Nature Activities For Kids | How To Create a Nature Tray

nature activities for kids-create nature tray-stuck indoors a little boy looking out a rainy day window

Nature activities for kids encourage exploring the marvel of the outdoors with your children. However, for those times, you are stuck indoors, bring the wonders of nature to your child’s fingertips with a nature tray.

Do you remember running through the grass, picking dandelions, and watching the wind scatter their petals? How about all the pebbles, sticks, leaves, and pine cones you collected and treasured. In the busyness of our world, many children do not have the opportunity to connect with nature. Your child’s love of the outdoors can be encouraged with some nature walk activities and a tray to explore their treasures.

Connecting with Nature

A nature tray or Treasure blocks are a perfect place to showcase your child’s riches. They can add things they have collected to examine, touch, and discover. It offers hands-on opportunities for creating, learning, and nature exploration activities. When your youngster has moved on to finding new treasures, use the old materials for some nature crafts.

Creating a nature tray can be as simple or elaborate as you want. It can be a one trip project or something you build over time. What’s important is that you don’t rush the process. Step back and allow your child to discover and gather the items. Kids love getting outside and exploring nature, so why not create something you can enjoy together?

Wooden blocks for kids (Treasure Blocks), with their unique display windows, are a wonderful addition to your nature activities. They hold things found in nature, such as leaves, flowers, twigs, shells, pebbles, sand, and more. Children can display their small treasures for investigation and observation. Beautiful and versatile, these one-of-a-kind wooden building blocks are perfect for storing trinkets or natural treasures.

Creating Your Nature Tray

You will want to start with a large tray. It can be something you have laying around, found in a garage sale, or a hobby store. Even a flat basket, cookie sheet or cutting board will work. Include some small baskets or containers to keep the items organized. There are many ways you can build and organize your tray. You can choose a category like a season - for instance, fall or spring. Additionally, you can base it on a theme - for example, a beach or a forest. Of course, it is contingent on what you have nearby.

Once you have your tray and containers, you will need to gather the items. One way to do this is to create a nature scavenger hunt list. Then head outdoors to engage in some nature activities for kids. One fun activity is to take a nature walk to find the items on your list. No need to go far; it could be your nearest park, forest, beach, or even your backyard. Bring along some bags, baskets, or other containers for the collection process.

Here is a list of things found in nature to get you started:

  • Flowers, leaves and pine needles from a variety of plants and trees
  • Sand and shells in a variety of shapes, sizes, patterns, colors, and textures
  • Twigs, sticks and tree bark from a variety of trees
  • Pine cones, acorns, pods and seeds of contrasting shapes, sizes and colors
  • Rocks, stones, and pebbles of different shape, sizes, textures, and colors
  • Anything that your child finds attractive and is not harmful to themselves or the environment.

Other Outdoor Activities for Preschoolers

Before heading outdoors, grab your nature journal and nature books for kids. Be sure to make time for you and your child to note ideas or experiences. Encourage them to sketch their thoughts, feelings, or observations. Remember how fun it was to run a crayon or colored pencil over the leaves to get a design? Or how about pressing flowers? Or tracking down that colorful bird you saw in your nature book? Give them the freedom to pick the nature activities that interest them.


Finally, no nature tray would be complete without a magnifying glass or a set of wooden square blocks with magnification. With their compact storage, these wooden nesting blocks are ideal for adding to your tray or taking along on your next nature hike.


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