Trying to limit screen time for your kids this summer? Me too! Here are 25 nature-inspired summer activities for kids to get your children outdoors and away from the television. With just a few supplies, you can make this a summer to remember!
In an effort to make your life a lot easier (and mine too), I’ve compiled a list of 25 nature-inspired summer activities for kids right here so you have all the information you need at your fingertips! I’ve included links to a few supplies you need along with simple instructions. Here we go!
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Make sure to check out my best-selling scavenger hunt printables for more summer fun!
#1 Retell Your Summer Adventures With Story Stones
We are huge fans of story stones! My boys use them in many ways, but in the summer we use them to retell our outdoor adventures. After we go on a hike or nature walk, we get out our story stones and talk about what we saw and experienced during our adventure.
Want to know more about how we use story stones or how we make these beauties?- no artistic ability required, just a little Mod Podge ! Check out Four Ways to Use Story Stones in the Classroom or How We Used Story Stones on Earth Day
Ready to make your stones?! Click Here
#2 Make a Nature Badge
It doesn’t get any easier than this one! All you need is duct tape and nature. Just make a loop of duct tape, put it on your kids’ shirts and they are ready to make their own unique nature badge.
Want to learn more about this activity? Read Nature Badge
#3 Make Nature Words
This is such a fun and beautiful activity! We do this for every season and it’s interesting to see how the nature available to us changes throughout the year.
It’s super simple! Just cut the letters out of white contact paper and tape them onto a wall. Now start looking for pieces of nature and start decoration the letters!
Looking for a challenge? Try tying in early literacy skills! As you identify the pieces of nature, figure out their beginning sounds. If it starts with a letter in the word “summer,” stick it on that letter. For example, “mulch” and “marigold” both start with “m” so we stuck them on that letter.
Don’t want to cut out letters? Just write the seasons on a piece of contact paper and line the letters with nature!
Want to learn more about one of our favorite summer activities for kids? Read Our Favorite Seasonal Nature Activity
#4 Go on a Matchbox Scavenger Hunt
I love this activity! It’s a great way to discuss the different sizes in nature. We usually collect large sticks and rocks when we are outside, but this time we focused only on the teeny tiny pieces of nature we could find in our yard. I have to say, the collection is stunning!
Want to see more? Here is the Instagram post.
#5 Create Art With Berry Paint
I just loooove this summer activity for kids! Did you know that berries make the most beautiful paint? Its true! Just mash berries and grab your paintbrush. It’s that easy! I created this scenery starter for my little one to finish outside. This is nature journaling at it’s finest!
Next time we try this activity, I will use a large sheet of paper from a roll of paper and draw a simple scenery starter similar to the one pictured below. This way, we will have much more space for painting!
Want to see more? Here is the Instagram post.
#6 Make a Nature Bracelet
This incredibly simple activity is a classic. Don’t go another summer without making a nature bracelet! You can use the same contact paper that you used in nature activity #3, listed above.
Cut a little strip and wrap it around your child’s wrist. It isn’t double sided, so it won’t stick to their skin. Just add nature and you have yourself the most beautiful bracelet!
Want to see more? Here is the Instagram post.
#7 Create Beach Land Art
You don’t have to be at the beach to make land art, but it’s the perfect spot to find a wide variety of nature to create a beautiful work of art!
Check out this website to learn more about land art and how to try this timeless activity with kids!
Want to see how you can turn this into a learning activity? This isn’t JUST land art. See my Instagram post to find out!
#8 Make Nature Sensory Bottles
Try making a nature sensory bottle for a calming activity at the end of a busy summer day. The whole process is relaxing and this sensory experience will surely be one your kids will remember!
Just fill bottles or jars with water or oil and then place nature finds in the jars. The end result is beautiful and the pieces of nature are fun to observe in the jars!
We used random jars that we had around the house, but these plastic jars look perfect!
Want to learn more? Here is the Instagram post.
#9 Create With Sun Art Paper
This one right here is one of my favorite summer activities with kids! You only need the sun and a Sun Art Paper Kit to try this magical activity.
