The summer is a great time to keep kids connected to nature, whether you’re headed to the beach, the lake, the woods, the park or just your backyard, all that outdoor time is awesome! And we’ve found some great toys that are all about encouraging your kids to explore and connect with nature and the environment – but they’ll just think they’re having fun!

Build It Yourself Insect Hotel (pictured on top)

Budding entomologists will love this buggy building project. Not only does it come with everything needed to put it all together – including a hammer, nails and glue – but once completed it’s the ideal home for all sorts of local insects. Aimed at kids from 6 – 10, our yoyo testers have set it up in our back garden and they’re hoping that their first guests will be mason bees. The box it all comes in is also printed with fun buggy facts – did you know that earwigs are natural predators of aphids? Cool!

june23water viewerWater Bug Viewer 

Kids from 5 – 10 who love the water whether it’s a lake, the ocean or a wading pool, can get up close and personal with water creatures using this viewer. It comes with a handy net for safely transporting their finds into the shatterproof container, a built in magnifying lens, air vents so animals can breathe and instructions not to harm living things and to return them from where they came once you’ve observed them in action. We’re looking forward to getting up close and personal with some sea stars this summer!

june23shell collectionShell Collection Bag

Pint-sized beachcombers will love this cunningly designed bag for collecting shells. And you’ll love not carrying all their treasures! Designed to hang from kids’ waists to leave their hands free for collecting shells, sand dollars, beach glass, stones and more, this strong mesh pouch is a summer must-have. We also love the waterproof shell search guide that’s included to help kids identify their treasures – it even rates beach glass on levels of rareness. Our kiddos are insisting we go to Parksville this summer so they work on their sand dollar collections. For kids of 3 and up.

june23flowerpressFlower Press 

This is one of the most lovely flower presses we’ve ever seen. It’s made from 100% Canadian wood with no paints, stains or oils and it’s the perfect accessory for all your summer travels as your kiddos can preserve all their flowery finds. We’ve already got some flowers sitting in the press and we’re planning to press heaps more and then iron them between wax paper to make “stained glass windows”. Look for photos on our Instagram once all the flowers are good and dry. For kids of 5 and up.

These naturally fun finds are all from Goose and Moose, a lovely local online boutique who curates an amazing collection of toys focused on active and imaginative play. And we may, or may not, have grand flower pressing and shell collecting plans for ourselves. As long as our kiddos are willing to share…

By: Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit 

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