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NEA Big Read: Family Nature Activities

March 12, 2021 at 9:04 AM by

Find out more about the NEA Big Read and all our March programming here!

In the spirit of Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl, we want to inspire Kenosha area families to find their passion for the natural world. Here are some activities to try at home with your children:


  • Outdoor scavenger hunt: Make a list of things you might find on a walk, such as a tree, rock, pinecone, or plant. Draw or write out a list and see who can spy all the items the fastest. 

  • Pinecone bird feeder: Roll a pinecone in nut butter and bird seed. Hang from a tree or bush and observe the birds.

  • Frozen suncatcher: Gather some items from nature, like leaves, berries, and sticks. Arrange them on a wax-coated paper plate or plastic/silicone lid. Pour water into your plate until every item is covered. Lay a loop of string half in, half out of the water. Let freeze overnight. In the morning, hang your frozen discs in the sun!

  • Homemade rain gauge: Take a mason jar and use a ruler and permanent marker to make lines on the side. Set it outside away from eaves or overhangs. Make a chart to record your measurements.

  • Treasure board: Grab a piece of cardboard and packing tape. Wind the tape around the cardboard so that the sticky side is up. Go for a walk and have your children collect natural “treasures” and stick them to the board. 

  • Animal tracks hunt: Go out and look for animal tracks in the snow. Cut some cardboard in the shape of your favorite animal’s footprint, tie them to your shoes, and make some tracks of your own. No more snow? Try walking your cardboard feet through a little bit of water to make some footprints on the sidewalk.

  • Outdoor fort: If there is still snow, perhaps a cave.

  • Rain art: Color with markers then run outside in the rain with your drawing. Watch the colors shift and mix. 

  • Plan a garden: Check out a book on gardening and, as a family, plan a garden to create this spring. Start some plants inside before the thaw.

-Let’s Get Gardening by DK Publishing

-Gardening Wizardry for Kids by L. Patricia Kite

-Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown 

  • Nature crafts! Check out one of these books to get you started: 

--The Nature Craft Book by Clare Beaton

-Cool Outdoor Arts & Crafts by Alex Kuskowski

-Nature’s Art Box by Laura C. Martin

-Nature Crafts by Joy Williams