This June, we will be taking part in 30 Days Wild, the challenge to get out into nature from the Wildlife Trusts. Here at Baobao Tea and Soy, we're not ones to shy away from a challenge and as a challenge, it is one that is perfect for toddlers to take part in.
Here are 50 wild things you can do with toddlers this June:
- Search for mini wildnessSince thinking about 30 Days Wild, I have been noticing all the little bits on mini wildness on my road. From cuckoo spit on front garden plants, to dandelions popping out from under walls, mini wildness is easy to find.
- Create a butterfly buffetPut some cut fruit and flowers on to a plate and hang it from a tree, for the perfect pick me up for a tired butterfly.
- Read stories inspired by nature
There are many beautiful books inspired by nature. Some of our favourites include 'The Hungry Caterpillar' 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' and 'My First Root Children'
- Bake for the wild
We love baking here at Baobao Tea and Soy. Why not try some nature inspired cakes, such as a hedgehog cake?
- Prepare a bird feast
Although food is bountiful at the moment, it won't be long before food is scarce for birds. Prepare a feast of seeds and mealworms and see who comes to visit.
- Make a wild place in your garden
Bees, butterflies and other minibeasts love wild flowers. Sew some seeds and watch your garden grow. I wonder who will come to visit.
- Get crafty in the sunshine
Have any crafts to do? Why not do them on a blanket in the garden or on a bench in the park?
Rainy Day Activities:
- Make an undersea collageIf you can't get out for the day, why not make a nature picture. Collages work on fine motor skills, allow children to work on expressing their learning through art, when they're not quite confident enough to draw, and also allow them to work on their awareness of shape and space. An undersea collage is perfect for after a trip to a beach, or after learning about the seaside in a book.
- Draw a minibeast
Stuck indoors, but still want to connect with nature today? Why not look up a minibeast online or in a book and have a go at drawing your own?
- Paint a symmetrical butterfly picture
Another rainy day activity. Draw a wing on one side of some folded paper and press the sides together. Voila - symmetrical butterfly.
- Sing in the rain
What a glorious feeling?
- Jump in puddles
How deep is the puddle? How far can the splash go? How dirty can your wellies get? Aren't puddles fun
Treasure Hunt Activities:
- Hunt for wild treasures
While out for a wander, see what wild treasures your child can find. Sticks, stones, flowers and leaves are all beautiful treasures that can be used for a myriad activities.
- Make art with leaves, stones etc
Ever since my first year of teaching, I have loved using the art of Andy Goldsworthy to inspire learning in children. It makes for a great sensory experience. We've used it in school playgrounds, parks and local woods, making it perfect for an urban environment.
- Make nature brushes
Have a toddler who loves painting? Why not allow her to paint with leaves, sticks and feathers?
- Thread/weave with natural materials
Making jewellery and pictures with natural materials is a fun, free way to build on children's creativity
- Press some flowers and leaves to make a picture
What can you do with all of those treasures your toddler has been collecting? Why not press the flowers and leaves and then use them to make a collage or outline painting?
- Make sunprint paper pictures
Another way to use those treasures is a sun paper picture
- Make a clay leaf press plaque
Or press some leaves into clay to make a plaque or a bowl
- Showcase a nature table
Baobao sees the things that she collects on our walks as treasures, so we display them in the same way we display our own treasures. In our case its on a nature table
- Make a natural rainbow
Start by finding lots of natural red treasures and stick them down on card. Work your way through all of the colours until you have a beautiful, natural rainbow picture.
- Play with a stick
Sticks are one of the ultimate "pretend play toys". Whenever I found a stick as a child, it would always be a horse. What will your stick be?
- Accessorise with flowers
Younger children can put flowers in their hair, pockets and behind their ears. Older children can make daisy crowns.
- Inhale a wild scent
Smell sweet flowers, fresh leaves and grass, interesting herbs and even sticks and earth. Connecting with nature is a sensory adventure and our sense of smell is the one that can evoke the strongest memories
- Make a wild mobile
Another beautiful way to display your treasures is by hanging them from a stick with string to make a mobile.
- Make an outdoors den
Collect large branches and tie together with string and you can make a secret den. Add a blanket or a towel for extra cover.
At a Park:
- Have a picnic outside
Eating outside is an easy way to connect with nature. Just bring a packed lunch and a blanket and enjoy the sun. It's even easy to do at any local park in the city.
- Roll around in the grass
Rolling in the grass allows for a great sensory experience, as well as working on gross motor skills. Our local park has hills to roll down, but rolling on a flat area works too.
- Dance outside
Young children love dancing. They will dance everywhere. Why not dance barefoot on the grass, for a fun way to connect with nature.
- Watch the clouds float by
If you have some time, relax and watch the clouds float by. I wonder what shapes you will find.
- Wiggle toes in mud/grass/sand/water
Wiggling your toes in mud, grass, sand or water is an amazing sensory experience, that can be difficult to replicate. Just bring a towel and some spare clothes to the park.
- Exercise in the wild
Baobao and I enjoy doing yoga together and she enjoys doing other exercises with her Baba. For an extra connection with nature, why not do these exercises at the park.
- Buy a wildlife book
Wonder what that minibeast/bird/mammal you just saw is. Why not look it up in a wildlife book?
- Go on a bug hunt
The one type of wildlife you will find no matter where you are in the world are minibeasts. Children love finding them and looking at them under a magnifying glass. Describing them is brilliant for communication and counting legs, spots, stripes and numbers is obviously brilliant for maths.
- Follow a bee
I wonder where that bee might be headed and how many different types of flowers he lands on?
- Go on a snail hunt
How many snails can you find on a damp morning? Can you draw them? Do a tally? The possibilities are endless
- Fly like a barn owl
We love pretend play here in the Baobao Tea and Soy household. It's brilliant for building empathy. We'll never be able to know what it's like flying outside of an aircraft, but we can pretend to be a bird.
- Spot a wild mammal
Head to your local park or forest to spot wild mammals, such as squirrels, mice or deer.
- Move like a lizard
Some more pretend play. Can you imitate the jerky movements of a lizard?
- Spot some wild birds
Our local ark has ducks and geese, but look up and you can see other wild birds, such as gulls, pigeons and blackbirds.
- Go pond dipping
What wildlife can you find in a pond? Great for classification and habitat work.
- Look for baby animals
At this time of year there are lots of baby animals. Don't get too close.
- Slither like a snake
Even more pretend play. Try slithering along the ground like a snake.
- Find some fungi
Even urban trees have fungi and they can be found in local parks/forests. What can you find?
- Cuddle a favourite tree
Do you have a favourite tree? Why not go and give it a hug?
- Explore the urban jungle
Plants will grow anywhere - Can you spot lichens on walls, mini-forests of mosses and flowers in cracks?
- Go for a walk in the woods
We're lucky that London is a pretty green city. North London has the amazing Epping Forest, which can be accessed from anywhere in London and the surrounding area.
- Visit the beach
Who doesn't enjoy a trip to the beach? London luckily has several beaches within a 2-3 hour train journey, making them easy to get to even without a car. You can go for a dip in the sea, a play on the beach or hunt for some sea creatures.
- Explore some rock pools
A couple of the beaches near London, such as Rottingdean near Brighton and Broadstairs near Margate, have rock pools where you can spot sea creatures.
- Sleep outside
Why not take your toddler camping? They can sleep outside, eat outside, go to sleep at sunset and rise at the crack of dawn - connecting with the natural rhythm of the day.