Inviting living things into garden and play areas provides playful opportunities for children to become active learners as they investigate and see firsthand, lifecycles and the food cycle in action while also learning to respect and care for the environment around them!
Living critters likes bees, insects, worms, lizards, birds and more are an important part of the outdoor learning space for children so it's important to embrace the possibilities!
So how do we as parents, carers and educators initiate practices that encourage bugs and
native birds into our backyard for children to investigate and learn from?
Does it need to be expensive or time consuming? Definitely not!!With some simple materials and a little creative inspiration you can easily begin attracting bugs, insects and other living creatures into your outdoor spaces.
Not sure how to start or the type of projects and experiences you could plan for the children in your care? I've created a list of easy project ideas below to help get you motivated!
Active Learning with Living Things - Project Ideas for Children
How to Attract Living Things in your Outdoor Spaces
So you want to dive in and try out some of the projects and activities above but there isn't a butterfly, bee or bug in sight when you wander the outdoor areas? Don't worry, I've got ideas to help you begin attracting living things to your outdoor learning environments as well! Why not try incorporating one of the simple ideas or materials below? Make sure to involve the children as well!
It is so important that we, as adults, encourage children to explore their backyard environment through play and hands on investigation. If you would like to get started with a project straight away but need some help with the steps I have you covered with this collection of easy ideas from around the internet. Click the links under the photos to find out more about how to start the project. Let's explore!
If you need some 'done for you' support to help incorporate sustainability into your planning you will find a huge collection of resources for eco friendly fun in my Empowered Ed shop here.
Make Your Own Bug Hotels - Ideas & Inspiration
I love bug hotels and they can be big or small, made by younger or older children and form the basis for an interesting and ongoing group activity over time. So many possibilities and so many easy ways to make one - best of all they are a great way to upcycle and recycle materials! Take a look at the clever ideas below and get ready to make your first bug hotel!
Ideas to Attract Butterflies into your Backyard
What child isn't enchanted when they see a butterfly go past? There is so much more to the butterfly than just the hungy caterpiller lifecycle to explore though! You will be amazed at how setting up a few butterfly friendly environments increase butterfly numbers in your play areas. Try some of the ideas below then have fun investigating with the children!
How to House, Look After & Use Worms
Worms are one of the easiest living things to bring into your learning space and they offer so many valuable learning opportunities including what to feed them, what they need to thrive, building a habit, composting and using worm juice along with sensory exploration. We had so much fun making our worm towers but I've also included some other ideas below for you to try as well!
Simple Projects to attract Birds, Bees, Snails & Butterflies
There are so many small living things that we can attract to the garden. I love these ideas. What could you try tomorrow with the materials you already have on hand?
I hope this post has inspired you to try a few new ideas and projects that will help you to attract living things into your outdoor play spaces - they really do provide so many wonderful learning moments! If you want more simple tips and ideas like the ones in this post to try, you will find them in the Empowered Ed shop under the sustainability category here.
A Little About Me
Jodie Clarke is an early childhood professional supporting educators who want and need to stay passionate about the work they do! She has 30 years hands-on experience in the early childhood and human services sectors across many different roles.
Jodie is mum to 3 in Australia and has already helped thousands of educators with their work through her popular blog posts, activity ideas, online training and e-books.