Easy Nature Activities for Kids


©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Easy nature activities for kids transport children from video games and television to a lively outdoor world where something is always happening. Count the tree rings, explore the living world inside a log, or watch the kids collapse in giggles after they walk like the animals and race each other.

Combine fun and fresh air with the chance to learn more about the world we live in. And with activities this simple, even the tiniest junior naturalist can get moving and join in the fun.

Follow the links below to some easy nature activities for kids that you can do:

Count the Tree Rings

Find out a tree's age by counting its rings.

Living World Inside a Log

Discover the hidden world of tiny plants and creatures inside a hollow log.

Walk Like the Animals

Turn different animal walks into fun races.

Grass Whistle

Make a whistle from a green blade of grass.

Collect Water Vapor from Plants

Try this experiment to prove that plants perspire.

Go to the next page to find out how you can tell a tree's age by counting its rings.

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Count the Tree Rings

Count a tree's rings.
Count a tree's rings.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Count the tree rings as an easy way to figure out a tree's age. Ever wonder how old a really big tree is? Try this method with a tree that has been cut down, and you'll get an idea of how long trees live -- and how they respond to years of good or bad weather.

What You'll Need:

  • Cross-section of wood showing tree rings
  • Sandpaper

Step 1: Find a tree that has been cut down.

Step 2: Use sandpaper to sand the surface of the stump until it is very smooth. You'll be able to see the rings.

Step 3: Start at the center of the stump, and count the rings.

Each set of light and dark lines counts as one ring. Each ring stands for one year in the tree's life. How old was the tree?

Notice that some of the rings are wider than others. Wide rings show years when the tree grew a lot. Narrow rings show years when the tree grew less. Can you think of reasons why the tree might have grown more in some years than in others?

Keep reading to find out how you can explore the hidden living world inside a hollow log.

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Living World Inside a Log

There's a living world inside a log that's just waiting for your kids to explore. During this easy nature activity for kids, they'll discover the plants and animals -- some tiny and some not so small -- that call the hollow log home.

What You'll Need:

  • Magnifying glass
  • Flashlight

Step 1: Take a walk in the woods and find an old, rotten log.

Step 2: Use a magnifying glass to explore everything that's happening in this rotten -- but lovely -- little world.

You may see mountains of moss, mushroom forests, and many weird little creatures. You might see ants marching along with food. Or you might see insect eggs or larvae.

Can you hear any insect sounds? If you see loose bark, shine a flashlight into the crack between the bark and the log. Is anybody looking back? If the log is hollow, stand back a few feet and shine the light inside, too. Be careful, though. A hollow log might be home to a sleepy raccoon, opossum, or other animal.

Go ahead and turn the log over -- as long as you turn it back when you're finished. And don't take anything. You can come back again at another time of the year to see if anything has changed.

On the next page you'll find out how kids can have fun when they walk like the animals.

For more fun and easy activities and kids' crafts, check out:

Walk Like the Animals

Kids can walk like the animals for a fun race with friends at a park or the beach. They'll need to think about how different animals walk. That's because everybody runs like a certain animal in each race of this easy nature activity for kids.

What You'll Need:

  • Group of kids
  • Knowledge of how different animals walk

Step 1: Decide on a starting and finishing line.

Step 2: Try the animal races listed here.

  • Crab race: Racers are on all fours (hands and feet) and must move sideways.
  • Chimp race: Racers hold their ankles with their hands or drag their knuckles on the ground.
  • Frog race: Racers squat in frog position and hop.
  • Your choice: Think of another animal to imitate in a race.

Make a fast and easy grass whistle in the activity on the next page.

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Grass Whistle

A grass whistle is quick for kids to make and fun to blow when you're out on a hike. It's among the easiest nature crafts for kids.

What You'll Need:

  • One blade of green grass
  • Two thumbs

Step 1: Put your thumbs together, and hold the blade of grass between them.

Step 2: Blow into the crack between your thumbs, so the air flows over the grass. You should hear a whistling sound.

Step 3: If you don't hear anything, move the blade of grass a little, and try again. You'll soon get the hang of it.

Palm trees might not get sweaty, but other plants do -- keep reading to find out more.

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Collect Water Vapor from Plants

Collect water vapor from plants to prove that they perspire. This means that plants' leaves give off water vapor. You can't see a plant perspiring, but this experiment shows you how it happens.

What You'll Need:

  • Potted plant
  • Plastic bag
  • Tape

Step 1: Tape a plastic bag tightly around one stem of a plant.

Step 2: Observe the bag each day for a week. Be sure to water the plant.

What happens? What do you think is the source of the moisture you see in the bag? It comes from the leaves through tiny pores on the undersides of the leaves.

For more fun and easy activities and kids crafts, check out: