Nature Scavenger Hunt
Can you find something beautiful, something rough something smooth, 3 different types of leaves, something that makes a noise, an animal track, something old, something scary, a good place to hide and something that is green and red?
Using a piece paper and a pencil, divide the sheet of paper into squares and write the name of one item in each square like a bingo card. The child or children actively look for the items on their bingo cards, the first child to find all the items and shout bingo is the winner.
Spying On The Tree Tops
A small plastic mirror is needed for this activity. Hold the child’s arm whilst they are walking with the mirror so they do not trip or fall as they will be looking up over towards the sky. Place the mirror facing upwards under their nose to give them a view of the trees or sky and clouds. This gives the child the feeling they are walking in the sky or spying in the treetops.
You will need mud (can use clay or play dough or add some water to the soil to make mud) and natural materials like leaves, petals, feathers, small twigs, moss, grass and flowers to decorate your sprite's face. Squish the mud with your hands into a round face shape and use the natural materials you have found to make a nose, mouth, eyes, ears and hair. You can make him as scary or friendly as you like. Try squashing him against a tree truck or on a large flat stone or create a giant face peering up from the woodland floor. When you have finished leave them hidden in the park for other people to discover.
Elf and Fairy Houses
There are lots of stories about elves and fairies that live in parks and woodlands. They often need small houses to live in and like them to be near a dark hole or the base of a tree or between roots or a dip in the ground. The little people of the forest like to have a roof of twigs and leaves and a door and a lookout to spot danger. Inside the little people need a bed, table and chairs.
Use all the natural materials you can find like grass, moss, leaves, twigs and stones to create a house for your fairy or elf.
You will need a small old plastic container (a yogurt pot) and a bottle with containing water and a stick for mixing the potion. Pour some water into each pot and ask the child to look for different kinds of natural materials, grass, flowers, leaves, moss and bark. What kind of magic potion or perfume have they made?
Ask the child to search for different coloured leaves, plants, flowers, grasses and moss to create a rainbow.
Gather as many natural objects as possible from the woods. Use sticks to make a carpet border and then create repeating patterns inside of the border to make your very own magic carpet. Where will you travel to on your adventures?
Nature Sculptures and Pictures
Use natural items such as rocks and leaves to create sculptures. You could create shapes, people, animals, characters from your favourite stories, such as The Gruffalo and many more.
You will need some paper and crayons for this activity. Look for items with different textures like stones and tree bark. Place the paper over the items and rub gently with the crayon until the texture appears.
You will need string or wool and scissors for these activities. See the images below to see how your creatios might look.
Natural OrchestraFind natural materials that can be used to make the sounds of musical instruments. Sticks hitting stones as drums, blades of grass as whistles. Different textures make different sounds and noises when rubbed with sticks and stones. Some string or wool might be useful to tie items up high to hit them.
You can build an outdoor den using logs, fallen tree branches, long grass and leaf litter. Look for a tree or natural feature that lends itself to building a den. Make sure that heavy branches or logs are secure and safe before adding others on top. If there isn’t very much foliage to cover your den you can tie string like a washing line and peg or cover the den with an old sheet or large towel to give it an enclosed feeling.
Fun with Flowers
You will need some paper and a glue stick. Choose some colourful flowers and leaves and simply glue them onto your paper to create a fabulous flower picture.
These are playful and imaginative challenges that can be played in woodlands or parks. Some themes for the game maybe recovery of a lost object (sword). Discovery of some treasure. Rescue or capture of a person. Search for a wise and enchanted being (unicorn or dragon) Overthrow a tyrant (giant).
A simple way to start story making is to ask each child to find a natural object and imagine what magical properties or superhero powers it gives. You could ask each child to give themselves names based on the natural features around them. For example Root Finger, Wind Charmer or Eagle Eyes. They could use these characters to create a story either huddled in their den or by walking around outdoors.
Social Distancing Outdoor Games
Hide and seek in family groups with one family looking for the families hiding. There are some great places to hide in Heaton Park.
What’s The Time Mr Wolf?
Space all the children out in a long line with 2 metres between them and place a marker 2 metres in front of the wolf. Explaining to the children they must only go as far as the marker in front of the wolf. The child that reaches the marker first is the winner and becomes the wolf in the next round of the game.
Arrows (in family groups)
Family group one set off either leaving chalk arrows or arrows made of twigs to point the direction they are running in. Family group two counts slowly to a hundred or more before setting off. The object of the game is for family group two to catch family group one following the trail of arrows.
Spread children out 2 metres apart and get them to lie face down, checking they are still 2 metres apart from other children. They have to lie perfectly still and stay quiet. Once they move or make a noise the child is out. The last child remaining is the winner.