There are so many amazing benefits of nature for kids! One of the best gifts we can give our children is to help foster a love of the great outdoors. Being outside provides an open-ended learning workshop that promotes creativity and imagination for their minds. I love taking frequent walks and hikes with my girls so that we can explore our local trails. In order to allow us to take these spontaneous (and often last minute) adventures, we spent time as a family creating nature explorer packs.
Nature Explorer Packs
Creating an explorer pack can be a ton of fun! It doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive – ours are primarily made from items we found around our home. By taking the time to make these packs in advance, you will be much more likely to get outside and explore at the drop of a hat. It makes impromptu hikes and adventures simple because all of your supplies are conveniently packed in one place.
To start, grab a backpack or bag that is comfortable and easy to carry around on a hike. We prefer bags with pockets or include smaller pencil pouches inside the bag for easy organization. I then add in a water bottle, a few snacks and a mini first aid kit. We also keep sunscreen and bug spray in our car, but those make excellent pack additions as well! We have binoculars, a flashlight, a compass, magnifying glass, tweezers and big view bug jars for any awesome things we may come across on our walk. I also pack a few sandwich bags to collect specimens or foliage that we may want to bring home.
We each bring our journals/sketchpads and colored pencils so we can sketch things as well. We don’t always do this while hiking and sometimes keep this activity until we are home. One great way to record things you find on the trail is to take a photo with your phone. This will be used as your reference while sketching later! I also pack a few field guides, but these go into mine or my husband’s packs, as they can get a little heavy for kids.
The Adventure Begins
Once we have everything gathered together, we pack up our bags and place them in a closet near our mudroom. When it comes time to head outdoors, I grab the packs, add water to the water bottles, and off we go!
We have had so many wonderful adventures out in nature over the past few years. Things we discover while hiking lead to endless questions and research once we arrive back home. It allows me to take something my girls are interested in and run with it – often creating entire unit studies for them! We started keeping nature journals about a year ago, which are an awesome way to watch your child’s drawing and illustration skills mature. It also makes for beautiful keepsake art.
Being able to “pick up and go” due to our nature packs was a total game changer! Getting our family outdoors more has been one of the best things we have done.
Save it for later!