For Parents



To discover nature, do one of the activities below (or make one up yourself!) Take a walk, what do you see? Animals, insects, plants, stars? Tell us something interesting you discovered!

1. Listen to Gator, Gator, Gator! by Daniel Bernstrom, the story of a brave nature adventurer who sets off in a boat in search of...a giant alligator! Can you help her? Told in the style of "We're Going on a Bear Hunt." Acting out the search makes you feel like you are in the boat too!

2. Children's Book illustrator Jim Arnosky has been writing nature guides for kids for decades. He has a wonderful set of coloring pages available called 100 Animals Every Child Should Know. Each page is one of Jim's accurate illustrations with a matching black and white drawing for kids to color. See Jim's books here. You can also print and color the National Geographic A to Z Coloring Book.

3. Try Grass Heads brought to you by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. This simple gardening project will help you observe germination, the process of plants growing from a seed to a plant with the sun, water, and soil.

4. Build Your Own Terrarium! A Terrarium is a little garden inside a clear, sealed, plastic or glass container. After making one, you can watch how water evaporates, condenses, and rains. Learn all about these tiny gardens in a bottle and how you can make one of your own by watching the video tutorial. Check out some books from Little Indoor Gardens for Kids – Terrariums & the Hydrologic Cycle to help you learn about the hydrologic cycle that is happening right inside your terrarium.

5. Go birdwatching! Borrow a BirdIndy Trunk that includes:

  • Indiana Birds Pocket Guide
  • Field Guide for Young Naturalists
  • Kids binoculars
  • Audubon Bird calls

The Indiana Audubon has an Indiana for the Birds Teaching Packet that includes every single thing you might want to know about backyard birds from diagrams to bird feeders. Take a look at the national Audubon site too. Audubon for Kids divides activities up into lessons which might help you plan some days outside. You can also print these Bird Activity Sheets and this Bird Watching Activity Kit. To learn even more, check out a book from Backyard Bird Watching for Kids in Indiana. Learn how to identify the birds in your own backyard. What does the bird look like? What does the bird sound like? Does it live in a next or in a birdhouse? Knowing the answer to some of these questions will help you know what kind of bird you are watching. You can also learn how to build a birdhouse or bird feeder or learn what to plant in your garden so birds will want to visit!

6. PBS Kids offers several activities to do outside. Try both Explore the Outdoors and DIY Projects for Kids from Nature Cat.

7. Learn how to observe and make a sketch outside from author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Don't forget to bring your paper and pencil when you go!

8. Have a nighttime adventure looking for meteors.

9. Explore outdoor Indianapolis by visiting a library branch. Many of our locations are within a short distance of excellent places to walk and explore. Bring a snack and a water bottle, keep appropriate social distance while there, and wash your hands when you get home!

You can visit any of our locations to check out books for kids. You can also use your IndyPL library card to check out e-books and audiobooks right to your device at home. If you have never borrowed from one of our digital platforms before, directions are available here. There are two digital platforms that have books for kids, Axis 360 Kids or OverDrive Kids.

Need help? Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text, or email Ask-a-Librarian.

Go Outside! Outdoor Fun for Kids

These e-books you can access from home are teeming with ideas for fun outdoor art, science, game, and engineering projects are just plain fun. Read up on some out door fun, then unplug and get muddy!

The Organic Artist for Kids

A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies From Nature

Neddo, Nick

Go on a walk and gather your supplies!

Outdoor Science Lab for Kids

52 Family-friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and Park

Heinecke, Liz Lee

In your own backyard, it's simple, inexpensive, and fun to whip up a number of amazing science experiments using the great outdoors. Physics, chemistry, and biology can be found all around in nature. Presents fifty-two science activities that can be done in a backyard,

Put on your Owl Eyes

Open Your Senses & Discover Nature's Secrets; Mapping, Tracking & Journaling Activities

Franklin, Devin

Sharpen your senses and get to know the natural world up close with this guide to nature observation and exploration, including tracking, mapping, and reflective journaling activities.