7 springtime nature activities for an early years environment

With the clocks going forward, the weather warming up and the sun shining, spring is the perfect time to take children outdoors.

Playing outside is a key part of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage, but with so much for little learners to see and do, we’ve listed some of our favourite springtime activities to help children embrace nature.


1. Go on a Colour Hunt

Flowers bloom and wildlife come out of hibernation in spring, so there’s plenty of colour to be seen everywhere you look.

Take your class into the garden, and see how many different colours children can spot.

Can you see a yellow daffodil, pink blossom and the blue sky? Are there any leftover brown leaves to find?

source: Carrots Are Orange

2. Build a sensory garden


Playing in the mud is a favourite activity of many little learners – anything to get their hands dirty!

Building a sensory garden keeps the soil contained, and helps develop fine motor skills as children dig deep to see what they can find.

Toy vegetables, mini animals, fake plants and beans or seeds all make for great items to find and feel!

source: Carrots Are Orange

3. Decorate a walking stick


If you’re going out for a walk this spring, you’ll need something to help you out!

Getting children to decorate their own walking stick is a fun art and craft activity for nursery children.

Use anything you find outdoors with any material you have inside, including paint, glitter and felt.

Just make sure you’ve got lots of glue!

source: Crafting Connections

4. Create a Treasure Hunt

One of the best ways to help little learners discover the new sights and sounds during springtime is by creating an outdoor treasure hunt.

You could write out a list of items for children to either find or bring back, or you could let them explore on their own and see what treasures they collect for themselves.

Some examples to find first include types of leaves, dandelions, daisies, and acorns. Or see if they can spot things like a bird singing, a squirrel eating or a bug sat on a leaf.

source: Nature Detectives

5. Grow Some Seeds or Beans


Using cotton wool and a small glass, little learners can grow their own seeds or beans throughout spring, watching how the roots and stems develop over time.

Cress seeds in particular only take a few days to grow, and they can be turned into fun heads for children to take home with them.

source: The Imagination Tree

6. Make Some Rock Art

See how many rocks children can collect from outside, and then help them separate the smooth, flat ones. Using marker pens and other craft material, kids can create their own rock art.

If you want, you could assign different symbols or icons to each stone, and create your own activity pot of rocks.

You could use a ball to represent playtime, a book for reading time and a bed for naptime! When it’s time for a new activity, put your hand in the rock jar, and see what you pull out.

source: KCEdventures

7) Construct a nature mobile


Building a nature mobile is a wonderful way to make use of all the natural material children have collected from outside and brought into the classroom.

There are lots of different ways to do this, depending on what you already have in your art and craft supplies.

Start off with one long stick, and tie string to either end. This will create the hanging part.

Next, children can thread, stick or tape their leaves and flowers to string or cotton, dangling them from the twig centrepiece!

source: Danya Banya