As parents, we are always trying to get our kids to stay active. But it can be hard when we don’t know what to do or suggest to them. So, today, we want to take the guesswork out of playtime and get you and your kids outdoors and hands-on in nature.
An active lifestyle is healthy and so beneficial, so encouraging these great activities at a young age will help ensure that kids of all ages grow up with a genuine appreciation for their surroundings. The activities here are some outdoor learning activities that serve as excuses to get outside and nurture a love of nature.
Strap on those boots; let’s get moving!
Getting Kids Outside
While many little ones love to play outdoors, without games or ideas, they can get bored fast. Preschoolers, after all, have a pretty short attention span, as do many older kids. When this boredom hits, kids may turn to spending time inside. Maybe they’ll start with board games, but we know eventually, they will resort to video games or TV.
While downtime is essential, it’s important we keep our kids motivated and active. Here are a few reasons why you should keep kids moving and playing outdoors whenever possible.
Why Outdoor Play Is Important
Getting kids to play outside can improve the health and well-being of children at any age. Not only will it keep them healthy, but kids do love playing outdoors, but it can be hard to stay encouraged.
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However, keeping them active and going outside for fun will help them create normal routines that involve outdoor play. Once those routines are instilled in them and become the norm, they’ll reach for the rainboots and sunhats, not the tablets.
What Kids Can Learn From the Great Outdoors
Not only will it improve their overall physical and mental health, but playing outdoors can teach kids so much about the world around them. They will learn about life cycles, plants, and how trees grow.
How Kids Grow From Outdoor Adventures
Climbing trees and skipping rocks isn’t only about fun; it helps kids hone in on their motor skills. Using their hands, arms, and legs in tandem to perform these activities will help them gain coordination and dexterity. The best part is they’ll be having so much fun they won’t realize how much they’re learning.
Kids can also engage in critical social and emotional play while outside. They have a higher likelihood of meeting new kids at parks and green spaces, helping them interact with peers who may have different play styles or interests.
10 Fun Nature Activity Ideas
We have ten amazing and fun nature activities for you and your kids, and you need to try them all. They’ll each allow your kids the opportunity to expand their minds, explore natural materials, and broaden their understanding of the world around them. Most importantly, these nature crafts and other fun ideas help your kids create core memories with you.
Let’s get down to the fun:
1. Bug Hunt
If you’ve got a critter-loving kiddo on your hands, a bug hunt is a kids' activity that is right up their alley. You can do an internet search for a few different bugs in your area, maybe make a few printables for them, and go on a search.
You can even find a few bug-catching items to help you take a few home if you’re into it — as long as you have a good home for the little guys.
2. DIY Rock Art Projects
Some kids are natural artists who always make sculptures with playdough or have pieces of paper and crayons strewn around their bedrooms. These kids would absolutely love to go to the local park searching for nice rocks to paint.
You can start by going on a nature walk or hike and find a few nice boulders that have a flat surface or are large enough to paint.
Then, bring them home to your art studio and let your little Picasso run wild with the paintbrushes. This art activity also counts as a form of sensory play, which is always a bonus for your growing learners. You could also create nature art with pine cones, acorns, or other natural objects. Perhaps these projects will be a new centerpiece for the table or a decorative wreath for the door.
3. Flower Crowns
For all the princes and princesses in your home, a flower petal crown is a fun way to gather flowers and make a craft to be proud of. Kids will fine-tune their fine motor skills while weaving the flowers together and get to be creative with colors and flowers used for their own personal crowns.
4. Nature Journals
If you and your family love taking nature walks after dinner and talking about your days, try making a leaf book to hold special memories. Scan the ground while you walk and find interesting or unique leaves.
Pick the leaves up, and when you get home, press them into the pages of an empty journal. To add extra sentimental value to the book, write a few words about the walk itself and if you talked about anything special.
5. Nature Scavenger Hunt
If you have younger kids that are starting to learn about the natural world around them, a nature scavenger hunt is the perfect way to learn about the flora and fauna in their backyard.
Make a booklet or a checklist of plants, animals, and bugs that you should expect or would like to see and check them off during your excursion as you find them. Learning about the place they live will also help your kids to expand their knowledge and be more confident in their explorations.
6. Nature Terrarium
It can be a science experiment of sorts or a fun first “pet” for your kids, but a nature terrarium is a fun and aesthetically pleasing nature activity. They can collect dirt, wood chips, plants, and other natural items to create a woodsy scene in a glass bowl or empty fish tank.
For a simple DIY terrarium, all you need is a
- Container (glass or durable plastic — clear)
- Activated charcoal
- Small sponge
7. Bird Feeder
Help your kids develop a love for nature by showing love for the local bird community.