There are simple instructions on the kit:
- Select nature pieces
- Assemble the nature pieces on the sun paper and place acrylic sheet on top of paper
- Expose the paper to sunlight (1-5 minutes)
- Carefully remove paper from sun
- Rinse the paper for 1 minute
This process is so simple and the results are so stunning!
Want to see how we turned this activity into a game? See my Instagram post here to get all the details.
#10 Collect Nature in an Egg Carton
The egg carton is the absolute BEST container for a collection nature! Those little sections serve as the perfect spots for sorting and organizing nature.
Just make sure there were not cracked eggs in your carton because you don’t want to risk salmonella exposure. Better yet, if you have a plastic egg carton you can always wash it!
Want to see more of one of the best summer activities for kids? Here is the Instagram post.
This pretty label makes the nature collection even more special and beautiful! You can find it here at My Wild Finds.
#11 Make a Nature Mandala
There is nothing more beautiful than a nature mandala! However, they can be a little tricky for young kids to make. I solved that problem for you with these ‘mandala makers.’
Want to learn more about this beautiful and calming activity? You can read all about it here in How to Make a Nature Mandala with Kids.
See an example of another mandala maker here.
Ready to print your mandala makers? Click here
#12 Make a Nature Mask
Becoming a nature ninja turtle has never been so easy! My little guy loved turning this printable into a nature ninja mask and had even more fun running, jumping, and kicking his way through our next nature walk.
Make a mask today! You can find the mask template and much more at My Wild Finds.
#13 Make a Nature Picture
Have you ever tried dressing up a printable with pieces of nature? It’s a calming activity and the end result is always so beautiful! Check out these pretty butterflies below. Just decide if you want the colorful watercolor butterfly or black and white option and start creating! And remember, you can glue the pieces on or keep them loose.
Make a nature picture today! You can find the nature picture template and much more at My Wild Finds.
#14 Paint Wildflower Shadows
This is one of those activities that turned out so much more beautiful than I expected! We brought some paper outside and found a tall patch of wildflowers to paint with watercolors. My son loved painting the shadows and was so proud of the final result.
Want to see how we extended the activity? Here’s the Instagram post.
#15 Make a Nature Lantern
Work on those fine motor skills with this pretty nature craft!
How do you make a nature lantern?
- Put rubber bands around a jar. We used a plastic jar.
- Weave flowers through the rubber bands.
- Put a flameless tealight at the bottom of the jar.
This makes a beautiful centerpiece for the night or lantern for an evening nature walk.
Want to see more? Here is the Instagram Post.
#16 Make a Nature Crown
Nature crowns and be difficult to make. There tends to be a lot of weaving and tying involved and that is tricky to figure out. I think there is value in learning those skills and we will revisit other methods of nature crown making when the boys are a little older. For now, we like the method shown below. I printed out a crown template and let my boys decorate it with nature and glue. This is the perfect way to make a crown with little nature lovers! And now even a three-year-old can be the king of nature; even if it’s just for a day.
Make a crown today! You can find this crown template and much more at My Wild Finds.
#17 Make a Journey Stick
Here is another classic activity that everyone should try!
What is a journey stick?
A journey stick is a keepsake featuring items collected during a nature walk. These items could include things like sticks, flowers, feathers, or anything else natural that you find along the way.
How do you make a journey stick?
- Find a walking stick at the beginning of your adventure and wrap rubber bands around it.
- Collect items along the way and weave them in the rubber bands. We start at the top and work our way down to make it easier to track our adventure.
- Talk about your adventure when you get home and use the walking stick to retell your journey. This is such a fun way to discuss order of events!
Want to see more photos of our journey stick? Here is the Instagram post.
#18 Make a Sidewalk Game
We try to bring as many games as possible outdoors in the summer. Here is a simple early math game that I created:
- Make the game grid. Our grid was 5×5 and I wrote numbers 1-10 in the grid, in no particular order.
- My son rolled the giant dice, counted the dots on the dice, and said the sum.
- He found the sum on the grid and stacked a Lego tower as high as the number.
