Wherever you live – be it the countryside or the city – nature activities for children are a great way to get outdoors and active in warmer weather. One of the best spring animal activities for kids is visiting a farm, but there are plenty of interesting animals to be found near waterways, or in gardens and parks as well. We’ve put together these fun nature worksheets so your family can get familiar with local flora and fauna.
While nature exploration can be a messy business, when it comes to kids playing and discovering new things, we believe that dirt is good – so you can let your kids run wild with these sheets, and trust Persil small & mighty to help you get rid of any mud and grass stains. Just print out the pages to start their adventure!
Animal Activities for Kids: A Visit to a Local Farm
Visiting a farm is one of the most exciting spring activities for kids, as you will probably see a lot of baby animals. Lambing season runs between January and April, and during the early summer months (May to June) you can still see small lambs with their mothers. Other attractions during the year include sheep shearing events (early summer and late autumn), harvest festivals (late summer and autumn) and, of course, Christmas days out.
Whenever you decide to visit, you can download and print off the Farm Animal Activities for Kids worksheet for even more fun at the farm. Older children might be interested in learning the names of the different animals when they are in a group – here’s a quick guide to some British animals you can spot outdoors! Some are obvious, while others are obscure – you can show this list to your kids and then later challenge them to list the ones they can remember!
- A flock of sheep.
- A kit of pigeons.
- A gaggle of geese.
- A herd of cattle.
- A clowder or a glaring of cats. A group of kittens is a kindle.
- An unkindness of ravens.
- A drift of pigs, or a parcel of hogs.
- An array of hedgehogs.
- A flock of ducks, unless they are on water – then they can be bunch or a paddling.
- A colony of rabbits.
- A herd of horses.
- A bouquet of pheasants.
- A brood of chickens.
- A gang or rafter of turkeys.
- A leash of foxes.
- A herd, tribe, trip, or drove of goats.
- A hover of trout.
- A knot of toads.
- A pace or herd of donkeys.
- An army of frogs.
- A chattering of starlings.
If you’re visiting a farm that grows crops as well, teaching your kids how to identify what’s in each field can be a fun way to get a little more out of your visit.
- Wheat and barley appear very similar, both being green or golden grass-like plants with upright seedpods or ‘ears’. Barley is generally smaller as a plant, with thinner, more brush-like ears. Wheat, however, has fatter ears – rubbing a ripe head of wheat in your hand will easily separate the grains and the chaff, leaving you with the golden seeds we use to make bread.
- Oats are green or golden grass-like plants, with drooping sprays of seeds.
- Oil seed rape has bright yellow flower heads and a distinctive, slightly intense smell.
- Pea and bean fields have rows of dense green bushes, with small white or purple flowers and/or bean or pea pods.
- Potatoes themselves are roots, but above the ground you will see rows of robust green plants with white flowers.
- Sugar beet look a lot like turnip tops – look for thick bunches of leaves rising out of a thick white root.
Nature for Kids Down by the Water
Waterways have their own ecosystems, and there are lots of different ways you can explore these with your children. You could:
- Feed the ducks at your local river, pond, or lake.
- Use jam jars to scoop up pond water and look at the contents. You may be able to see some of the creatures on our nature spotting sheet! The UK Wildlife Trust also has some great resources to help you identify insects like water skaters and dragonflies – check them out here.
- Observe the lifecycle of frogs – this is one of the best spring activities for children if you live near still water! Frogs lay frogspawn in February and March, after which tadpoles and small frogs can be found in many ponds and ditches.
- Go bird spotting. The RSPB have a number of reserves by waterways, which often hold events and have suggested trails. The RSPB website also has a fun bird guide for kids explaining the five most common British birds – as well as a bird identifier to help you name any unknown species.
Nature Activities for Kids in Garden and Parks
This fun nature checklist lets you know what to look out for in your back garden or local park – just colour the creatures in as you find them! Here are some interesting facts to share with older children:
- Spiders aren’t insects. Insects have six legs, but spiders have eight (spiders are a type of animal called ‘arachnids’).
- Most ladybirds in Britain have seven spots.
- An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight.
- Snails are nocturnal – they prefer night to day.
- Slug blood isn’t red: it’s green!
- Some caterpillars are poisonous to touch, so always be careful when picking them up.
- Butterflies can taste things with their feet.
- Daddy long legs, or crane flies, are only adults for a couple of days.
- In some countries, people eat grasshoppers – they are deep fried like crisps!
- Bees are hairy and have wide legs; wasps are smooth and have thin, round legs.
- Worms can grow new tails if they are cut off.
Consider trying out these fun nature activities for children as well!
- There are a few traditional nature games that – while not exactly scientific – have been enjoyed by children for generations. For example, if you find a dandelion head that has gone to seed, why not teach your child the dandelion clock game? Having picked the dandelion, ‘tell the time’ by blowing the seeds away from the stalk: over the years, many children have counted the number of blows it takes to remove all the seeds to discover the ‘o’clock’. Another fun trick is to take buttercups and hold them under each other’s chins, asking: “Do you like butter?” – if the flower reflects a yellow light onto your skin, the answer is yes!
- Explain to your child that pinecones can be used to tell what the weather will be like: the cones will close if it’s going to rain to protect the seeds inside, and open if it’s going to be sunny. Check the weather together using pine trees!
- Make a daisy chain. Just make a small hole in the stem of one daisy, and thread the stem of another through it. Keep going until you have a crown, or garland! Daisies are so named because people once thought of them as the ‘day’s eyes’: the flowers open up during the day and close at night.