If you follow the reviews on the blog you’ll know I’m a big fan of getting the family outdoors whenever possible! There are lots of nature crafts and activities that you can do with the kids that either add to your woodland walks, or that you can do at home afterwards. As with all of my crafts and activities, these are cheap and easy to do with the kids.
Make a butterfly feeder
Boil nine parts water to one part sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Once cool, put in a clean, lidded jar. Make a small hole in the lid of the jar. Cut a piece of sponge and squeeze it through the hole, leaving about half in and half out. The sponge must be a tight fit otherwise it just drips (As I learned the hard way!) Check the fit before you start decorating by turning the jar upside down.
Decorate your jar any way you want. We made giant petals and stuck them around the top to look like an actual flower. You could also paint the jar or add stickers. Use some decent string to hang it upside down. We simply tied it around the top of the jar and then held it in place with tape. Hang your feeder somewhere the bees and butterflies will see it.
Make a bug hotel
There are some very elaborate, and beautiful, DIY bug hotels that you can make yourself. Those are great if you have the time, skills and tools to make them, but not everyone does. You can easily make this into a cheap nature craft activity for the kids though. To make a very simple bug hotel yourself you’ll only need a few items which you probably already have. Get a paper cup (ideally a biodegradable one) and fill it with twigs, short bamboo sticks, leaves and moss. Make sure that you fill it quite full, but that there’s space for the bugs to crawl in. The bamboo is particularly good for bees and ladybirds. Then decorate the outside of the cup and hang in a tree. This is a really handy outdoor kids activity to do at home; almost zero cost, easy enough for young children to do themselves and leads to lots of follow up activities identifying the new residents.
Make a nature pool
This a great nature based activity to do with younger kids as it is cheap, quick and simple to set up. It’s basically a splash park for wild animals! All you need is an old shallow dish of some kind. It could be a Pyrex dish or even a plate as long as it’s got a bit of depth to it. Add in some pebbles to provide shade and something to use as a ramp and you’re good to go. Because it’s so shallow it will fill up quickly with rain water (good old England!)
(Or, if you have more space) Make a nature pond
Apparently building your own wildlife pond is one of the best things you can do for local wildlife! You will need a few things, but hopefully you’ll have them lying around the house. Use an old washing up bowl or waterproof tub. Dig a hole deep enough for it to be flush with the ground. Make sure that you include plenty of stones so that if any animal accidentally fell into the pond they would be able to escape. Ideally fill with rainwater rather than tap water and include some pond plants.
Make a wild trail
You’ll need two teams for this. It might actually be a nice activity that you can do whilst socially distancing with friends or family! One team sets a trail with clues, marks and tracks like this. Then the other one follows it. Depending on the age of the children involved you can make it as hard to spot and as long as you like.
Make some wild art
When you’re out and about start collecting your art materials. These could be fallen leaves, twigs, moss, anything really (just don’t pick anything except for daisies and buttercups!). Once you have a decent collection you can make wild art out of it. Anything goes – let their creativity go crazy.
Make a dried flower frame
These nature frames are a really easy craft and look beautiful! They have to be one of my favourite nature crafts to do with the kids. Once you’ve finished you’ll have something lovely to look at too! For the full instructions on how to make this, click here.
Make a journey stick
This is such a wonderful idea. We did it on holiday once and it was so nice to be able to look back on it. All you need to take with you is some string. When you’re out on a walk find a stick or even a twig and start collecting the things that you spot. Simply wind the string around each item to hold it in place. When the stick is full just secure the string and tie it off.
Make a solar still
There are two versions of this experiment, one is easier than the other. It was pretty cool and it’s useful to know that should we run out of water, I can just stick a fuchsia in a bag, leave it in the sun for the day and get a teaspoon of water to keep me going. Don’t drink unless the water has been purified though.
The simple version – All you need for this is a potted plant and a ziplock bag. To make the still simply put a green plant in a clear plastic bag and seal. Leave it out in the sunlight and condensation will collect on the plastic. You’ll need a BIG bag and ideally a plant with big leaves for maximum effect. The sunnier and hotter it is, the more water you’ll get.
The harder version – Dig a hole and place a container in the bottom. You can add green plants around the container if you want maximise the effect. Place a plastic sheet over the top of the hole (a carrier bag will work), place rocks or earth around the edge to stop the plastic from slipping. Put a small rock in the middle of the sheet, directly over the container and leave overnight. By the next day there should be water in the container.
Other posts you might find useful
I hope you’ve found these nature crafts and activities useful. There’s some other pages that you might find helpful too. Looking for other things to do outdoors? Check out 21 outdoors activities to do with the kids at home. We’re also taking part in 30 days wild. Track our progress by clicking here.
This year the National Trust launched their Noticing Nature project. It’s off the back of some truly terrifying stats about how unconnected people are with the nature that is all around us. You might also like the 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 list.
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with out three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook