10 ways to connect with nature through forest play!

10 ways to connect with nature through forest play!

Going on a walk in the forest is not only good for exercise but it can really help with children’s imagination, through role play, creativity and learning about their environment. Here are 10 ideas of how you can incorporate forest play into your daily routine at home with your children or at school / nursery with your pupils:

  1. Organise a forest hunt using the letters of the alphabet.

Take a leisurely walk, encourage your children to be aware of their surroundings and take in everything that they see. The aim is to find something that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Some letters may be trickier than others so make sure there are adults on hand to help where needed!

  1. Create a map of your local forest / woods.

List the creatures that live there, show where they would live and what they would eat. You can encourage your children to draw the creatures in their homes if you like!

  1. Make Hazel a new tail!

Collect some items when you are on your walk to make Hazel a new tail. Talk about the story and ask your child if they remember the one Hazel’s Daddy made her? It was long, bushy, and brightly coloured. What do they think Hazel would like to see on her new tail?

  1. Move like forest animals/creatures.

Take it in turns to choose a forest animal/creature and try to move like them. You could choose any living thing at all, here are some examples to get you started:

  • Squirrel
  • Hedgehog
  • Butterfly
  • Worm
  • Fox
  • Bird
  1. Colour-collecting in the forest
Prepare by choosing between six and ten of your favourite autumn forest colours. Then fill a piece of paper with different shapes using crayons or paint in these colours. When you're out in the forest, bring your paper and try to find things that match your chosen colours. You can make it easy choosing colours you know you will find or challenging with more surprising colours. 
  1. Make a nature bracelet.

This is so simple but lots of fun for all ages! All you need is some duct tape, made into a bracelet with the sticky side facing outwards. Go on a nature walk and encourage your children to find as many things as they can to stick to their bracelet. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Bark
  • Grass
  • Seeds
  1. Make a leaf collage.

Autumn is drawing in and it won’t be long before the pavements are covered in a blanket of beautiful, coloured leaves! Take a walk to find lots of leaves, all assorted colours, and shapes. Show your child how to make a collage with their findings of a forest animal. They may want to make a squirrel or a hedgehog or anything else that they can think of.

  1. Make a Squirrel’s Nest.

This is such a fun activity to do together and will be great for this time of year to keep the squirrels warm.

You can make a nest out of wood, leaves, moss, bark or twigs. Whatever you can find that will make the little creatures feel safe and at home. The best place to make your nest is somewhere hidden away from the elements. Don’t forget to encourage your children to go back and see who has decided to visit!

  1. A sensory basket or tray full of Autumnal items for exploration.

A lovely idea for younger children. You can use anything you can find that is safe for little ones to handle, ideally items of varied sizes, weights, colour, and textures. All great to help with sensory perception. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Pinecones
  • Pebbles
  • Autumn leaves
  • Conkers
  • Plants
  • Forest creature toys
  1. Make your own puppet show. Puppet shows are a fantastic way for young children to express themselves and what better way than act out a forest scene! You can use any soft toys you have at home who may live in the forest, if you’re stuck you can always use the lollipop stick pictures from activity 5 above. Children can re-create Hazel’s story, or they can use their imagination and make up their very own! Don’t be put off if you don’t have a puppet screen, hiding behind the sofa will do just as good!

If the weather isn’t good enough to be venturing outside, then a puzzle or colouring book is the perfect way to fill the time and to connect with nature whilst staying indoors. And what better way to warm up after a long day of autumn forest adventures than by snuggling up on the sofa with your favourite forest adventure picture book.