Engaging with nature during COVID-19

Last updated on October 29, 2020


Illustration of a woman walking outside in some trees

We may be in some form of lockdown, but don’t forget to take time to go out into your garden – if you can – or spend a few minutes everyday at your window observing the world outside. As we enter spring, you should be able to spot plenty of wildlife and indications of the change in seasons.

OCN has put together a collection of the resources that will hopefully give you some inspiration for a bit of nature watching. Use them as reference or as activity sheets and if you have any suggestions, send them to us at the bottom of the page.

Printable resources

Although a lot of the resources here have been created for educational settings, they can be informative and engaging for adults too. In this section we focus on those which you can print off.


The birdwatching resources are provided by the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts. Print off one of the worksheets below – or just open it on your device – and start to see what birds are active in your neighbourhood. Although this is easier with a pair of binoculars, you should still be able to give it a go without.

Insects, spiders and other bugs

Our insect and arachnid friends will continue their day to day operations unaffected by the current situation. You may choose to focus your activities on garden visitors such as butterflies or get to know your spider house guests. These insect-related resources can be printed off or used on your device and completed at your leisure.

get_appLinks to printable insect activity sheets and other materials
The Big Butterfly Count is not currently going on, but don't let that stop you from doing your own.

Mammals and other animals

For anyone fortunate enough to live in the countryside or have a garden that may be visited by intrepid urban mammals, here is a selection of resources that can you can print off or use on your tablet, computer or smartphone.

get_appLinks to printable animal activity sheets and other materials

Virtual nature

A wonderful aspect of modern technology is allowing us to experience amazing nature from around the globe using only our smartphone or tablet. Whether you want something to provide background noise for a little relaxation or love nature documentaries, there is a lot of content out there.

Nature documentaries

Documentary series like Blue Planet are a staple of Sunday night TV for generations in the UK. Many of these are still available to watch online via the BBC iPlayer, YouTube and other streaming services.

There are some links below to get you started.

To relax

There are thousands of nature videos on YouTube alone that are designed for relaxation, ranging from woodlands in the UK to tropical rainforests and coral reefs. These videos are often several hours long – including a ten hour film of oceanscapes from BBC Earth – so you can have them in the background as you do other things or you can dip in for a few minutes at a time.

There is a playlist below do get you started, but you will find many, many more videos on YouTube, Vimeo and similar websites.

get_appNature relaxation videos