Exploring Forests on Nature Walks with Preschoolers

Discover hidden treasures of the forest on a nature walk. Kids can explore a treed area by searching up high in the branches, behind tree trunks, and under piles of leaves on the ground. Have fun exploring!

kids learn about nature with a walk through a forest

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Kids can use all their senses as they explore the world around them. Whether walking around the neighborhood or hiking a forest trail, take the time to pause and listen for sounds familiar and new, to smell the air and plant growth, to spot different colors of foliage or insects.

You can provide outdoor experiences for kids by taking walks outside together. We are fortunate to have a well-worn trail at the back of our yard that leads through a wooded area to a shallow brook. If you have a walking trail nearby, it can be a natural playground, and a wealth of information and inspiration.  

You can also observe nature in a more limited outdoor space such as a backyard or deck.  There might be a caterpillar resting on a green leaf, or a cluster of dandelions growing in a corner of the yard. Kids will benefit from exploring the world around them wherever they are.

Nature walk activities

Be sure to take necessary precautions when going on nature walks or field trips with children. Do you need bug spray, sun screen, water bottles or protective clothing? 


Dandelions found on a nature walk

You might be surprised to see tiny flowering plants growing in crowded spaces. Yellow dandelions are striking against the dry brown leaves and twigs.

Shadows on the ground that reveal how sunlight is filtered through the tree branches. Talk about how both shade and sun are necessary for the healthy growth of a variety of plants and insects.


Explore on a nature walk with kids

Search for moss around the trunk of a tree. Gently move twigs and leaves to uncover the soft, spongy moss.

Explore forests on a nature walk

Stand next to small evergreens for a measuring activity. Is one taller than you, smaller than you?

Find large spreading branches you can stand under like umbrellas.

Can you spot a bird's nest in the branches of a maple tree?

Discover tree bark in nature walk

Observe the layers of bark on a tree trunk or fallen log. Watch out for tiny insects that might be nesting under the leaves.

Explore pine cones on nature walks

Find pine cones lying on a bed of needles under a pine tree. 


A nature walk is an important way to provide hands-on exploration and learning. Kids can observe plants and insects in natural surroundings. This helps them understand and appreciate the importance of natural habitats


Nature walk family activity


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