Get kids to engage with the natural world and help plants, animals and insects thrive with these top tips from NatureScot.

The summer months had many of us spending more time outdoors as we enjoyed paddling pools, ice cream, BBQs and catching up with family and friends. School holidays may be over for some, but by encouraging kids to engage with nature, it can help them, wildlife and the planet.

Climate change and nature loss are huge global threats and we’re already seeing the impact in Scotland – 11% of our species in Scotland face extinction and nearly 25% of our wildlife has been lost, with more at risk. If each and every one of us commits to do something for nature, we have the collective power to help reverse this trend.


From bees, to butterflies and birds, NatureScot has suggested 10 ways to help everyone make space for nature on their doorstep.

1. Use your senses – moments are thought to be better than minutes in terms of helping us connect with nature. Set a task of noticing three positive things in nature each day for a week. This could be watching bees collecting pollen, listening to bird song, feeling different tree bark textures or smelling a flower. You may want to create a nature diary of your week.

2. Be a nature detective – gently peek under large stones for what has set up home underneath. Beetles, spiders, ants or worms – what can you see? Create a bug home out of twigs and leaves, and watch the wee beasties working hard.

3. Count the types of weeds close to your front door – gardeners may not love them, but weeds such as dandelions are actually a source of food for many pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies. Think of them as natural wildflowers.

4. Help local birds – add a bird box and feeders to your garden or outdoor space. Feeders that attach to windows are a great way to observe local birds, particularly if you don’t have a garden.


5. Spot the Big 5 or create your own – we’d all love to see Scotland’s Big 5 – the red deer, otter, red squirrel, golden eagle and common seal, but if you haven’t seen them (yet) – make up your own ‘big 5’ or ‘wee 5’. What five insects or birds have you spotted near your home or school? Learn a bit more about each species, rank them trump card style and decide which one trumps the other!

6. Be a nature scientist – get involved in this fun way to help your favourite wildlife. Submit sightings of birds, frogs, butterflies and more to let us know where wildlife is (and isn’t) and contribute to vital biodiversity and climate change research. See our full list of projects on the website (search citizen science).

7. Provide water for wildlife – ponds attract wildlife such as frogs, bees, newts and birds, but even using a washing up bowl of water or saucer of water on a windowsill can help. Add twigs or stones for somewhere insects can rest above water.


8. Litter pick – when outdoors take a bag and pair of gloves and, where safe to do so, dispose of litter you find. Whether in our oceans, parks, rivers, or woods, it’s dangerous to wildlife – animals get trapped or try to eat it. Much of our waste doesn’t biodegrade so will stay in our natural environment for years! Get neighbours, friends and family involved and clean up your area.

9. Get snap happy – take a photo or film of any animals, plants, birds or insects you find interesting. See what other school children have created using camera traps to capture footage of wildlife when no one is around! Be amazed at what lives nearby. Visit our website for videos from a selection of Scottish schools (search camera trapping).

10. Notice the lichens

– these attractive, but often overlooked, organisms can be an indicator of air quality, found in both urban and rural places such as graveyards, old trees and rocks. Look out for as many different ones as you can – you don’t need to know the names of them, just spot similarities and differences. Perhaps make up names based on what they look like and where they were found. 

For more ways to Make Space For Nature go to


This article is brought to you by NatureScot.