Outdoor Activities to Connect Children to Nature

Parents and teachers, we want to support you as you adjust to the changes brought along by COVID-19. We have included on this page our favourite outdoor activities to connect children to nature (below) along with articles about connecting children to nature and some online activities for you to do indoors.

Want to share your favourite resource with us? E-mail kathy@abcee.org to add your ideas to this list.

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We are thrilled by the positive response to our weekly activity mailer! Thank you to the teachers and network of 28 organizations who have shared this content, helping get this information into the hands of over 2000 parents.

Please follow the advice of your local public health authority regarding social distancing measures even when going outside. Click here to visit the Government of Alberta COVID-19 info webpage.

ACEE created a handout to parents on some of our most highly recommended resources and initiatives to take to advance environmental education. Check it out here. 

These days, so many of us are at home with our kids; there has NEVER been a better time for us have some outdoor fun with them and help them get to know their home place and connect to nature in their own backyard. We send out a weekly newsletter with activities you can do with your kids in your own backyard. Check out our favourite activities below:

Five Minute Field Trips (Grades K-6) - This is an activity guide that is chock-a-block full of simple and fun outdoor games and activities that you can do right out your back door. Why not start with Nature Trust Walk (pg. 4), Un-Nature Trail (pg. 5), or Make-a-Park (page 12). This resource is brought to you by the Calgary Zoo, the Global Environmental and Outdoor Education Council, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and authors Sue Arlidge and Gareth Thomson.

Become a Backyard Detective (Grades 4-6) - One of the best ways to learn about nature is to get outside, be curious, and ask questions!  This activity provides some guiding questions and resources to help your kids unlock their curiosity and explore the natural world around them. Bonus Resource: Our friends at Alberta Parks have shared their Winter Ecology Tracking Booklet full of the most common critters found in the Kananaskis region!

Teaching the 4 Elements (Pre-K - Grade 1) - This guidebook written by Shelagh Pyper of Fuse Consulting is designed to connect your children to the four elements through nature play.

Numeracy and Literacy in Nature (Grades K-3) - Four easy and fun activities to help your kids boost their interest and skills in math and language arts by having fun outside! 

Earth Day Activities (Grades K-6) - Some of our favourite Earth Day Activities to do with your kids! 

Numeracy and Literacy in Nature (Grades 4-6)- Four hands-on, nature-inspired math and language arts activities.

Fun Activities in the Sun (Grades K-6) - Four activities that allow children to learn more about the sun's power, be creative, and have fun in the sun! 

Nature Crafts (Grades K-6) - Four nature-inspired arts and crafts activities for your children.

Wetland Wonderland (Grades 2-7) -  Three activities to help you connect to your local wetland. Bonus Resource: Inside Education has some amazing Wetlands and Aquatic Invertebrates resources! Check them out here.

Learning About Pollinators (Grades K-6) -  Some simple ideas to learn about pollinators in Alberta.


The following newsletters also include links to short videos...

Germinating Bean Seeds in your Kitchen (Grades K-6) - Watch along as Dylann, from the Weaselhead Glenmore Park Preservation Society shows us how to germinate bean seeds at home.

Create a Mud Kitchen (Pre-K-Grade 1) - Christina from Get Outside and Play shows us how to make a mud kitchen for hours of unstructured play fun!

Upcycled Flower Pot (Grades 7-12) -  Elizabeth from Ciclomanias shows us how to make a beautiful flower pot out of a plastic bottle.

Tailpipe Pollution Challenge (Grade 5) - Tanya from the Calgary Region Airshed Zone (CRAZ) guides us through the Tailpipe Pollution Challenge.

Birding 101 (Grades K - 12) - Vanessa from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Southern Alberta Chapter (CPAWS) teaches us the basics of birding.

Paper Planter (Grades 4 - 12) -  Follow along as Alan from Hands on Growing helps us sharpen our origami skills to create a biodegradable paper planter.

 Online Environmental Activities                  Articles on Children and Nature