In a world of iPads and games consoles, it can sometimes feel near impossible to get kids to spend time in the great outdoors. Forest schools have seen a huge rise in demand—and it’s easy to see why. Improved concentration, balance, and better mental health are all benefits of outdoor play. But how do you replicate a forest school at home? We’ve put together our favourite forest school activities, to help encourage your little one to have less screen time, and more green time.

A child at home nursery doing forest school style activities

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Forest school activities: for creative kids

Build a bug hotel

Building a bug hotel isn’t just a fun activity, it also creates a safe hideaway for insects and other local wildlife. Use planks of wood or piled up crates to build the main structure, and fill in the gaps with bricks, twigs and sticks.

Make flower crowns

Collect flowers and twigs from a nearby woodland and craft them into crowns fit for a king or queen. You could also borrow a flower identification guidebook from the library so your child can learn about what they’ve gathered.

Leaf printing

Leaf printing is fun way to create masterpieces you can display in your home. Collect your favourite leaves on a woodland walk, dip them in paint and go wild printing on sheets of card.

Forest school activities: messy and sensory play

Tuff trays

Filling a tuff tray with natural materials is a great way to introduce children to sensory play. Pinecones, conkers, twigs, shells and bark all work well.

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Go on a colour and texture hunt

Turn an ordinary nature walk into a sensory experience on a colour and texture hunt. Keep your eyes peeled for the hues of the leaves around you, and feel the bark of the trees you pass. Encourage your child to talk about what they see and feel along the way.

Mud painting

If your child enjoys art activities and getting messy, mud painting is the perfect forest school style activity for them. Rainy days are a good time for this activity, as you’ll need to collect mud into several bowls. Then, add a few drops of food colouring and washing up liquid to each bowl. Mix everything together with some water (we did warn it’s messy!) and paint away.

Keen for your little ones to be doing forest school activities everyday?

We were inspired by forest schools and the research that backs up this unique form of childcare when we built our Home Nursery service. Our Early Educators are Forest Education trained, so children spend each morning out and about, exploring the nearby parks and green spaces, before returning for a home-cooked meal and to continue their learning into the afternoon. At Home Nursery, a pile of twigs, or a some conkers, is turned into a natural play space for hours of learning and fun.

Eager for your little one to spend more time outdoors? Find out more and browse nearby home nurseries.