Spring is here and summer is on its way.
Take time to enjoy the outdoors with your family, wherever you are. Exploring the natural world helps illustrate for kids the importance of protecting our environment, allows them to destress and unwind, and experience their senses in new, exciting ways. It’s also a great way to share quality time together while learning how to appreciate what wonders can be found near and far – or even in our own backyard.
Use the videos, activities, and games below to jump start your family’s outdoor explorations!
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Learn All About the Outdoors
Nature Cat | Travelin’ Seeds
When Daisy finds a beautiful flower in her garden that she didn’t plant, it’s up to Nature Cat and his pals to find out where the flower came from. Join Nature Cat and learn more about how forests grow through seed dispersal.
Favorite Places in Nature | Plum Landing
In this media gallery from Plum Landing, a group of friends share observations of their favorite places in nature, from a pond in the park to the clouds seen from a fire escape. Throughout these four videos, they model science process skills, such as observing and recording data, and also show that you don’t need to look very far to find nature!
Yikes! Poisonous Plants | Spot on Science
Some of the plants you find outside look so pretty, but not all of them are safe to touch. Margaret talks about which kinds of plants are poisonous, including holly berries, mushrooms, and poison ivy.
Minnesota Legacy Short | Amber Fletschock: Collage Artist
Amber Fletschock is a collage artist working from the rugged forests of central Minnesota. Inspired by the nature surrounding her, Amber’s work is a response to the chaos and abundance of modern times.
Fly Fishing | Climate Wisconsin
In this video from PBS Wisconsin Education, follow Peter Cozad, a fly fishing guide in Viroqua, Wisconsin, as he explores a few of the many trout streams in southwestern Wisconsin. Listen as he describes why fly fishing is important to the economy of the region as well as to him personally, and how it may be threatened by climate change.
Activities, Crafts & More!
Activities for Kids at Your Local Park
With the allure of screens at home, going outside can fall by the wayside. Here are a variety of ways you and your child can enjoy the outdoors.
Observe With a DIY Magnifying Glass
Have you ever wondered how to make a magnifying glass with a plastic bottle? Magnify the fun with a closer look at the world through a homemade magnifying glass.
Nature Observation Bingo
Let your child explore their curiosity with this fun outdoor game of bingo! Encourage them to wonder by creating a game together that is focused on practicing observation and exploration in nature.
Paint With Nature
Get outside and have fun with nature, using natural objects (leaves, flowers, or anything else!) as brushes or stamps to paint creative art projects.
SciGirls | Bird Is the Word
You can help scientists monitor bird populations and look for patterns in bird movement by counting your local birds and submitting the data. Birds are fascinating animals to watch and it’s easy to learn how to identify them. Casual observers can use the same techniques to identify birds that scientists use.
Virtual UCF Arboretum
The Virtual UCF Arboretum is an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) website featuring plants and flowers found in natural communities of Central Florida. Each plant in the atlas has educational information, photographs, gardening facts, and a 3D plant model ideal for close inspection of botanical form and structure.
Local Organizations & Events
Point au Roche State Park
Join a park naturalist to explore the nature trails and look for animal and plant life in the diverse habitats of the Point au Roche State Park with a guided hike on May 22nd from 3-4:30 PM. All ages are welcome for this 2-3 mile hike on easy trails! PRSP is open year-round from sunrise to sunset, offering a Nature Center with a variety of programs, nature, hiking, and biking trails, as well as a sandy beach and picnic facilities.
The City of Plattsburgh Beach and Parks
The City of Plattsburgh is home to over a dozen public parks with athletic fields, playgrounds and community gardens, as well as a sprawling beach on the shore of Lake Champlain (opening May 28th). Discover all the city has to offer with the family-friendly Parks Come Alive! summer event series, which brings together neighbors for an evening of local drinks, food, music and fun in city parks. The first event is June 2nd from 4:30-7:30 PM at Peter Blumette/West End Park.
Stone Ledge Sculpture Garden
The Stone Ledge Sculpture Garden, located just south of Plattsburgh, NY on US Route 9, is hard to miss with its large-scale metal and wooden sculpture sited across the sprawling lawn. Free and open to the public year-round, the garden offers an opportunity for locals and tourists alike to breathe the fresh air and take in impressive works of art. The collection features many works by sculptor John Kokoszka, which pay homage to a variety of notable moments in world and art history, such as Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes’ famous painting “El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid.”
Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center
The Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center is dedicated to fostering connections with nature for students, local residents, and regional visitors by providing outdoor recreation opportunities, experiential education programs, and year-round art exhibitions. Discover their Breck Chapin Memorial Native Species Butterfly House to learn more about these colorful insects and explore the PSC VIC trails – open year round!
For even more games, activities, and educational resources for young learners, go to the Explore the Outdoors Collection on PBS Kids for Parents.