It doesn’t take much to encourage our children’s curiosity in nature and wildlife.
It’s a subject that most children seem to engage in quite naturally. There are ways to enhance those curiosities and adding some mostly inexpensive tools to a backpack, will help them to get closer to nature and make exciting wildlife discoveries.
Why make a Wildlife Explorer Kit?
Kids will love having their own wildlife explorer kit to play with and there are a heap of benefits to be gained from giving them one:
- Encourages scientific discovery
- Builds observations skills
- Teaches them to become familiar with different tools
- Connects them with their natural world
What to add to your Wildlife Explorer Kit
A small bucket is most certainly essential and can be used in several ways. It can help a child catch an animal more safely than using their hands and it holds the animal for a period of time, allowing for a better opportunity to observe it before releasing it back into the wild. It’s perfect for catching lizards, frogs, fish and insects!
We will catch a lot of bugs in our buckets but although we can catch and observe them, it can be hard to see the features on such small animal’s bodies.
Using a magnifying glass is a perfect way to highlight those smaller features like spines, antenna and even hooked toes. It gets you up really close!
Many people may not think about adding a torch to a child’s backpack but you’d miss a whole lot of wildlife spying opportunities if you only stuck to searching in daylight! A torch is the must have to go spotlighting.
Many animals love the rain E.g. frogs, snails and turtles. Luckily, children love going out in the rain too, so it’s more about channelling that into a wildlife learning activity.
I’d include a raincoat in their backpack to keep them nice and dry while looking for soggy animals. Check out how many wonderful ways to enjoy the rain!
I don’t know about you but my children love cameras. They love taking photos of everything!
Letting your child have their own camera is the perfect way for them to document their wildlife finds. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for you, as parents, to see what animals pique your child’s interest.
Here’s a few tips to think about before giving your child a camera, including keeping them safe while they take photos of wildlife.
Many animals can be seen, but a lot can only be seen in the distance.
Having binoculars handy in the backpack is not only a great way for your child to enjoy their animal discovery but also allows them to spy more wildlife that they wouldn’t have seen with their naked eye!
Sometimes animals are harder to catch than we’d like. A butterfly/ fishing net is great for catching animals that swim, hop or fly (grasshoppers, moths, fish, crabs, tadpoles, crayfish and more).
A nature journal helps children, connect, understand and classify animals. It also makes a nice visual diary to look back on and discuss.
On a recent wildlife holiday, we made a nature journal. Although only four and a half, Miss Possum wrote and drew a picture in it every day. You can make a nature journal as creative as you like: glue in beautiful leaves, feathers and shed skins, draw and write about nature you’ve seen, stick in the printed photos that you took with your camera etc.
Nature Sensory Wheels.
Add this scavenger hunt to your wildlife explorer kit and invite your child to use their powerful five senses in nature. Get it here.
A small white sheet.
A great way to catch bugs is by laying a sheet and shaking a tree. Honestly, having a white sheet in the backpack will come in handy for any child that just loves finding bugs. Don’t forget to use the bucket to scoop up the animals you found on the sheet!
The Ultimate Fort Kit
I found this on Etsy and thought it would make a great addition to your wildlife explorer kit. Who doesn’t have fond memories of taking their mothers sheets and blankets and stringing them outside on trees?
Every adventurer needs a fort!
With these little, inexpensive items, your child will be well equipped become a brilliant wildlife explorer.
Check out our shop so see what other wonderful things you can add to your wildlife explorer kit!
You keep pushing out brilliant post Penny!
Thanks so much Miss Kelly! I was struggling this week and so had to pull one out that I’d used for a guest post (used with permission of course). I changed it a bit and added some more ideas and viola, a post for my too busy week. The house is almost done, so it’ll be time to explore the nature reserve soon!
Love your nature journal! Fabulous. Shared on Sulia and the rest 🙂
Thanks Debs, so looking forward to visiting your blog tonight. It’s been so busy around here that I feel like I’ve lost touch with teaching my kidlets. Can’t wait till I have more time to spend with them , especially using some of those awesome math posts!
Kate - An Everyday Story says
We take oil pastels and watercolours too 🙂 Jack carries his camera with him most places. They really do take great pictures, don’t they? Jack likes drawing in his nature journal but isn’t ready for writing yet. I’m really really looking forward to when he is 🙂
That would be lovely. That’s something I want to explore more with Miss Poss – ART. She did such an amazing job with her sketch of the elephant, I want to try and foster that talent!
Renee @ adventuresathomewithmum says
Love it. Dimples has a little bug catcher he loves at the moment, a magnifying glass is a must 🙂 so glad you included that, the journal is a great idea
A bug catcher is great but I thought a bucket was a little more versatile so added that instead. Of course, we have both
What a great kit this would all make! A really good birthday present actually, mmm – pinning to remember!
Thanks Kelly. I love the idea of giving all this as gift!
Mama Carmody says
Great suggestions. I guess I need to start gathering some of these supplies for my great niece and nephews to use when they come to visit.
I’m sure they’s loovvvve that. They’d be begging to go to their Aunt’s house!
kirri @ kirri white coaching says
Whenever I read your posts, I often think about what lucky kids you have! You’re such a fun mum and a brilliant teacher for them x
Naw thanks honey. You’re a pretty awesome mum yourself. You’re inspiring the way you bring up your three girls. I’m a better mum for reading your blog! Happy Mother’s day lovely!
Kristen B says
I just discovered your blog and am so glad I did. I am a huge nature lover and my sons and I go out in our woods all the time to explore. We actually just did a bug hunt yesterday! Pinning your post and going to collect everything for his backpack soon. Thanks for the great tips.
I would love it if you would come link up on Artsy Play Wednesday kids’ craft linky.
It’s so lovely to hear that you and your boys love nature, even more exciting that they love bugs. Kelly (from a previous comment) suggested collecting them all would make a great gift for someone, and I totally agree.
I’ll try to remember to link up Kristen. It sounds great and we do a lot of crafty things on this blog. 🙂
The Monko says
we carry most of these but a small white sheet is a brilliant addition. thanks for the tip
We love the sheet too, you can just find and see those camouflaged bugs so much better when using it!
Mud Hut Mama says
I love this list and my girls just received a camera, binoculars and a torch for their birthdays – so we are clearly in agreement. I think our magnifying glass may be their favorite ‘toy.’
Wow, perfect, we are in agreement! I think the magnifying glass is the best. I really want a microscope now though!