A nature walk was the perfect activity for my wee ones yesterday. It was a bit wet and drizzly, but in the forest it was lovely. We decided to add to our exploring by bringing playdough. I wasn’t exactly sure what we would do with it, but I knew we would think of something on out nature walk with kids!
Nature walk with kids: Playdough Imprints
We started our walk by doing some imprints into the playdough with leaves, acorns, rocks, tree stumps, branches and bark. We looked at different imprints and compared sizes and shapes. Madeline and I took turns making imprints and guessing the nature item they came from.
It was interesting to chat with Sammy during this activity. Some of the imprints looked very much like the nature item they came from, but other imprints looked very different. Leaves were rather simple to match, but tree bark was very tricky.
We also did some comparing of similar nature items. We would put play doh on two trees: one with smooth bark and one with very textured bark. When we peeled off the playdough my wee ones would examine the texture imprints. Some of the smooth bark hardly left an imprint at all.
Sammy noticed that it was trickier to stick the playdough to the very smooth bark than to the bark with a lot of texture. He said the tree with thick, rough bark was “more grippy”. A pretty good 3 year old observation!
Nature Walk with Kids: Creating with Playdough
Madeline decided to make some faces in her playdough. They turned out very cute!
This was a great activity for some natural language development. Some of the many words we used were: thicker, thinner, deeper, wider, curved, and straight. I am not sure how much my Sammy will remember (or truly understood) but he was, at very least, introduced to these terms.
Benjamin had lots of fun too!
It’s interesting how adding one different element can completely change how wee ones explore their environment. Sammy has always been one for running, climbing, and collecting during nature walks. It was interesting how the play doh slowed him down and made him look closer at things. It actually did the same for me!
I think we will be doing more nature walks of this sort – adding in a new “thing” to see how it changes our exploring.
Looking for other ideas for nature walks with kids? Be sure to check out our series on Exploring the five senses in nature!
If you enjoyed this activity, please consider Liking us on Facebook, or Following on Pinterest so I can share more creative learning ideas with you! Thank you!
Ann @ My Nearest and Dearest says
Sarah, I have never thought to bring playdough out onto the lawn or into the woods with us. Great idea!!!
Thank you! Now I have my mind reeling about what else to bring with us 🙂
Anna@The Measured Mom says
I never thought of this – but it would be a big hit this fall! Thanks for sharing it at After School!
Thank you for letting me share Anna! The playdough certainly got dirty — but well worth it in my wee ones opinion!
Anna@The Measured Mom says
Yes, it’s probably a good activity for play dough on the way out 🙂 Featuring on Monday and pinned to our group board!
Absolutely Anna! Thank you for the feature and the pin! Awesome!
Sabrina Banks @ Sow Sprout Play says
I absolutely LOVE this idea! I linked to it on my round-up about nature! http://sowsproutplay.com/activities/8-nature-activities-and-crafts-for-kids/
Hi Sabrina! Thank you very much for including us in your Round Up!
I have been wanting to get into more nature studies for our homeschool AND do more that the littlest ones would be interested. Lo and behold, this post is perfect for me! Featuring on this week’s Hearts for Home blog hop. Thanks!
Ann Fischer says
What a wonderful idea! I’m going to share this with our readers, thank you! You may like some of our outdoor discussions as well, cheers!
I will have to check your blog out Ann! Thank you for sharing our Playdough Nature Walk – I hope your readers enjoy.
Leila - Mud Mud Marvellous Mud says
I love this! Can’t believe I’ve never thought of taking play dough outdoors. So glad I’ve found your blog. It is fab!
I am so glad you found us too Leila!! And I am eager to check out your blog – sounds right up our alley!
Perfect Monstessori-inspired idea. Looks like it was lots of fun. Thanks for sharing. Now, if only this snow would let up…;)
Thank you Renae! And yes – NO MORE SNOW!!!
Corinne Carr says
Love this idea! We are going to have to try this. I have offered nature materials inside with plays on. But not thought of the reverse. Thanks so much for sharing,
So glad you like the idea Corinne – I hope your little ones like it too! Thank you for taking the time to comment!
This is great !!! I live in the city and have a 3 year old grandson …a little back yard and we will be busily all day 🙂 thank you so much for sharing
So glad you like this activity Marj! Thank you for taking the time to comment!!