Backyards are the habitat that’s closest to home. It’s easy to get outside in the backyard to explore nature and there is much more going on than what you might expect. Below you’ll find a list of backyard habitat resources including scavenger hunts, stories, art ideas, fun videos, and much more! Let these resources help guide you in your own backyard habitat explorations!

Table of Contents

Use the links below to help navigate to the information you are looking for:

Story Time: Finding Wild

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd, Pictures by Abigail Halpin

Sing Along: I See Clouds in the Sky

Join Ottawa County Parks Naturalist Guide, George Jaeger, as he sings a song he composed to commemorate a beautiful day outside. Feel free to sing along!

Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Explore your own backyard using this scavenger hunt as your guide (click to see it larger). What else can you find?

Macaroni Kid Outdoor Hunt

We partnered with the Ottawa County chapters of Macaroni Kid (Grand Haven, Spring Lake, & Muskegon and Allendale, Hudsonville, & Zeeland) to develop another fun scavenger hunt!

Videos: What’s that Bird I Hear? Backyards (Part 1 & 2)

Have you ever wondered what birds you’re hearing in your yard or local park?  These videos are a virtual guide, each one helping you learn 10 common bird songs of backyards, neighborhoods & urban parks.  Each bird includes a song and a description of what you’re hearing.  After watching, try practicing what you’ve learned by watching the corresponding Soundscapes videos below!  For more on birds, their songs and how to identify them click here for a free online bird guide.  We hope you enjoy learning while you listen!

Videos:  Backyard Habitat Soundscapes (Part 1 & 2)

After Listening to the “What’s that Bird I Hear?” Videos above, try listening to these corresponding soundscape videos that include the same bird songs.  See how many you can identify before the answer pops up on the screen!  For more of a challenge, see if you can hear and identify the bird songs in the background of the soundscape.

Backyard Birding Videos

The Ottawa County Parks Nature Center is closed, so our resident birder and Parks Naturalist Curtis Dykstra, set up some of the feeders at home so he could share them with you with these fun and informative videos! You can find them here or by clicking the image below!

Backyard Art

Below are some links to different nature art projects you could do right at home or in your backyard!

DIY T-shirt Tote Bag

Nature Journals

Build a Fairy House 


Additional Backyard Resources

In addition to the backyard activities from Ottawa County Parks & Recreation, we also want to share other excellent resources with you.  All of the following videos and activities have been reviewed by our Naturalist Team and you can be sure the information is accurate and appropriate for children. Use them to dig deeper in your backyard habitat explorations!

Nature in OUR Neighborhood – Michigan DNR

This video series from the Michigan DNR’s Outdoor Adventure Center focuses on special signs of spring we can all observe as we are spending more time in our own backyards. There are many great videos in the series, so don’t forget to check them all out!  Click the image below to see the whole playlist, or click the direct links to some we chose for you.

Nature in OUR Neighborhood- Bursting Buds: Check out this short video from the Michigan DNR’s Outdoor Adventure Center about a special sign of spring we can all observe as we are spending more time in our own backyards. There are several other great videos in the series, so don’t forget to check out those too!

Neighborhood Creature Quiz! Neighborhood Rodent: Looking to test your detective skills? Check out this great video from the Michigan DNR geared for students in 2nd through 5th grade. Can you figure out which Michigan rodent is featured in the video?

More of our favorites from the Outdoor Adventure Center

Hoppin’ Habitats

Bird Symphony

Nature Narrative

Brown Snakes

Garter Snakes and Ribbon snakes

Garlic Mustard Pull

Outdoor Discovery Center – Backyard Learning Crusade

This crusade will help you explore YOUR personal natural world. We know this will be a big adventure and you won’t have to travel far at all!  During your crusade you will have a chance to observe, explore, investigate, learn more, and share about our topic while getting a great chance to be outside…All in your own backyard!  Activities are designed for Pre-K through grade 8.  Click on the image below to go to the main website or or click the direct links to go to specific curriculum topics.

Backyard Games & Fitness

Backyard How-to

Bird of a Feather

Beneath My Feet

Small World Big Changes

More Outdoor Activities

Below are additional links to activities you can do to engage with nature outdoors!  Have fun exploring!

Sensory Hike (preK-2)

Sit Spots (3-6)

Meet a Tree (3-5)

Micro hike (3-6)

Springtime Seed Hunt (K-2)

Nature Inspired twig tac toe

Create with Nature (1-5)

How to make a sundial (2-6)

Outdoor Journaling for middle and high school students

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