I am a firm believer in the best things in life are SIMPLE and FREE! They are not hard, not complicated, and they cost you NADA (nothing)! Got it? Not a single penny! Kids love classic nature games. They can make a game out of almost anything outdoors (if they know there are no electronic devices that they can use instead). One nature game kids love is trying to catch a lizard. My sister, Scarlet, used to spend untold hours doing this as a child. So here I will share tips for how to catch a lizard in your backyard and other ideas for nature games kids will enjoy.
10 Classic Nature Games
Catch A Lizard
Do you remember catching lizards when you were a kid? Remember? This was not something that parents taught us how to do, instead kids back then were more likely to teach their parents this skill. Lizards are FAST and they hide really well. I was the oldest kid in my family. My little sister, named Scarlet, was a real go getter when it came to catching lizards, she was 7 years younger than me, and I had “grown up” into a very “mature” 12 year old, so I was not perhaps amused with running after lizards. Scarlet, on the other hand, she was a diligent and faithful hunter of the lizard, on a daily basis it seemed, after school.
I can still see those little legs white with baggy stockings loosely gathering around her ankles as she darted here and there. And I can still hear the gasping for air, as she giggled with anxious excitement. I had to restrain myself from bursting into laughter as I watched her spring impulsively into a lunge upon the poor little reptiles, with no care as to whether this meant scraped knees or palms or elbows. Who could feel pain, when the intense joy of catching a lizard would far outweigh the potential for a having a collision with a neighborly tree branch?
So, YES! Why not? Parents, though you may not find your child taking to this predatory sport on his or her own, what is to stop you from doing this wildly playful oldie but goodie!? If you let the kid in you come to the surface once in a while, an activity like this will likely raise up the dormant joy in nature that is inside us all. Before you realize it, you may find yourself chasing the lizard with no remembrance to your adult mannerisms, as they will quickly be abandoned for the adrenaline rush you experience when you catch a lizard.
How To Catch A Lizard In Your Backyard
If you want to get your kids outside to PLAY, but they don’t seem to take much interest in the outdoors, see how they react when they see YOU trying to catch a lizard and lunging about like a tiger after its mid-morning snack! If that doesn’t get them rolling in laughter, your kids are just sticks in the mud! For which the only cure will be MORE time outside!
Keep these lizard catching tips in mind. You may want to do a little research on lizards common to your area before you begin. Make sure your child releases the lizard after they catch it and observe it for a short time. Also, be sure your child is gentle so that they do not hurt the lizard, after all, lizards are small and a bit fragile. Try not to grab the lizard by the tail so that they don’t loose their tail as it is an important part of their self defense. I just use the lay in wait and sneak up and grab the lizard method but there is also a grass lasso technique!
If you don’t successfully catch a lizard, don’t worry, you can always try again! In the mean time you could try some making some lizard crafts or lizard treats together! Have you ever caught a lizard? Do you think you and your child will try to catch a lizard together?
Water Play With Foil Stream
Have the kids get outside and make some water streams. It is fun to create pathways for water and race things on the water and see what floats, etc. When I was young, I did this once by creating a series of channels in the yard. My mom was not happy! That is why you are sure to like Lil Tigers idea for a DIY foil stream that cleans up easily! It is also a great game to add race sticks in a water stream.
Print bingo cards from this post. Set a time limit and see who can find the most. Or see who the first person is to complete theirs. Alternatively, you go out into nature all together and work to complete the whole bingo card as a group! This is a great way to develop an eagle eye for the natural world. You might want to try this while on a nature hike.
What are your favorite nature games? How do you enjoy nature with your child?
Outdoor Tic Tac Toe
This one is fun to make and a great way to keep them entertained in the backyard. Make an outdoor tic tac toe board. Here is how to make the playing surface you see above- tutorial. But there are really endless variations on this theme. The use of outdoor games is a great way to get the kids to play outside.
Nature Walk With Scavenger Hunt Printable
This free printable nature walk scavenger hunt is a fun game to play with the kids while enjoying the outside! Get the free printable nature scavenger hunt over at Dresses and Dinosaurs.
Glow In The Dark Water Bottle Bowling
This fun version of bowling is perfect for playing outdoors in nature in the evening. It is a great way for kids to enjoy more play time in the dark and get to hear new night time sounds in nature while they have fun. Get the directions over at Crafts By Amanda.
Nature Walk A to Z
While this is similar to the previously mentioned nature scavenger hunt because it centers around a nature walk, it takes a different approach. She suggest that instead of preset items they try to find an item for each letter of the alphabet during the walk. If you click on PinkFortitude, you can see the full game directions and get free printables to record your A to Z finds. Out of all the nature activities, this always a fun one to play anywhere you are.
Sponge Ball Games
You can make these sponge balls and then let your kids play outdoors and enjoy the backyard while they get soaked and run through nature. Here are four game options and directions on how to make sponge balls.
Hunter Gatherer Game
A hunter-gatherer hike can be a fun imaginative play activity to get kids outside and exploring. Includes instructions on how to make a harmless, cardboard tipped boy and arrow and spear for outdoor play time. See Waco Mom for detailed instructions.
See who can build the tallest cairn! It is a great way to get them out and hunting about for stones in nature. See instructions and learn about cairns at RedTedArt.
I hope you have enjoyed these suggestions for fun nature games! I have one last bonus idea- a game of tag with home base. Classic games like these are always a success because they are simple and can be played without any specific supplies. Which one do you think your kids will want to play first?
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Crystal Green says
This is such a great outdoor activity. I LOVED catching lizards and frogs when I was growing up. It’s a lost sport now in many cases because so many kids are barely outside now. Thanks for this reminder and the idea for fun games! We also like to play variation of games of hide-n-seek.