10 Easy and Fun Nature Activities to Get Kids Outdoors

One thing I am asked often by parents of older children is how to get them involved in nature and how to encourage them to get outdoors, well away from screens and technology.  Finding easy fun activities kids can get involved in is key to mindful nature activities that will keep them engaged and happy.


Very young children love nature, and from the earliest age will happily play in mud, stones and leaves or sand, pebbles and water, or whatever natural environment they find themselves in.  As parents all we need do is slow life down enough for them to get involved in nature, to observe and enjoy their surroundings.

But older kids may need more persuading to get outside, particularly if that is not something they are not keen on are not used to doing so much.  Here are some fun ideas for activities to get reluctant kids outdoors:

Make a Bug Hotel

One of the best actions we can perform for our local animals, from mini-beasts to hedgehogs is to provide homes for them.  Places where they can hibernate, refuel, rest and stay away from the rest of the world are key to survival.

This can be as simple as leaving out a saucer of sugar water with a pebble in the middle for bees and butterflies, and as elaborate as providing hedgehog homes, bird boxes and tables, bat boxes and bug hotels throughout your garden.  Making a bug hotel is something children of all ages can get involved in, from using woodwork skills to build a box to find suitable materials to fill it, and painting the outside.

Some ideas:

How to Make a Bug Hotel
How to Build a DIY Insect Hotel
How to Invite Wildlife Into Your Garden


Gardening

There are so many benefits to getting children involved in gardening, from learning about where food comes from and how plants grow to encouraging reluctant fruit and vegetable eaters to try something new.

Giving children ownership of a patch of ground and the means to garden there could be the ideal project for them - not to mention a great place for dolls and small world play.  I love the idea of creating these personalised stepping stones.

How to get them involved:

How to Teach Children to Garden
How to Encourage Imaginative Play Outdoors
How to Make Personalised Stepping Stones with Kids


Collect Natural Objects

In a time where we are all trying to cut down on single-use plastics, art supplies like glitter, stickers and sequins aren’t the most eco-friendly things.  Turn to Mother Nature for greener replacements like  leaves instead of paper, sticks you find instead of lolly sticks, flowers instead of glitter, and natural fruit and vegetable dyes instead of harsh chemicals.

Measure a length of card to each person's head then, leaving it flat, stick foraged green materials on to make a glorious natural crown.  Or you could make these pretty fairy bracelets.  Or why not collect fallen leaves and make collages or sew them together.  If the weather is fine take your materials with you and craft in the woods.


Collect natural materials to play games such as this cute natural noughts and crosses idea.


For younger children get them to use natural materials for scissor practice.


Rock Painting

Painted rocks are everywhere these days but, rather than hiding them for someone else to find, take some home and create a cute little rock village to play with.  Store them in a cloth or net bag and you have the perfect busy bag for car journeys, flights and restaurant visits.


Encourage Imaginative Play

Playing out in the garden isn't all about big toys like pools, climbing frames and mud kitchens.  You can go small word too by helping your child to make a fairy a garden or how about these adorable little Gnome Homes?


Growing and Foraging

Getting hand on with food is a key way to get kids eating new and healthier foods.  Wander the hedgerows in August and September to look for blackberries, pick hazelnuts in late autumn, and search for wild garlic and wild strawberries in the summer.  If you're not sure where to start try this guide to getting started foraging with kids.


Mushrooms are one of those things that I am wary about picking wild and would only do so with an expert on hand to advise.  But one way round this is to start growing mushrooms at home.


Nature Art

Lastly why not try making some nature art?  Try leaving art sculptures made from stones, twigs and leaves or make a fairy wand or leaf wheel to take home.  We're really inspired by the work of environmental artist Richard Shilling at the moment.

Shilling says it takes only 5 steps: stop, look, find, collect, create.


To make a spear of leaves, find a stiff stem, a smooth stick or a long stalk attached to a sycamore or horse chestnut leaf then search for leaves.  See how many different colours and varieties you can find, then push each one onto the stem or stalk to create a leaf stack to use as a spear.

If you really are stuck indoors, or to back up all that outdoor fun, Baker Ross have some great craft kits and activities with a nature theme, such as these:


Even for the most reluctant or screen-obsessed child there are ways to get them outdoors.  It just takes a bit of imagination to come up with an idea that will entice them out.  You could even offer to make some Minecraft mud bricks perhaps!

More inspiration:

8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Kids Active
How to Encourage Children to Get Out and Enjoy the Outdoors
7 Ways to Encourage Imaginative Play Outdoors
The Perfect Prescription for Happier Kids: Get Outside!
How to Make a Fairy Garden with Kids

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