways to introduce science to my children is through nature walks. Nature walks allow for hands-on learning, observation, and conversation. Not only that, it allows my children to appreciate and have a love for their natural surroundings.

Nature Walks with Young Children

Neighborhood Nature Walks with Young Children

Nature walks do not need to be complicated. As a mom with four young children, I need to be close to home. In order for my family to plan nature walks in our week, it has to be easy or it just won’t happen. Many times all my family does is step outside! Our own neighborhood has its own natural treasures to find.

touching nature

One very windy day, a small evergreen tree caught the attention of my 1yr. old. It was swaying in the wind, almost inviting her to come over and inspect it. She stood there for awhile, just touching the pine needles and smiling. Nature observation happened right in our own backyard (Of course not everything in nature can be touched! Watch small children closely.)

observing maple seeds

In our area, maple seeds blanket the area in the fall. Since these seeds are everywhere we look, I had my daughter grab a handful so that we could observe them. What were these things? Why do you think they have the long “tail”? What happens when we throw one up in the air?

observing maple seeds

Then we removed the covering to find the seed.  What color is the seed? What do you think will grow from this seed? What does a seed need in order to grow? These were some of the questions that were asked as we observed maple seeds right in our own backyard.

Nature observation: a slug

When we were cleaning up our backyard, I lifted a flower pot and found a slug. I called my 3-year old over to see. What is this? Which end is the head? What are those two pointy-things at the top? (optic tentacles) What do you think they are used for?

nature journal

My daughters have their own paper bag nature journal. The inside pages have a place where they can draw what they have observed on their walk. They can also glue nature items, or collect items and place them in the bag. We have several nature flashcards that were purchased last year at the Target dollar spot. When we’ve found one of the items on the flashcard (i.e. an ant) we place that card in the bag or on the page as a reference sheet. There are so many ways to use paper bag books and they are the perfect size for preschoolers.

You can download the Nature Journal Paper Bag Book Pages Here

Watch the video demonstrating how to make paper bag books.


climbing trees

Sometimes though, I need to step away and just let my children enjoy nature on their own without the purposeful direction and questions. When I do this, I find they usually come up with questions on their own that we talk about and take time to study later.

Preschool Nature Study Tools

I have a bunch of  Preschool Science Activities on my blog. Be sure to check them out!

We also like to use these free printable I Spy cards to bring along on our nature walk.

Nature Study Bundle

Nature Study Printables geared toward toddlers and preschoolers!


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  1. says

    Small children can learn so much about nature from their own backyards. I think lots of mothers think they have to go somewhere to do nature study, and because they’re so tired, they never end up doing it. It’s much easier to just step out your own door and explore the area around you. My kids have gone on a flower walk in our neighborhood, identifying flowers, and another day we identified trees. They really can learn a lot without having to go very far.

  2. says

    You know, I always go to pinterest searching for science ideas and printables and I usually end up here =) Thanks for all your work! (I love the site’s new look btw.)

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