Summer brings us lots of time to plan activities with our children. But it’s easy to run out of creative ideas as summer draws to a close with school just around the corner.
When that happens, why not look to our plant friends to keep the kids busy? Teaching children about the importance of biodiversity and connecting with their community is essential for the future.
Here are three fun plant- and planet-friendly activities to do with your kids.
1. Pollinator Field Guide Fun
Save the bees! A pollinator field guide is a great activity to familiarize your kids with all the pollinators and encourage empathy for our tiny friends. A pollinator field guide can be made any time of year by any age. It’s a fabulous tool for observing, learning, and exploring.
The objective is to make your own pollinator field guide for identifying pollinators on nature walks or in the garden. Plan on about 1–2 hours to complete this activity.
- Photos of pollinators (ideas for where to find them below)
- Index cards or card stock
- Double-sided tape or glue
- Markers or crayons
- Hole punch
- Metal binder rings
First, you’ll need to gather the collection of pollinator photos. Some to include: honeybees, bumble bees, native bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, and even some small animals depending on where you live.
- Take your own photos. Take nature walks with a mission to capture pollinators doing what they do best: pollinating the planet. Be sure to not step on any plants when taking the photos!
- Search online. I like to refer to sites that support our pollinators.
- Clip photos from magazines or old books. Any science or nature magazines will do.
- Draw your own! This is especially fun for young children.
Next, make a card for each pollinator using index cards or cardstock by attaching a photo.
- Add a few fun facts on each card that correlate with the photo. Start by naming the pollinator and any plants in the photo.
- Include the life cycle, favorite flowers to visit, and whether the pollinator experiences metamorphosis.
Punch a hole in the corner of the card and place the metal ring through the holes. Now you’re ready for a nature walk to start identifying the pollinators!
Add any new pollinators you learn about or come across on your walks to the card deck.
2. Plant-based Board Games
Replace the outdated Monopoly board game with something more modern and ecologically friendly.
Wildcraft (pictured at the top of this post, courtesy of LearningHerbs) is a game that teaches the importance of identifying herbs and their uses and being a team player. It’s a nature-based game about biodiversity with the traditional board game style we all love. The game also comes with additional coloring activities and a pocket guide to identifying plants. I like to get cozy with a blanket on rainy day and play!
Herb Fairies teaches kids about healing herbs and is an immersive, active experience for the whole family. The game also includes hidden ethnobotany themes, as each fairy is named the Latin name of an herb from their geographic region.
Mom and Dad, this one is for you, too. Most families enjoy doing activities together, and getting your hands in the dirt won’t hurt! If you have a balcony or yard, outdoor plants can entice both you and the kids outdoors. Planting seasonal annuals is a great start, and nothing is more rewarding than tasting a homegrown, freshly picked tomato straight off the vine. And, of course, we love growing our own herbs!
Have an apartment? Not a problem. Teaching your kids how to plant and care for houseplants is also wonderful. My mother always told me that tending to plants was like “filling your basket.” Each day, you can prune the plant, talk to it, and water it. One by one, you are filling your daily basket with self-awareness.
Stuck indoors? Here are Five Ways To Keep Kids Busy And Happy When They Have to Be Inside.
Using Herbal Allies to Support Focus
Do you find it challenging to hold your kids’ attention during any activity? Nowadays, it seems like there’s a computer screen in front of children’s faces everywhere they go, and when it’s time to conduct an activity or attend class, it may be hard for them to focus. Luckily, you can find support from herbal allies!
Genius Juice Jr. is true to its name and recognizes the genius in your child by supporting optimal neural messaging. Herbal extractions like Genius Juice are great for kids because they’re highly bioavailable, making them a great way to kick off an afternoon of board games or start the school day. This particular formula contains herbs like gotu kola, which helps healthy cognitive function, and scullcap, which nourishes the nervous system and may help soothe anxiety.
Restful sleep is one of the most important things for growing kiddos (and adults, too)! Quiet Time is formulated to help support a child in returning to a centered state. Formulated for small bodies, Quiet Time includes gentle passionflower aerials and milky oat tops for a natural source of magnesium, which is necessary for bone and muscle health. The mineral also supports relaxation, aiding in a good night’s rest.
Most importantly, our plant activities build a rich culture and community while reinforcing useful knowledge and ecological relationships that remain for life. After all, the most important investment is our children and their future place to live — among the wildflowers.
Lauren Ann Nichols attended The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism and received her certificate in medical herbalism. She is the owner of Herbal Vice, a small-batch skincare company, and grows the herbs used in her products. She is currently a customer service representative at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.
Feature photo credit: LearningHerbs