Environmental and Science Games

Learning About the World Around Us

The natural world offers
many opportunities to learn about the environment through science games
and activities. For many parents the word ‘science’ conjures up memories
of brain numbing chemistry or physics lessons but for young children
science games can simply involve learning about plant or animal cycles
or other fun activities.

With more and more emphasis on caring for our
environment, our kids are never too young to learn about protecting and
nurturing our flora and fauna.

Nature Table
I have
set up a nature table in our living room so that any special items that
my kids find go on display. The table is changed as the seasons change,
thus the children become more aware of the cycle of the seasons and how
the plants and trees change as well. Kids love to pick things up when
you are out for a walk and items like pine cones, autumn leaves and pods
all help them to understand the changing of the seasons.

finding pinecones - make a nature table

Bark Rubbings
great way to help your kids learn about the texture of objects, and
improve their vocabulary at the same time. Using thick pencils or
crayons have your children take rubbings of objects in your backyard or
local park. Your kids may think of other items to ‘rub’- coins, the
soles of shoes… They can then cut out their patterns to make a
textured collage.
Bark Rubbings for hunting. Using crayons take some
bark rubbings without your children knowing. You can rub any textured
object you find in your backyard. Show the rubbings to your children and
see if they can find the objects that were used. They can do some of
their own rubbings and test each other. Challenge them to find other
surfaces to ‘rub’- car tyres, bricks…

Camping Out (At Home!)
is something we used to love doing with our neighbours when we were
kids. It felt really grown up and exciting even though we were still in
our own backyard.
All you need is a tent and some willing kids.
Shouldn’t be too hard to find! The kids can spend the night hearing all
of the animal sounds that they never knew existed.
You can extend
this activity by having a campfire but will need to supervise it. Even
without the fire, some hot chocolates, marshmallows and scary stories
will make it a night to remember.
Depending on the age of the
children they might want you to camp out with them. Once they reach 7-8
years old they probably won’t want the adult supervision.

Our Neighborhood
chalk, draw out the features of your local area. Discuss them with your
kids as you all draw- different features will be of significance to
them. They can then use it to drive their play cars on, or walk their
dolls. As you go on more walks you can find different features to add to
the next version of ‘your neighbourhood’. This is a great way to teach
your kids map reading skills and also to learn where they fit in terms
of scale.
A more permanent version can also be done indoors on a length of white vinyl using coloured permanent markers.

Word Games
A great
way to develop your child’s vocabulary is to play word games when you
are out and about. When you are at the park find an object that is
smooth and ask your child to find something opposite- maybe a piece of
bark. Then find something soft, wet ….. once they have the idea they
will want to play it all the time!

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More Nature Games and Activities with Kids