This game is simple to set up and so much fun to play!
#19 Make and Adventure Bag
I’ve recently come across the genius idea of making DIY adventure bags! You can make a special adventure bag for any type of adventure, but here is what we put in our BEACH bag:
- Funnels, strainers, water dropper, and a water bottle for water exploration
- Sand toys and a little pan for sand play
- A jar with clay to make shell and rock impressions. Another small jar to collect sea glass.
- An animal track identification book in case we find any tracks in the sand. The book “If You Find a Rock“ to spark creativity.
- Our adventure log from Family Trails, along with an ink pad to stamp something we found during our adventure in the log.
- Our magnifying glass and little nature journal.
Now get started on your own adventure bag and tag me #littlepinelearners on Instagram. I want to see it!
#20 Nature Weave on a Tree Stump
This is another one of our favorite summer activities for kids! You just need a tree stump, nails, rubber bands, and flowers to make this simple invitation to play.
How did we make this?
- Nail a grid into the tree stump.
- Place rubber bands around the tree stump and let your child put them on the nail to practice their fine motor skills. The rubber bands don’t need to be placed in any particular way.
- Weave flowers from your yard into the rubber bands!
Isn’t this beautiful?!
#21 Make Beaded Bug Stones
These make the perfect garden accessory or gift! It might look a little complicated but its actually quite simple.
How did we make these beauties?
- Thread beads on wire to look like bug bodies.
- Place the beads on the rocks and drew legs, antenna, and wings around the bodies.
- Wrap wire around the rocks.
Want to see how we made bead bugs on sticks? Read Insect Handcraft for Kids.
#22 Make a Water Bottle Vase
Here is a sweet alternative to the typical water bottle vase! This vase creates a full flower arrangement that will last for about a week!
How did we make this?
- Poke holes in a water bottle.
- Fill the bottle with water, below the last hole so the water doesn’t spill.
- Find flowers to poke through the holes and stick through the top of the bottle.
This is such a fun way to work on hand-eye coordination!
#23 Nature Weave on a Rock
Here is another incredibly simple activity! Just put rubber bands around a large stone and weave flowers through them. This is an inviting activity and a great way to work on fine motor skills!
#24 Make Lavender Ice Cubes
This is one of the most beautiful summer activities for kids around! Let me start by saying you don’t need lavender for this activity, but it sure does make for an incredible sensory experience! Freeze flowers (or any bits of nature) in an ice cube tray and take them outside on a hot day.
My boys made a maze, letters, and shapes out of these ice cubes before they melted! Want to see the pictures? Check out this Instagram post.
#25 Make a Wildflower Identification Board
Yes! Those are little tubes of water on our living wildflower identification board. I love this activity so much because it’s hands-on learning that turned into a beautiful piece of art!
Want more details on this activity? Read DIY Wildflower Identification Board.
#26 Make a Flower Hiking Stick
Are you looking for a beautiful nature walk accessory that will motivate your little hiker to explore the great outdoors? Here is the perfect idea for you! Make a flower hiking stick out of flowers and Mod Podge.
We used a piece of driftwood, but you can experiment on any type of stick. You can also whittle a section of a regular stick so you have a nice smooth surface to work with.
How did we make this?
- Put a little Mod Podge on the stick. We tried outdoor Mod Podge for this craft, but I think the glossy Mod Podge that we used in the first activity for the story stones would work just fine! Just remember to keep it inside or in the garage so it’s not exposed to the elements.
- Place the flower or leaf on the Mod Podge.
- Cover the piece of nature with another layer of Mod Podge.
- Continue until you are finished putting your pieces of nature on the stick.
- Wait about 20 minutes for it to dry and add another layer if needed.
You little hiker will love walking with this stick and will hopefully lead to more time spent OUTDOORS!
Want more details on this activity? Read How to Make a Flower Hiking Stick.
I hope you give these summer activities for kids a try! I promise, your little nature lovers will love it as much as my boys.
Looking for more fun ideas?! Check out Not Your Average Nursery Rhyme Activities
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