This post may include affiliate links and I may earn commission if you make a purchase through these links.

100 Easy Outdoor Activities for Kids

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know how much I value kids spending time outside. As parents it is up to us to choose to lead the way. Here’s the thing. You don’t need to live on a huge lot of land or have direct access to a state park in order for your kids to experience nature. You can live in an urban area, in a suburban area, or in the country. You can live in a house with a yard, or in a condo or apartment surrounded by skyscrapers–it doesn’t matter. Just remember that little people don’t need huge spaces. One tree can feel like a forest to them. So find that one tree, that little grassy area in the local park, the weeds growing between the sidewalk cracks and make it a priority for your kids to not just “see” nature but to experience it first hand.

Below is a list of 100 simple things to do outside with kids. Most are free or can be done at little cost.

  1. Go for a hike
  2. Spend an afternoon at a playground (sit back and let them play!)
  3. Find a tree to climb in your neighborhood or a nearby park
  4. Have a picnic on the grass, at the beach or find a picnic bench close by
  5. Let baby do some tummy time on a blanket with their hands in the grass
  6. Go for a walk for the purpose of collecting “treasures” (rocks, acorns, pine cones, burrs, twigs, feathers)
  7. Let your little one use their “treasures” to create art
  8. Sign up for a Tinkergarden class
  9. Lay on the grass and watch the clouds (this is a great mindfulness activity)
  10. Seek out puddles for splashing (check out my gear guide for getting kids outside in the rain and winter)
  11. Set up a tent in the backyard for a simple “camping” overnight
  12. Purposely go barefoot in a mud puddle
  13. Collect berries, leaves and fallen pedals or leaves and make “soup” (just bring any old pot and wooden spoon outside with a little water–you’ll be surprised at how long this entertains kids)
  14. Roll down a grassy hill
  15. Sit outside at night and listen for sounds. Talk about the sounds and what kinds of animals come out at night.
  16. Draw in the dirt with a stick
  17. Go on a scavenger hunt looking for specific things–things that start with a specific letter or things that are a specific color
  18. Play in a creek
  19. Skip rocks in the ocean, lake or stream
  20. Build a fort outside (either with natural materials or bring some blankets and pillows out if you aren’t feeling as adventurous)
  21. Paint magic sticks (find a large stick, let the kids paint it and decorate it any way they want)
  22. Garden (plant wildflowers, easy to grow veggies, let your kids weed)–we love this real garden set for our kids
  23. Go outside and see if you can figure out the direction of the wind
  24. Go outside during the different seasons and make a list of what makes each season (have them describe what they see, smell, feel, hear)
  25. Set up a tent outside, no need to sleep there just use it as an invitation to play
  26. Make a bird feeder
  27. Use binoculars to bird watch
  28. Go to a local farm to learn about the farm animals
  29. Take a few of your favorite books outside and read on a blanket
  30. Collect rocks and use them to build something
  31. Eat a meal outside
  32. Go for a walk and just talk about what you see
  33. Go for a clean up walk and use sticks to pick up litter
  34. Throw rocks into a river to see how big the splash can be (find rocks of all different sizes, make guesses on how big the splash will be, throw the rocks in and talk about the outcome)
  35. Have your child do school work outside (even just bringing their computer and sitting on a blanket or in a chair outside is a simple way to reconnect with nature)
  36. Go outside when it’s super cold and take a few deep breaths–talk about how it feels to breath cold air (you can also do this when it’s humid out)
  37. Visit a nearby mountain or nature preserve
  38. Go for a walk around your neighborhood in the rain (you close enough to home so getting wet isn’t a big deal)
  39. Catch rain drops in your mouth
  40. Use sidewalk chalk to draw outside
  41. Paint rocks
  42. Make mud pies
