It can be tricky to peel your kids away from their screens and enjoy some good old-fashioned outdoor activities. However, if you provide them with the freedom to explore and get creative, you’ll be amazed at what it does for their energy levels and focus! Playing in nature is so important for your kids’ physical and mental health, and spending time outdoors each day has a profound effect on their school performance. Plus, over the summer holidays, parents always need some fun activities to keep the kids occupied and engaged.  

These Activities Get Kids Away from the TV and into Nature!

Minecraft is great and all, but kids learn a lot more from actual nature rather than the pixelated kind! Here are four nature activities that will get them out in the sunshine. 

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Help Them Start Their Own Container Garden 

Gardening is such an amazing nature lesson for kids, and you’ll be surprised by how excited they get! Every new leaf and flower is a victory worth celebrating, and they take so much pride in knowing their plants are thriving thanks to their efforts. 

Bring your kids to Millcreek Gardens and let them pick out a few plants, or ask about grabbing a lily bulb they can plant! Choose plants with similar sunlight and watering needs so they’ll be happy in the same pot. To make things easy and fun, give them a list of things to buy (like a scavenger hunt) such as:

  • One or two flowers to attract bees and butterflies
  • One red, tubular flower to attract hummingbirds
  • One vegetable
  • One smelly herb to attract ladybugs
  • One edible plant they didn’t know they could eat (we can help with that!)

Spend an afternoon helping the kids pot their plants in their containers, and fill out a calendar with them so they can keep up with their garden duties. This is a great time to help them learn, too. When they find out that tuberous begonias taste like sour patch candy or that they can munch on chocolate mint leaves you’ll have them hooked! Don’t worry—it’s much easier to convince kids to help with garden chores than regular household chores if you find some exciting new things to show them. Watering with the hose and getting their hands dirty in the mud always makes for a fun afternoon activity.

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Decoupage Leaf Candleholders 

Head out into nature with your kids and ask them to collect the prettiest leaves they can find. Then, put them between two sheets of newspaper and let them dry out for two weeks. Once they’re all dry, grab some clean mason jars, paintbrushes, and a container of satin or gloss Mod Podge. Get your kids to paint sections of their jar with the Mod Podge, press a leaf onto the adhesive, and then paint another layer to seal it. Once it’s all covered, let them dry, and then add a tea light to each jar. The light will glow through the leaf, highlighting all those pretty veins and crinkles.

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    Decorate a Birdhouse with Colors from Nature

    Painting birdhouses is such a fun way to get your kids interested in nature and they love the chance to see birds using something they’ve made. Make sure you buy a wooden birdhouse with open panels or ventilation holes so birds don’t overheat in the summer. Instead of super bright rainbow colors—which can attract predatory birds—opt for natural colors, like green, brown, and cream. Stick to lighter shades—dark colors heat up in the sun.

      Millcreek Gardens-Salt Lake City-Utah-Engaging Your Kids with Nature in Utah-studying nature

      Create a Sketchbook for Nature Art

      There are so many gorgeous plants and creatures to discover in nature out here in Salt Lake City. Go to an art gallery, and you’ll be surrounded by pictures of flowers, fruit, birds, and other wonders of the natural world! Pick up some pastels, watercolors, or a new artistic medium your kids haven’t used before. Collect flowers and leaves or take photos of the wildlife you see, then get them to recreate them in their nature art sketchbook. 

      If you’re looking for more activities to get your kids involved with nature in Utah, bring them to the garden center and explore! It’s a surefire way to get the creative juices flowing and find inspiration. Plus, it’s a chance to discover new plants and learn all about them. It’s basically a biology lesson disguised as a shopping trip!