Here are 100 no-prep and low-prep activities for kids that you can try just steps from your home, right in your own backyard! Sometimes getting outdoors is a challenge, but this free printable checklist can help! I hope these simple prompts will help your family spend more time outdoors this year.
These are great activities to try at home during long breaks from school or if you are just trying to spend more time outdoors as a family! I included activities you can try year-round and in all types of weather to encourage outdoor play throughout the year. Some of these activities will keep kids entertained for a while and some will only last about 10 minutes. My hope is that these prompts will get you out the door and inspire you to stay out longer!
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1. Lay in the grass and cloud gaze. Do you see any shapes or animals?
2 Go bird watching. How many different types of birds can you find? What are they doing?
3. Paint nature. You can paint sticks, rocks, or any other types of nature you find.
4. Look for animal tracks. Bring a magnifying glass and look closely at the details! Check out this indoor extension activity for when you are back inside.
5. Watch the sunset. What colors do you see in the sky?
6. Go puddle jumping.
7. Make mud pies. Decorate them with flowers, rocks, leaves and sticks!
8. Paint nature with water. Just bring a paintbrush and water outside and you are all set!
9. Pick up sticks and put them in piles. Who can make the largest pile? Sometimes the easiest activities keep kids busy for the longest amount of time!
10. Make a stickman. See the directions here.
11. Pick up garbage. The spring thaw is happening here so there’s always a few pieces of garbage to collect in the ditches that surround our home. This might inspire a larger clean up in another area!
12. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. You will get a free nature scavenger hunt when you subscribe to the blog! You can also find another fun scavenger nature journal here.
13. Make a nature bracelet. You just need some contact paper and nature!
14. Create land art. Collect pieces of nature and make beautiful designs and pictures. This also looks beautiful in the snow!
15. Make a fort. We like using Stick-lets when we build outdoor forts.
16. Make tree and leaf rubbings. Just tape paper on a tree or put leaves under a piece of paper and rub a crayon over the pieces of nature.
17. Search for bird nests or other animal homes. What animals do you think live in the homes?
18. Go on a mushroom hunt. How many different types can you find? What colors are they? Can you identify them?
19. Search for signs of the changing season.
20. Make letters out of nature. Sticks make great straight lines. You can make curved lines with rocks, leaves and flowers!
21. Count pieces of nature. Line them up and practice one to one correspondence. One-to-one correspondence is an early learning math skill that involves the act of counting each object in a set once, and only once with one touch per object.
22. Thread beads on sticks. Work on fine motor skills, color recognition, patterns, and so much more with this fun outdoor activity for kids!
23. Build a bonfire. Tell spooky stories and make these fun mummy rocks.
24. Play flashlight tag at night.
25. Make up a story together about an animal that you spot. What is the animal doing? Where is it going? What is it’s name?
26. Bring a basket of books outside and read them together!
27. Free play! Let the kids go outside and choose the activity.
28. Draw pictures with chalk.
29. Blow bubbles.
30. Bring a favorite toy outside.
31. Make a nature tic-tac-toe board.
32. Make nature prints. Paint pieces of nature and stamp them on paper.
33. Play tag or chase. Play sticker tag and try to put a sticker on the other person as you tag him/her.
34. Look for bugs. How many can you find? Can you identify them?
35. Make art. Bring a large piece of paper outdoors with crayons and markers. There is a lot of inspiration outdoors!
36. Weave nature. Cut a piece of cardboard, wrap rubber bands around it and weave pieces of nature!
37. Stack snowballs. How tall is your snowball tower before it falls over?
38. Sort nature by color, size or shape.
39. Collect pieces of nature. Use an egg carton to collect and sort. Here are some fun extension activities for the nature collection!
40. Have a picnic outside.
41. Wash your car.
42. Give your baby dolls a bath or wash toy cars in a large bin with water!
43. Make sun prints on this special paper.
44. Play a sport together.
45. Make nature jars. Just fill water in jars and just add nature!
46. Make a special flower hiking stick.
47. Set up a musical area outside. Here is a musical hiking stick that we love to make and use on our nature walks!
48. Make a nature sensory writing tray. You can cut leaves, flowers or pine needles, put them in a tray and practice writing letters, numbers, or drawing pictures in the tray.
49. Drop items in a puddle or bucket of water and see what sinks and what floats.
50. Jump in a pile of leaves.
51. Shovel snow.
52. Make a stick crown. Paint sticks and hot glue them to a thick strip of card stock.
53. Cook a meal outside together. This doesn’t need to be complicated, just fire up the grill!
54. Run around the house 5 times.
55. Identify plants. Walk around your yard and find trees and flowers to identify.
56. Run through the sprinkler or set out the hose.
57. Make muddy tracks with toy cars.
58. Check the moon phase. Track to track it through a whole month long cycle.
59. Roast marshmallows and make s’mores.
60. Make a nature portrait. Use pieces of nature to make a face.
61. Climb a tree.
62. Paint nature shadows.
63. Make stick and stone constellations.
64. Color with nature. Rub flowers and leaves on paper and see the colors!
65. Search for seeds. What plants did they come from?
66. Make a hopscotch with chalk.
67. Look for symmetry in nature.
68. Make nature sun catchers.
69. Make a bird feeder. You can just find a pinecone and cover it with peanut butter and bird seed or try this low-prep bird feeder.
70. Paint with nature. We mashed berries and drew flowers with the nature paint.
71. Go stargazing.
72. Beginning sounds in nature. Point at different objects in nature and figure out their beginning sounds. Flower= f, grass=g
73. Freeze nature or toys in ice. Then give kids some things to help them dissolve the ice such as a bowl of warm water and some eye droppers.
74. Make mud faces on a tree. Put mud on a tree and use nature to make the face. The pieces of nature will stick to the mud!
75. Use sticks to draw in the mud.
76. Make a nature puzzle. Collect pieces of nature in your yard, trace them on a piece of paper, and match the items to the correct outline. Here is an example with leaves. You can use a variety of nature or just one type as pictured below.
77. Take photos of nature together.
78. Find flowers to press. You can make flower rocks with them!
79. Take binoculars outside and explore!
80. Listen to music together and sing songs.
81. Fly a kite.
82. Make a journey stick.
83. Get some duct tape and make a nature badge.
84. Throw a frisbee.
85. Make an icy sun catcher. Just freeze pieces of nature outdoors and hang it from a tree.
86. Hide a few toys or painted rocks around the yard and search for them. Don’t forget where you put them!
87. Go on a five senses walk. What do you see, feel, hear, taste, and touch?
88. Cut pieces of nature. Practice scissor skills and cut grass growing from the ground or fallen leaves.
89. Search for all the colors of the rainbow in nature.
90. Make sticky paper nature art.
91. Make snowy cookie cutter designs. Try different shapes and pictures.
92. Hug trees.
93. Put a hula hoop on the ground and try to throw objects in the hoop.
94. Plant something in the ground or planter.
95. Dig in the dirt. So simple, but a hit every time!
96. Stack and balance rocks.
97. Make a map of your yard.
98. Pick flowers and used them as paintbrushes. Pine branches will also work!
99. Start a nature journal. Go outside everyday and draw something you see in the journal.
100. Make a magical snow garden with snow and artificial flowers. Such a beautiful way to add color to a snowy white landscape.
Print off the checklist and challenge your family to check off as many boxes as possible!
Save it for later and Pin it!
I hope you give these activities a try! I promise, your little nature lovers will love them as much as my boys.