Spring is just around the corner and I’m hoping we’ve seen the last of the snow for this year. But just in case temperatures dip again, here are a few more ways to connect with nature without stepping outside.
4) Educational Screen Time. One of my kids’ favorite shows (and one of the least annoying) is Wild Kratts. It’s on PBS Kids and is a cool combo of real life TV and a cartoon. Each episode focuses on a certain creature, and throughout the show, you inadvertently learn all kinds of cool things about said creature. The Kratt brothers have fun, upbeat personalities and are dedicated to conservation. I’m kind of jealous that they get to hang out with all those animals all the time!
There’s also a free PBS Kids app so you can watch the shows on the go too!
5) Sensory Bins. These are great for the toddler and preschool crowds. A sensory bin is a container that you fill with a base (rice, sand, beans, etc.) and a variety of themed items that are of different shapes, sizes, colors, textures and even scents. For the really little ones, you would want to make sure you discourage them from eating the contents of the bin, which is easier said than done and plan on it getting a bit messy. I would tape down a cheap painting drop cloth or an old sheet and place the bin in the center so you can make clean up a little easier. The sky is the limit when it comes to nature themed bins. The cool thing about these is that you can pull them together in 5 minutes from items you already have in your house and if the items are non-perishable, you could just pop a lid on the bin and pull it out another day. If you need some inspiration, here are just a few that I came across:
6) Last (for now) but not least, are BOOKS!! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge advocate for reading to your kids and both my boys love it too. It’s part of our bedtime routine, but who says books are just for bedtime?? If it’s cold or even just rainy outside, why not do story time as one of your indoor activities? There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of great books about nature and science out there but I am going to share two of my favorite sources for educational, fun for the parent to read books.
Usborne. I don’t know how it took me so long to be introduced to this great company, but one of my friends from the local baby wearing community is a consultant and I am so excited to share these books with you like she did with me! There are books for every age available and the quality is outstanding. I will link a few of our favorites, but they are ALL good!
They also make great gifts for birthday parties. I almost always include a book with every kids gift we give!
Next up for books is the Cat in the Hat Learning Library. Who doesn’t love to read Dr. Seuss?? Although these weren’t authored by Seuss himself, they are written in his fun, rhyming, rhythmic style that has made his books popular for decades. We have a handful of these (but I want them all!) and each one is literary perfection. They are accurate, educational and light hearted. Your kids won’t even realize they are learning, and to be honest, I have learned quite a bit too! Because I like to read these books over and over, I prefer to own them and that can get pricey pretty quickly so I have a tip for my fellow Amazon Prime members that applies to all books, not just this series. The good news is that these books are very reasonably priced, most are only $5 shipped if you have prime. BUT you can score them for even cheaper if you buy used.
I always check the used book section on amazon when buying for my own kids because you can almost always find a ton of $.01 listings. Combined with $3.99 shipping, the book ends up being only $4! If you’re lucky, sometimes you can even find a used book with prime shipping so you will get it sooner and maybe even spend less! The listings can be arranged by the condition of the book. I’ve ordered all conditions and have never received a book in bad shape. Occasionally, they will have extra stickers on the back or something like that but nothing major.