Get your crew outdoors and have some fun with these nature activities for kids.

From a free scavenger hunt and rock painting to mud art and fairy houses, here are simple and free ways for the children to connect with nature.

Nature Activities for Kids

While the list of simple outdoor fun can be endless, I’ve put together a list of ideas that both my students and my daughters loved doing.

1. Free Nature Scavenger Hunt

A nature scavenger hunt is a great way to engage kids with their surroundings.

Grab your free nature checklist here.

Create a list of natural items like pine cones, small stones, and different leaves.

This fun activity not only encourages exploration but also helps develop fine motor skills.

2. Nature Walks and Trails

Take a nature walk in your local park or nature preserves.

Bring a magnifying glass for a closer look at living things like insects and plants.

This is a perfect way to learn about the beauty of nature and different ecosystems.

3. Nature Crafts

Use natural materials like pine needles, tree bark, and small stones for creative nature crafts.

Nature collages and sun catchers are fun activities that allow kids to use their imagination and create beautiful art projects.

4. Sensory Play

Younger children will love sensory play with natural elements.

Create a sensory bag filled with different textures like sand, leaves, and small twigs.

It’s a great activity for a sensory experience that enhances their tactile learning.

5. Bird Watching

Bird watching is a great game that teaches patience and observation.

Use binoculars or a simple bird feeder to attract local birds.

It’s a fun way for kids to learn about different bird species and their behaviors.

6. Mud Kitchen

A mud kitchen in your own backyard is a fun activity that allows kids to play with natural materials and get a little bit messy.

It’s an easy way to encourage imaginative play and creativity.

7. Rock Collection

Start a rock collection by searching for different shapes and sizes of rocks.

Let your kids fill a basket with their favorite rocks.

The kids can sort the rocks based on size and color, count the rocks, make rock towers, or even lay the rocks out to make basic shapes.

Older kids can also paint the rocks with acrylic paint to create their own unique designs.

8. Nature Bingo Cards

Create nature bingo cards for a fun way to explore different items in nature.

This activity is perfect for both young kids and older children, making it a great time for the whole family.

9. Leaf Rubbings

Leaf rubbings are a simple craft that only requires a piece of paper and some crayons.

It’s an easy way to teach kids about different leaf shapes and textures while creating beautiful art.

10. Nature Journals

Encourage kids to keep their own nature journal.

They can document interesting things they find, draw pictures, and write about their outdoor experiences.

It’s a great thing for developing observation skills and a love for the natural world.

11. Animal Tracks and Bird Watching

Look for animal tracks during a nature walk or in your local area. Bring field guides to identify tracks and bird species.

This is a perfect spot for kids to learn about the animals that live around them.

12. Nature Bracelets

Create nature bracelets by attaching natural items like flowers, leaves, and small twigs to a piece of string or a strip of tape worn around the wrist.

This fun way of using natural materials results in a unique piece of wearable art.

13. Tree Trunk Investigations

Examine a tree trunk up close with a magnifying glass. Look for different textures, insects, and fungi.

This activity allows kids to get a closer look at the micro-ecosystem present on a single tree.

14. Nature Art with Mud

Create art using mud as paint.

Kids can use sticks, leaves, and other natural items as brushes to make unique and messy creations on a large piece of paper.

15. Nature Sounds Bingo

Make a bingo card with different nature sounds like birds chirping, leaves rustling, or water flowing.

Take the kids outside to see who can hear and mark off all the sounds first.

This is a great activity to tie into your Five Senses lessons.

16. Building Fairy Houses

Use natural materials like sticks, leaves, and stones to build small houses for fairies in your backyard or local park.

This activity encourages creativity and imaginative play.

17. Nature Weaving

Collect long grasses, reeds, and flexible twigs to create a simple loom. Kids can weave in leaves, flowers, and other natural items to make beautiful natural tapestries.

18. Nature Story Time

Read a nature-themed storybook under a tree in your backyard or at a local park.

It’s a great way to combine outdoor time with a love for reading and learning about the natural world.

19. Creating Nature Sculptures

Use clay or playdough to create sculptures incorporating natural materials like pine cones, leaves, and stones.

This activity allows kids to combine natural elements with artistic creativity.

20. Observing Cloud Shapes

Lie on the grass and look up at the clouds.

Encourage kids to describe the shapes they see and what they resemble.

It’s a relaxing way to engage with the outdoors and stimulate imagination.

21. Exploring Local Streams

If you have a local stream or creek, spend some time exploring it.

Look for small animals, interesting rocks, and plants.

A River Scavenger Hunt is a fun and educational way to learn about freshwater ecosystems.

22. Gardening with Kids

Plant a small garden with flowers, herbs, or vegetables.

It’s a great way for kids to learn about plant life cycles, responsibility, and the rewards of growing their own food.

🪴 The Secret to Gardening with Kids

23. Making Nature Faces

Use natural items like leaves, flowers, and twigs to create funny faces on the ground or attached to tree trunks.

It’s a simple and fun way to engage with natural materials creatively.

24. Collecting and Painting Leaves

Collect leaves of different shapes and sizes, then paint them with bright colors or patterns.

This activity combines art with nature and can create beautiful decorations.

25. Nature-Themed Treasure Hunt

Hide natural items like interesting rocks, feathers, and shells around your yard or a park and give kids clues to find them.

It’s a fun way to combine problem-solving and exploration.

26. Making a Sensory Path

Do you know the amazing health benefits from walking barefoot?

Create a sensory path in your backyard using different natural materials like sand, pebbles, leaves, and bark.

Kids can walk on it barefoot to experience the different textures.

27. Outdoor Science Experiments

Conduct simple science experiments outside, such as making a volcano with baking soda and vinegar, or observing the effect of sunlight on different materials.

It’s a fun way to learn scientific principles in the fresh air.

28. Creating a Nature-Themed Board Game

Design a board game that incorporates different aspects of nature, such as animals, plants, and natural habitats.

This is a creative project that can be played again and again.

29. Nature Photography

Give kids a camera or smartphone and encourage them to take pictures of interesting natural scenes, plants, and animals.

Your kids will develop observation skills and appreciate the beauty of nature.

30. Forest Bathing

Take a slow, mindful walk through the woods, encouraging kids to use all their senses to experience the forest.

This Japanese practice, known as Shinrin-yoku, can be very relaxing and grounding.

One of our favorite things to do as a family is spend time at the river.

Conclusion

These outdoor learning activities are some of the best ways to reduce screen time, boost immune systems, and improve physical health.

So, next time you’re looking for fun nature activities, try these creative ideas and enjoy the great outdoors with your kids!

Nature Activities for Kids