Nature walks can be as simple as you like it to be. I love that any walk with kids can be turned into a nature walk just by having an open mind and thinking about the world around you as you walk.
Having said that, there are some things that make nature walks more fun for kids and can help with any nature study that you do.
My tip: What I like to do is to have a dedicated ‘nature walk bag’ sat by the front door of our house with all the items I wanted to take inside. It was a rucksack that I only took on these walks. It made it so much easier than having to gather things up prior to leaving the house!
For those of you with a large family or with kids of different ages then perhaps a small individual backpack with each child’s nature walk goodies inside might work better – that way you could tailor the items inside to each child and their age. Kids often get excited to bring out their own nature bag too!
Another idea is to have some items stashed in the car – this is especially good if you tend to drive to nature reserves or walks nearby. A change of clothes and some wet weather gear is a good idea for in the car for sure.
If you’re struggling for ideas on what to bring on a nature walk then read on!
What to take on your nature walk with kids
Here’s a quick list for you to check over so you don’t forget anything:
- Pocket Microscope
- Magnifying glass
- Pop up Bug House
- Containers for samples
- Nature journal or notepad
- Watercolour pencils
- Field or spotter guides
- Scavenger hunt game or printouts
- First Aid kit
- Hand wipes or sanitiser
- Picnic blanket
- Food & Water
- A change of clothes if you have room
For kids who love bird spotting or just to help see things in the distance, binoculars are a great idea. Rather than use adult ones that tend to be too big I recommend kid friendly designs. Make sure to get some that aren’t toys – they should work, be clear for kids to see through and be able to focus with.
This set of binoculars from EUTOYZ is a very similar design to the ones we used. They are perfect for a smaller face, have a basic focus control wheel and are shock proof too.
You can also get a few different colours so if you’re buying for more than one child they can have their own – we all know how important that can be!
Buy these kids binoculars on Amazon UK here
These are one of my favourite nature toys that we had and it got loads of use on walks and also in the garden.
These are great for seeing details in leaves, on tree bark or for looking at bugs up close too! They are really simple to hold for even young children – honestly, my kids adored our one of these!
This is the one that we had but there are a few on the market now. They are small and sturdy enough to take in a bag too so no worries about breaking it.
Check out the pocket microscope on Amazon UK here
For seeing bigger items up close and great for younger kids who might not be able to use the pocket microscope as well as older kids. Magnifying glasses are nice and easy to keep in a bag at all times too – I recommend some like these kid versions. They are sturdy enough for the youngest kids yet are still clear to look through.
Older kids might like a jewellers loupe – they are small enough to keep on hand in a handbag for when you’re out and about too.
See these magnifying glasses on Amazon UK
Pop up bug house
This was another hit for us – you can get a few different kinds of bug houses but having one that folds flat can make a difference when you’re carrying a lot with you on a nature walk. This one can clip on to a bag or belt too which I like – makes it really accessible.
They are perfect if you want take a look at some bugs you found up close and you can see from all angles really well.
See this bug house on Amazon UK
On another related note you could also take some see through tubs for looking at bugs or for bringing back samples of things you found. Make sure to but air holes in the lid though.
Nature journal or notepad
Anything from just some drawing paper to a dedicated notebook just for nature journaling is good to take on a nature walk.
There are some really good guided books that kids can use to record what they find when out on a nature walk like this one which is good for younger kids. Older kids and teens are probably better with just a plain book that they can make their own.
Be aware that a lot of journals being sold for the purposes of art don’t always have good paper for drawing on – they tend to be regular or even thin paper. If you want your kids to do lots of journalling I definitely recommend a good quality art notebook. We got some high quality ones from WHSmith a while ago now and I definitely appreciated being able to see and feel the paper in person.
Check out this nature journal book on Amazon UK here
To save taking out our entire art cupboard I tend to stick bring just a set of watercolour pencils on our nature walks.
If it’s a leisurely drawing day you can have fun adding water to your art with a water brush or if you don’t want to they can just as easily be used as colouring pencils. Suitable for all ages too.
We used to have a nice tin that would hold all the pencils and the lid could be used to add water to. If you’re going to bring these kinds of pencils don’t forget water and a container to put it in! The water brushes work well too.
See this watercolour pencil set on Amazon UK
Try and get some identification guides for your local area or for what you might want to learn about. Trees, wildflowers and bird books are good ones to start with.
I find that children’s books are more than enough for most trips out as some adult and hobbyist field guides can get a little too involved.
See these kid field guides on Amazon here
First Aid kit
Just something small to have on hand if your kids get into scrapes. Some antiseptic wipes or cream, plasters and maybe a couple of sachets of kiddy paracetamol are a good idea.