Let Nature In

Department of Conservation —  22/04/2020

Mā te taiao, kia whakapakari tōu oranga. Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing.

The internet has thrown up a lot of names to separate the periods before and after Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand: Before Times. Pre-Quarantine. The Day the World Changed. Comedian Guy Montgomery even alluded to it as ‘Back When You Could Eat in Places Where You Didn’t Have to Do the Dishes and Could Sit Next to Strangers’.

In levels 3 and 4 we need to stay home.

We won’t go into all the details here (you have Unite Against Covid laying that out for you) but suffice to say, it’s a challenge, especially for parents.

School holidays were brought forward, then distance learning rolled out, and soon some kids will be going back to school. But many won’t or can’t for a while yet. The now-yearned-for routines of Before Times are a while off and so there’s still a need for ideas and resources to keep tamariki busy.

Happily, even in levels 3 and 4, you can do this at home with nature.

📷 Image: Adrienne de Melo

Nature is everywhere

It could be just outside your front door, in your garden, on your balcony, from the window or around your property— there are plenty of different outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy.

When you’re at home you can boost your wellbeing by letting nature be part of your day.

Nature is free, it’s everywhere, and it helps us learn.

Most importantly, it improves our health and wellbeing. Research shows that letting nature into our lives boosts our immune system and reduces stress and anxiety.

For us at DOC, crafting ideas for parents and teachers to get outdoors with their tamariki is par for the course, but level four did bring some new challenges. So the team stuck their heads together and pooled these ideas, which are a mix of old and new.


Let Nature In with Benji

Benji Moorhouse is one of our education experts and right now he’s making videos in his backyard to walk you through some of his favourite ways to enjoy nature at home.

Check out this one, where Benji takes us through colour bingo with kākāriki leaves, waiporoporo lavender and kōwhai lemons.

📹 Colour Bingo with Benji

Keep your eyes peeled for the next video out on our channels this Friday.

Learning from home

This is a whole collection of easy and practical ways to learn from home, with nature, while we’re in levels 4, 3, or otherwise in self-isolation for health reasons.

These resources highlight why it’s important to spend time in nature, plus has fun activities to do with your whānau/household/bubble to connect with nearby nature, stay active and be creative. Which is the trifecta of at-home family fun.

Ideas include leaf art, sensory bingo, tree mates and planting. Key advice is don’t be put off by the weather – just dress for it!

📷 Image: everyday_learningadventures on Instagram

50 things to do in your bubble

Each week, we’re offering five new additions to the 50 Things to do in Nature programme. 

The best thing about this is that they’re all ideas for kids – from kids. We asked Kiwi kids to put together a list of things they loved to do in nature, and then from these ideas we created this magnificent (if we do say so ourselves) list.

There are ideas for around your home, in your backyard, on your deck or balcony, and from window views. Check back weekly for more activities as the list grows ….

📷 Image: Sian Moffit DOC, child with a seed head

Toyota Kiwi Guardians backyard actions

This programme is a collaboration between us and Toyota, with a whole lot of fun, interesting and meaningful activities that whānau can do in their backyard bubble. Some of these TKG Actions are old favourites that have been adapted for the lockdown, others are brand new.

If you have kids, you should also check out the Toyota Kiwi Guardians Facebook page, where we promote different activities, giveaway prizes, and talk about nature with our Kiwi Guardian families.  and their family/whānau to participate in.

📷 Image: Anabelle Studholme DOC, child planting a seed

Tell us what you’re up to!

If you use the hashtag #LetNatureIn in on your ~social medias~, we’ll see it. We’d love to see you doing any of these activities. And if you have more ideas for things to do in nature at home in levels 3 and 4; please comment down below. 

There’s no reason to wait – let nature in!

One response to Let Nature In

    John Cushen 27/04/2020 at 8:08 am

    With light frosts early morning and still some snow on the surrounding mountains, we are reminded that winter is just around the corner. Our bird table which is set among native trees we have planted is now the local native birds restaurant. While the birds are not practicing “social distance”, they are enjoying the apples (Cut in half) which we stick on nails and of course, a favourite is the sugar water with red food colouring dropped in to attract our bellbirds, tuis and waxeyes (Silver eyes). We never get tired of watching them and have learnt so much over the last few years. The tuis are the real bird bullies and when they arrive the other birds take off and wait until the tui leaves and then swoop back onto the bird table. When it gets really cold, suet from the supermarket is a real favourite of the waxeyes, Stay safe out there and if you live in the cool southern part of New Zealand, help out our native birds.