Free resources

Connections to nature improve wellbeing. Our free resources are designed to help you get started, wherever you are based.

We’ve put together some free resources to help young people connect with nature.

When we talk about connecting with nature, it’s not just about being outdoors - it’s about how you engage with nature while you’re there. What you do is more important than how long you spend doing it.

Five ways to connect

Through Generation Green, we are sharing five things that can help people build a better relationship with nature to help themselves and the planet.

  1. Physical contact with the natural world
  2. Finding an emotional bond with, and love for, nature
  3. Taking time to appreciate the beauty of nature
  4. Thinking about the meaning and signs of nature
  5. Showing compassion and care for nature

With thanks to the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby

Contact

Use your senses to tune into the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures of nature.

  • Listen to birdsong
  • Smell wild flowers
  • Walk barefoot outside

Put this pathway into practice

When you’re outdoors, encourage everyone to use all their senses – what can they see, hear, smell, feel and taste?

  • Do trees or plants have a smell? What do they smell like?
  • Are there things that they can touch? Make sure it’s safe to do so and won’t cause any harm.
  • What do things feel like? Are they soft, hard, smooth, or prickly? Different things have different textures. Can people feel the difference between bark on a tree, a smooth blade of grass, and a cool pebble?

Get everyone to pause what they’re doing for a minute, and just take in what’s around them. They may want to close their eyes to help them tune into their other senses.

  • Can they hear any birds singing?
  • Can they feel any breeze on their skin?

You might not be able to taste things, unless you’ve got an adult who knows their stuff with foraging who can identify safe things to eat, like blackberries and wild garlic. Even if you don’t have a foraging expert, you could try to help everyone to tune into this sense in other, safe ways.

  • Can they taste the air outdoors, or does it have no taste?
  • Does the air feel different to breathe?

Make it accessible

If you anyone in your group can’t use (or has difficulty using) any of their senses, for example, if they have hearing loss or sight loss, think about how you can make sure they’re included and comfortable. How do they experience nature?

Some people might not be comfortable touching or smelling new or different things, and that’s OK. Everyone can go at their own pace – they don’t have to do anything they’re not comfortable with.

Something sticky

Close your eyes and memorise the feeling and shape of a stick. Can you identify your stick from a collection?

Duration: 10 minutes

Get started

Meet a tree

Can you use your senses to find out which tree you met? Trust your partner and get connected to nature.

Duration: 20 minutes

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Mini solo

Can you become one with nature? Take time to explore and connect with the area around you.

Duration: 60 minutes

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Rope walk

Be brave and test your senses on this adventurous trail.

Duration: 45 minutes

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Emotion

Feel joy, wonder, and calm when interacting with the natural world.

  • Find joy in wildlife at play
  • Wonder at a spider's web
  • Find calm whilst near water

Put this pathway into practice

Talk about what it feels like being outdoors in nature. Everyone will be different, but it might make them feel joy, calm, wonder, or awe. How does it affect people’s energy levels?

  • How did people feel before going outside? How do they feel now? Did they notice a change?
  • Ask people to imagine a calm, wonderful, or awe-inspiring place – was it somewhere in nature?
  • What does it feel like to watch wildlife? Did people enjoy watching anything in particular? Do some plants and animals bring more joy than others?

Talk about how everyone feels about damage to the environment.

  • How do people feel when they see litter or learn about ways humans are damaging the planet?
  • What does it feel like to take action to help?

Discovery treasure hunt

Discover nature by heading out on a treasure hunt. How many items will you find?

Duration: 25 minutes

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On the flipside

Use your senses to see nature from a different perspective.

Duration: 20 minutes

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Sound fists

Relax and listen to the sounds of nature. Can you recreate what you hear?

Duration: 15 minutes

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Gratitude scavenger hunt

Tune into your emotions and sensations with this scavenger hunt with a difference!

Duration: 20 minutes

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Beauty

Use the art and music of nature to inspire creativity and celebrate what nature means to you.

