Gear that will spark your child’s love of nature

Sometimes kids are leery of being outside. I think the kids I’ve met who hate being outside just don’t get out much. I’m guessing that’s mainly on parents. You have to get your kids outside, you have to enjoy it as well, and make it a fun experience or your kids won’t learn to love nature. That said, we discussed this before here, in the post, “What to do when your kids hate being outside“, and some parents noted that they love being outside, but their kids don’t.

You can do something about this though. Some cool nature gear may be just the thing to help your child connect better with nature. Following are some ideas for nature gear you can buy or find around the house…

BinocularsTerra Kids Pocket BoxPocket Magnifying Glass: All these items are made by eco-friendly Haba and will encourage your little one to become more involved with nature.

Let’s Go Rock CollectingSmithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & MineralsKid’s Garden Tool Set – All of the above items will help your little one to collect rocks. My son Cedar is a rock collector and the two books above are Cedar’s favorites. The gardening tools are great because they allow your little to dig through the dirt. He’s more into it so he has a collection box, but unless your little one REALLY gets into rock collecting, you don’t really need a display/collection box. You can use an old ice cube tray or egg carton for young and new rock collectors. You can also use a tackle box or make your own rock collection box with recycled paper as well.

For nature outings, kids need a nice little journal. They can jot down cool stuff they find or draw pictures. The ecoKIDS 100% Recycled Paper Sketchbooks (shown above) are a good journal choice and for drawing tools try Crayon Rocks Soybean Crayons or Forest Choice Pencils in 12 colors.

The Nature Bag is a great summer-time toy and an all around perfect outdoor kit for kids. The kit includes: a Fair Trade 100% certified organic cotton shoulder bag, an all season activity booklet, 2 leaf viewers, 8 color cards, recycled notepad, recycled pencil, soy based crayons, hemp twine, organic cotton blindfold, and a rubberwood magnifying glass. The kit also comes with various outdoor suggested activities like scavenger hunts, bug searches, and clay imprints.

Other cool gear to have on hand:

  • Magnets – if your child hold a magnet to the soil, he can see if iron is hiding in the soil. You can also put some soil onto a piece of paper and hold the magnet under it. If there’s enough iron, the soil will move around like magic.
  • Water spray bottle – water changes everything. Here in Oregon, you’d be hard pressed to find a kid who doesn’t know what nature looks like wet, but when we lived in New Mexico, kids were way impressed when you’d spray water on typical nature items. A spiderweb, rocks, plants, and more change their look and color when lightly sprayed with good old H2O.
  • A small mesh strainer for digging through soil and or streams and ponds.
  • Any other nature books – books on plant identification, bird watching, or trees are all great choices. You can visit your local library to find some good ones.

Can you think of any other great tools that kids could use for fun nature adventures?

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