You can purchase a ready-made kit or create your own from scratch to hang in your backyard or at the edge of the woods near your home.
From macrame orange feeders to bird feeders made from soda bottles, check out the DIY bird feeder of your dreams. Birds will be grateful for a place to rest and eat!
8. Nature Color Checklist
For the youngest ones in the house, help them learn colors and shapes by finding those colors in nature. Make a checklist of certain colors you want to find on your hike, and help your kid play a game of nature eye spy.
Plus, on rainy days, this activity can even be done by peering out the window!
9. Nature Walk
A nature walk without any expectations or games can also be a fun and relaxing activity for you and your kids. With so much stimulation in the world and at school, your kid might need a peaceful pastime or outlet for quiet. It’s wonderful to have a place to turn our brains off overdrive and be in the moment.
These are all great ways to have fun outdoors with the kids, but you’ll need to remember a few items to keep them and yourself safe.
Below is a checklist to help make sure that everyone has fun and no one gets hurt.
The right clothes can keep you and your family safe against bug bites, scratches, and scrapes from thorns or tree branches. Wear lightweight clothing to keep getting overheated, but be sure to wear denim or durable materials (like windbreakers) that can keep you safe from bug bites.
Mosquitoes and other biting insects can bite right through materials like Spandex or nylon, so steer clear of these fabrics. Be sure to wear long, thick songs (and pull them over the pant cuff) to protect ankles from ticks.
If you’re taking a walk through the neighborhood, standard tennis shoes are usually fine. But if you plan on going a little more rugged and you’re going to hike through the woods or up a mountain, then you’ll need to wear strong hiking boots. If you don’t have these, consider running shoes with strong bottoms to keep branches or sharp rocks from breaking through the soles.
Eyewear, Headwear, & Skin Protection
Keep your eyes and skin protected during daytime activities by wearing sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen. We can get sunburned quickly, which is especially dangerous for children’s sensitive skin. Find a children’s sunscreen with an SPF 50 to keep them safe.
Heads are the one place we often forget to rub some sunscreen. That’s why wearing hats is always wise — look for those with full, wide brims to keep the sun off the neck and sides of the face.
Sunglasses keep your eyes safe. Without sunglasses, your vision is impaired, and you may not notice something dangerous in your way. Plus, just like skin, the eyes are prone to sunburn.
All-Natural, Essential Oil Patches
Hiking can lead to many issues with allergies, so don’t leave home for a hike without adding a few AllergyPatches to your and your kids’ clothing. These all-natural essential oil patches will block the receptors in your brain that trigger allergy responses. You’ll be able to walk amongst the trees without sneezing your way through.
If allergies aren’t an issue, but bug bites are, we’ve got you covered. Our BuzzPatch is an all-natural essential oil blend of the top insect-repelling oils that will release periodically over an eight-hour period of time.
Mosquitoes find us when we exhale, but these oils work to block our carbon emissions from their radars. These patches keep us camouflaged from biting bugs so we can enjoy every minute of our time outside.
How To Get the Most Out of Your Day
You’ve got fun activities, and you’ve got tips and tricks to keep yourselves safe. But if you’re looking for something extra out of your outdoor experience, we’ve got just the thing.
Here are a few ways to get a little extra out of your nature activities with the kids:
Part of the appeal for parents with nature activities is the excuse to leave phones behind and truly connect with the local community. You and the kids will be able to unplug and truly immerse yourself in nature. While you’re out there, take the time to ask your children questions.
Ask them about their day, their friends, and any worries or moments of anxiety they’ve had recently. These questions can help them open up and be honest in moments that feel safe and comfortable.
Observe Their Behavior
If you try a few of these nature activities, watch your child closely. You’ll see the wonder, excitement, and curiosity throughout the entire experience. But there will be activities or aspects to these activities that excite them more than others.
Pay attention to the parts that seem the most enjoyable to them so you can gain more insight into what they enjoy. This will help them plan activities that are more personal to them in the future.
Sometimes things may go awry during some of the activities, and you’ll get frustrated. As parents, we know that something can go sideways at any given moment.
Instead of letting it deter the day or ruin the fun, stay positive and show your kids that a positive attitude can win every time. It will help them learn good and healthy habits for their emotions and positive ways to deal with unsavory situations in the future.
Tip: It can help to leave the park or end the activity while fun is still being had. Wrapping things up during an overstimulated meltdown can sour the memory and a child’s inclination to return.
Have All the Fun
These tips and tricks are sure to keep your day on track but don’t forget to have all the fun. The entire point of nature activities is to enjoy your day outdoors, so remember to keep fun as the focus, and everyone will leave smiling. With a bit of joy and dedication, every day can be Earth Day!