  • Create some wild art
  • Take a photo of a flower
  • Visit an amazing view

Put this pathway into practice

Encourage everyone to take their time when they’re spotting and identifying nature. Can they notice different colours and shapes? Can they spot any patterns? People could notice the pattern of veins on a leaf or the different colours on an insect, for example.

Photos can be a great way to capture the beauty of nature. The group could take some photos while they’re exploring. They could try to capture something from a new angle, or do some close-up photography that brings out hidden details.

Nature’s paint palette

Can you find all the different colours in nature? Go on a walk and see what you can see.

Duration: 30 minutes

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Natural sculptures

Take a walk in your imagination. Can you recreate objects using natural materials?

Duration: 20 minutes

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Nature's orchestra

Get musical with nature – can you play your favourite tune with items around you?

Duration: 15 minutes

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Camera

Can you take a photograph without a camera or smartphone?

Duration: 30 minutes

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Meaning

Notice how nature appears in songs and stories, poems, and art, and celebrate the mystery, signs, and cycles of nature.

  • Create a story about a tree
  • Map the journey of a bee
  • Read folk-tales about nature

Put this pathway into practice

Talk about what nature means to everyone.

  • Do they have a favourite place or a favourite view? Does anyone have a favourite memory of time they’ve spent in nature? If people haven’t spent much time in nature before, they may be making their favourite memory right now!
  • Think of a famous painting or poem – is it about nature?

Talk about the seasons when you’re doing your activities. 

  • What season is it now? Look around – what clues does nature give people?

Waggle dancing

Become a buzzing bee and use signals to direct your teammates to the right flower.

Duration: 45 minutes

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I wonder why

Have you ever stopped and thought… why? Practise curiosity with this simple activity.

Duration: 30 minutes

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Living art

Ramble and reflect by using natural materials to create a poster of the animals and plants you see along the way.

Duration: 60 minutes

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Tracking

Create a trail for others to follow using tracking signs and symbols.

Duration: 45 minutes

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Compassion

Take action to look after the natural world.

  • Feed the birds
  • Plant some wildflowers
  • Take part in a beach clean

Put this pathway into practice

A lot of the Generation Green activities are about how people can care for the natural world and take action to help nature.

  • Make sure everyone is involved with your project and understands what they’re doing and why.
  • Talk about how a big part of being a Scout is being kind and helpful – this goes for the planet as well as people.
  • When you’ve finished the programme, help everyone to think about the difference they’ve made. How they can continue to care for nature?

Heroes hike

Hike across your local area, and spot the issues and challenges it’s facing. Can you take action and help?

Duration: 120 minutes

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Commitment stones

Experience your local environment and make a commitment to protect it.

Duration: 15 minutes

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Guided tours

Where do different plants and animals live? Lead a guided habitat tour and decide what you could do to help improve the area.

Duration: 20 minutes

Get started

Create a wildlife reserve

Create a micro wildlife reserve and show it to your friends.

Duration: 30 minutes

Get started

Download our free postcards

Postcard for young people

Suitable for all age groups. Here are five brilliant and important ways to make nature part of your life, from creating wild art to doing a beach clean or making a bird feeder.

Get your copy (PDF, 0.5MB)

Postcard for leaders

A postcard for young adults with suggestions on how to improve your relationship with nature. Tips include tasting blackberries from hedgerows and reading folktales about nature. Take a look.

Get your copy (PDF, 0.7MB)

Share your stories

If you're taking part in a Generation Green activity, have fun adding our GIFs to your Instagram stories and spread the word!

Here's a quick guide:

  1. Open Instagram and click on the + sign in the top right corner
  2. Find the ‘Story’ option and tap on it
  3. Choose a photo you would like to share
  4. Select the GIFs button (it's a square icon with a smiley face)
  5. Search for 'YHA' or 'Generation Green'

From there, you can get creative and add as many GIFs as you’d like.

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