7 nature play ideas for spring

Library Home  >  Arts, Crafts and Activity Ideas
  Published on Tuesday, 12 September 2017

7 nature play ideas for spring

Library Home  >  Arts, Crafts and Activity Ideas
  Published on Tuesday, 12 September 2017

While store bought craft supplies are lovely, they can be expensive and children often derive the same amount of pleasure from simple supplies sourced from nature. With the start of Spring and the warmer weather many of you will be spending more time outdoors, so we thought some new ideas on how to make the most of the natural resources available to us outside would be fun.

The advantage of using resources sourced in nature (apart from the cost!) is that foraging for them is part of the experience and provides an opportunity to teach children about sustainability and respect for our natural environment.


Take crayons, pencils and paper outside and set up a rubbing table with a variety of different items sourced from the garden. Leaves, bark, twigs, flowers, feathers and seeds work well under paper.


Create a batch of crazy cupcakes using cupcake cases, playdough/clay and anything you can source from nature. Twigs, feathers, seeds, flowers, bug cases, pebbles, crispy leaves can be pressed into the playdough to provide the toppings and candles. These creations can even be 'baked' in the sunshine.

Farmyard or zoo

Take a basket of plastic animals outside and create a farmyard or zoo, using the natural features of the land to create enclosures, watering holes and so on. This works equally well with dinosaurs.

Treasure hunt collage

Provide children with a basket and have them roam around the yard searching for 'treasures'. Providing an illustrated list which offers suggestions of items to hunt for will help them direct their search. For example 2 x red things 1 x white feather, 1 x green leaf, 1 x brown twig. Using large sheets of paper and craft glue create a collage with all the found items.

Making small things big

Magnifying glasses and microscopes offer a whole new view of the world and are an exciting way to explore the natural world around us in closer detail. If you are using magnifying glasses suggest the children place their specimens on a sheet of white paper to improve visibility.

Pet rocks

This is an oldie but a goodie; you'll need some store bought bling and/or paint to decorate the rocks. Once the eyes are painted on the children will have fun decorating their new pets'!

Natural mandalas

Mandalas are intricate circle shaped patterns, which represent the universe in Hindu and Buddhist faith. Create your own mandalas using flowers, leaves, pebbles, twigs, seeds, feathers, sand and anything else you can get your hands on. If the children need help creating the circle shape you could create a simple stencil using cardboard or even a piece of twine twisted into a circle, which can be removed once the mandala is underway.

Thanks to under5s.co.nzfor these wonderful ideas!

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 21 January 2021