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One of my favorite things to do with my kids is let them loose in nature to explore. This activity lasts much longer when I supply them with materials to deepen their exploration. I like to keep a kit for this in the trunk of my car so I always have it with me. Here’s what you need to make your own:
- A bag. Keep in mind it’s going to get messy. I like a canvas tote because it’s easy to throw in the wash. Backpacks are great to take on longer hikes.
- A net. Great for catching bugs and fish, and for sifting through dirt.
- A magnifying glass, for getting a closer look at things.
- A bug catcher and informational insect guide.
- Nature reference books, for identifying plants and animals, and answering questions that pop up. You can get general ones, or find ones specific to your area at local nature centers.
- Buckets. We’ve used ours for collecting nature treasures, building sand castles, fishing, and transporting water, just to name a few.
- A nature journal and pencil. My older daughter sometimes likes to make notes on what she finds. Also great for pictures and crayon/pencil rubbings of interesting leaves and bark!
- Binoculars, for spotting birds or other things in the distance.
- Large tweezers. Great for exploring things without touching them, while also building fine motor skills!
- This awesome nature activity book.
- A small first aid kit, because you never know!
The kit pictured also includes a scavenger hunt. I don’t always include them, but it’s a great activity for trips and hikes!
None of these things are necessary, so just get started with what you have! Keep it somewhere easily accessible for impromptu nature exploration!