Taking kids into nature is great for their minds, bodies, and souls. Try out these 25 nature activities with your kids to inspire nature play.
Getting your kids outside doesn’t have to be difficult.
You may have heard of the 1,000 hours outside challenge. It was made to combat the hours that kids are spending in front of screens and increase the amount of time kids are outside.
Outside challenge or not, any time spent outside in nature is a success for your kids.
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Why It’s Good to Get Kids Outside in Nature
Nature play is a great way to give your kids some time to reconnect with nature.
Not only does nature provide great sensory stimulation, but having your kids do nature activities can help your kids relax, reduce stress, help build muscles, and keep your kids active.
Running, climbing, investigating, and jumping are only the beginning when it comes to nature play.
Your kids will come inside tired and will go to bed easier at night (a mom can hope).
Nature Activities Kids Love
1. Nature Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of items for your kids to find. Find a printable nature scavenger hunt online if that is easier.
Once you have completed one nature scavenger hunt, have your kids create the scavenger hunts for next time.
Many different nature activities can tie into a nature scavenger hunt.
2. Make a Nature Collage
Go on a nature walk and have your kids pick up some items for a nature collage.
The kids should arrange the items on a sheet of paper to create a nature collage.
Use liquid glue to attach the items to the paper.
3. Become Nature Detectives
Pull out the magnifying glasses and take a closer look at nature to become nature detectives.
Worms, bugs, mushrooms, and leaves all look new when they are magnified.
Put a piece of clear packing tape around your kids’ wrists with the sticky side facing out.
Go on a nature walk and find items to put on the tape.
Flowers, sticks, and leaves all work great to make a nature bracelet.
Once the tape is full of nature items, the bracelet is complete.
5. Bake Mud Pies
After it has rained is the perfect time to send your kids out to play.
Have them make some mud pies out of the mud.
6. Jump in Puddles
An old favorite– puddle jumping!
See who can make the biggest splash or what happens when you walk through the puddles.
Your kids may like riding their bikes through the puddles, too!
7. Roll Down a Hill
Find a hill and enjoy rolling down it. Rolling is great for sensory and muscle development.
Use items from nature and make a spot for fairies to visit.
Bark, moss, and twigs make a great nature fairy house.
9. Create a Dam
Another rainy day activity is to create a dam.
See if your kids can come up with a way to prevent the water from moving in a stream.
10. Puddle Bridge
Challenge your kids to make a bridge to span the width of a puddle.
11. Make a Boat
Design and create a boat to float in a puddle.
Turn it into a math lesson by seeing how many stones or pennies the boat can hold.
12. Nature Journaling
Bring a blank notebook outside and have your kids draw or write about something outside that is inspiring or eye-catching.
Your kids may want to nature journal after doing other nature activities so they remember what they have worked on.
To learn more about nature journaling, check out our post here.
13. Pinecone Bird Feeders
Collect pine cones and then put peanut butter on the pine cones.
After that, roll the pine cones in birdseed.
Finally, wrap a string around the pine cone and hang it from a tree.
Don’t have pinecones available? Make a Peanut Butter Bird Feeder instead!
14. Bird Watch
See how many different kinds of birds your kids can spy.
This may be a great activity to pair with nature journaling to keep track of what the birds look like.
Later the kids can help to look up what kinds of birds they saw.
15. Nature Rainbow
Go on a nature scavenger hunt to find items that are the colors of a rainbow.
When you get home, put them in rainbow order.
To help organize what you collect, use an old egg carton to sort out the items.
If you have younger kids, use a marker to put a colored dot in each of the egg holders.
This will help them to keep track of what colors they have collected and what colors they still need.
16. Nature Suncatcher
Nature art is always a winner when it comes to helping kids appreciate the world around them.
Use clear contact paper to make a nature suncatcher.
Have your kids put different items like leaves, flowers, or grass on the contact paper.
Cover the items with a second piece of contact paper so the items are sealed in between the sticky sides of the contact paper.
Hang in the window to enjoy.
17. Make Buddy Rocks
Find the perfect rock and paint it.
Put some eyes and a smile on it to turn it into a new friend.
Keep it or give it away as a gift. Get directions here!
18. Nature Ice Blocks
Put bright-colored items from nature (like flowers) into a container with water.
Put the container into the freezer and allow it to freeze.
Take the ice block out of the freezer and place it outside.
You can time how fast (or slowly) the ice melts.
Observe what happens to the flowers inside as the ice melts.
Or put the ice block in a sensory table and try to rescue the flowers from the ice block.
19. Play Sink or Float
Gather items from nature to test if they sink or float.
If an item has a shell, take the shell off (if possible) and see if the item sinks or floats.
20. Leaf Rubbing
Put some leaves under a sheet of white paper.
Take the wrappers off of some crayons and lay the crayon on its side. Rub the crayon back and forth on the paper.
The shape and veins of the leaves below should appear on the paper.
21. Paint with Nature
Use sticks with pine needles, pine cones, leaves, bark, and whatever else your kids find to paint with instead of using paintbrushes.
Take it a step further by using items found in nature to create paint (mud, mashed berries, etc).
22. Make a Bug Hotel
Use sticks of varying sizes to pack into a small cardboard box.
The sticks will need to lay flat so the ends are pointing out of box.
Fill in the rest of the hotel with leaves, cardboard tubes, and bark. Leave outside for bugs to find.
Chlorophyll is what makes a plant green. Its job is to help the plant make food through photosynthesis.
To paint with chlorophyll, have your kids collect leaves.
Fold a sheet of paper in half and put the leaves in between the sheets of paper.
Use a metal spoon to firmly rub back and forth on the top paper.
Open the paper up and use the leaves to paint.
Ball up the leaves to make them easier to paint with.
24. Make a Shadow Person
Turn a shadow into a person by using items found in nature for eyes, nose, mouth, and hair.
This will require bending down to put the items for the face on the shadow, which may move the shadow.
This is a great way to strengthen muscles, and it creates a challenge for your kids.
25. Free Play in Nature
Some of the best nature games and activities are created by allowing kids to play outside.
Not everything needs to be a structured activity.
Unstructured nature play is easy on Mom and easy on the kids.
Let them be bored in nature. This is how discoveries are made!
With so many activities to choose from, there are sure to be a few nature activities that your kids would love to try. From nature scavenger hunts to nature collages to unstructured nature play, hours of nature fun awaits!