  43. Walk or bike to a destination nearby versus taking a car
  44. Collect bugs
  45. Help rake leaves
  46. Make a pile of leaves and roll around in the pile (then rake them back up!)
  47. Help shovel snow
  48. Play hide and seek outside
  49. Finger paint using mud
  50. Make bark or leaf rubbings (put paper over tree bark or leaves, use crayons to rub the paper leaving the markings of the leaf or bark)
  51. Go outside to look for butterflies, bumblebees, dragonflies
  52. Hunt for rocks with moss (my kids love moss!)
  53. Find fallen logs or big rocks to climb
  54. Make a collection of different colored leaves (see how many they can find)
  55. Bring a sensory bin outside and fill it with water or dirt
  56.  Build a snowman or make a snow angel
  57. Go sledding (even if it’s only a small hill!)
  58. Look for wild berries and use them to make “magic potion” (don’t let them eat unless you are certain the berries are edible)
  59. Ride a bike or a scooter somewhere local
  60. Make a flower crown
  61. Make a nature tic tac toe board with four long sticks–use pine cones, acorns or rocks as the pieces
  62. Use a magnifying glass to identify bugs
  63. Wash toys–bring a bucket of soapy water and a sponge outside and let the kids wash toys (and whatever else they can find)
  64. Fly a kite
  65. Play tag
  66. Play catch or kick a soccer ball around
  67. Go for a swim
  68. Build a backyard fire (make sure to do this safely!)
  69. Fill some water cans and water plants
  70. Look for large rocks or logs to lift up and see what’s underneath
  71. Go to the beach and build a sandcastle
  72. Star gaze and talk about constellations
  73. Build a fairy house with anything you can collect outside
  74. Dig a hole and bury some treasures (anything small like acorns, leaves, small rocks)
  75. Make a leaf boat with large green leaves and sticks–set them to sail on a river or even in your sink
  76. Pick flowers and practice arranging them in a vase
  77. Catch fireflies
  78. Build an obstacle course with natural elements (rocks, logs, trees)
  79. Make a DIY pulley system–throw a rope over a tree branch or post and tie it to a bucket. See how much they can pile into the bucket
  80. Flatten a cardboard box and use it to slide down a hill
  81. Examine an ant hill with a magnifying glass
  82. Find a Free Forest School nearby
  83. Make or buy a mud kitchen (we love ours from Etsy)
  84. Visit a local farmer’s market
  85. Take a nap outside (in a hammock, on a trampoline, in a lounge chair, on a blanket)
  86. Take some pots and pans outside to use as drums
  87. Make a mandala out of leaves, sticks and pebbles
  88. Bring paint or crayons and paper outside and use nature to inspire art
  89. Collect different natural materials in mason jars and see if you can guess what they are by smelling them–(try fresh cut grass, lilacs, dirt, mint) close the lid and leave out in the sun for a little while to help maximize the smells
  90. Lay on the ground and listen to sounds–try to make a list of all the sounds you hear
  91. Dig for worms
  92. Go for a walk at night and “chase the moon”–just allow your little one to follow the moon and see where it leads you
  93. Make a nature collage
  94. Paint your driveway with washable paint using your hands and feet
  95. Run through a sprinkler
  96. Practice cutting grass or weeds with scissors
  97. Harvest garden veggies or fruits (help pick and put into a basket)
  98. Find a local place to pick apples, pumpkins, berries
  99. Plan a camping or “glamping” vacation. My family went here and it was amazing!
  100. Let your little one take you on an adventure outside–just let them lead the way

If you’re looking for more information about the importance of play and tips to reorganize your playroom check out my e-book:

 Simply Play: Everything You Need To Know About The Most Important Part of Childhood which you can buy here for only $4.99.

If you like this post and want to read more like it then check out these articles:
The Ultimate Outdoor Gear Guide
The Ever Growing Importance of Outdoor Play
Type of Play for Development
Toy for Toddlers: Encouraging Active Play
7 Essential Playroom Spaces (and why you need them)
The Power of Play
What I’ve Learned about Early Childhood Education