Whether you have a hidden talent like Picasso (or not), decorating the collection of collected rocks is fun for everyone! We start the activity with a rock hunt. We look for a rock that is no larger than the palm of a hand and ideally with a fairly flat surface. Make sure it is not the home of an insect or other forest or waterfront inhabitant. Then you can clean it if necessary to make sure there is no dust or mud left. Now you are ready to paint! Basic acrylic paint is perfect for this activity as it dries quickly. Abstract patterns, rainbows, butterflies, fairies or small insects, these colorful rocks can then be taken home to decorate the garden or the entrance! This activity can also be extended over two days: one day for rock hunting and one day for painting!
If you are camping with one or more other families and have enough kids to make small teams, the nature bingo activity is ideal! Before you leave (or at the campsite, as long as you have paper and pencils), create 2 or 3 bingo style cards with different nature items in each of the boxes (a branch of wood, flat rocks, a casserole dish, a snail, etc.) Once the game begins, teams check off the items found in the forest on their card and try to complete a whole row! Once a team has won, you can continue playing and try to make a more complex shape on the map, such as an "X".
Using the same bingo card or creating a list, wander around camp looking for treasures! If you need a little inspiration, a quick Google search should bring up several ready-made nature scavenger hunt lists that you can print out before you go. Otherwise, creating your own list right at the campsite is pretty simple. All you need is a pencil and paper (or s'mores box). If you are familiar with the area you are camping in, you can even create the list according to the different places present (waterfall, funny tree, etc.)
For the older kids, you can head out into nature and discover the wildlife surrounding your camp. This is a great way to share your passion and knowledge of nature with your little ones and become familiar with the species right in your backyard. There are a variety of apps on phones that you can use to identify the species that will be on your walk OR you can pull out a good old nature book!
The last one on our list is the simplest of all: playing outside! It doesn't matter if you're near a lake or a river, a park or a forest; bring out your childlike heart and enjoy the playground that nature has to offer with your children.
These precious moments of playing outside will create the roots of their interest (and eventual love) for the outdoors. If they are old enough, you can involve them in setting up camp. If there is no designated camping platform, you can ask them what would be a good place to put the tent for example. You could also ask them to help with dinner preparation by chopping vegetables or setting the table!