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15 Outdoor Activities for Kids That Will Nurture a Love of Nature

It's never too early to start nurturing a child's connection to nature. These outdoor activities for kids are easy, accessible, and incredibly beneficial.

outdoor activities for kids
Written by
Calin Van Paris
spent in nature
is essential for children. Not only do outdoor activities foster confidence and independence, but research
also shows
that children excel both physically and emotionally when spending adequate time in green spaces.
If you want to foster a love of nature in your children, you've come to the right place. From birdwatching to beach cleanups to
identifying plants
, here are 15 outdoor activities for kids to get you started.

15 Outdoor Activities for Kids

1. Go Birdwatching

outdoor activities for kids
Grab your binoculars and look to the skies. Learning to spot and identify our avian friends is a great way to
practice mindfulness
in nature, increasing knowledge around and empathy for these special winged creatures. Like "I Spy," but better!

2. Forage for Craft Materials

outdoor activities for kids
The power of a good
DIY project
(often rediscovered in adulthood) comes naturally to kids. Instead of heading to the nearest craft retailer, get hyper-sustainable by sourcing your materials from a neighborhood park—or even your own backyard.
Opt for items that have already done their part within their own ecosystems, like fallen branches or leaves, pebbles, and more.

3. Try a Beach Clean-Up

There are
5.25 trillion pieces
of garbage in our oceans—and that number is only increasing. Days spent by the sea are even more meaningful when coupled with a
beach clean-up
. Bring a
washable trash bag
beach clean-up kit
and challenge your little ones to collect as much trash as possible.

4. Visit a Local Farm

It's never too early to learn about food systems. Take time to pet animals, pick and purchase crops, and chat with local farmers about agriculture and how much work (and how many resources) it takes for our meals to reach our plates.

5. Identify Insects

outdoor activities for kids
Bugs are vital to the health of our ecosystems. Combat the narrative of ickiness and fear by spotting and naming
in the wild. You may even find a new favorite!

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6. Take a Sensory Walk

Staying in tune with nature (and ourselves) involves a radical act: paying attention. Help your kids slow down and soak up their surroundings with a sensory walk, encouraging them to use all of their senses along the way—safely, of course.

7. Go Camping

outdoor activities for kids
Sleeping under the stars is an accessible means of making memories. Whether you head to a
national park
or host a campout in your own backyard, a night spent outside is a fun, family-friendly activity that lends to a lifelong appreciation of nature.

8. Fly a Kite

Flying a kite is a timeless, joyful, low-impact pastime that teaches children about aerodynamics. Invest in an eco-friendly flyer, or make your own out of upcycled, recycled, or biodegradable materials. The effort will pay off in endless hours of in-flight fun.

9. Visit a Local Garden

outdoor activities for kids
Stop and smell the
—and all of the other blooms that adorn your area
. This activity can be as simple as walking the streets around your home and observing your neighbors' gardening efforts, but a field trip to an area botanical garden is also a worthy (and easy) outing.

10. Draw What You See

Allow your kids to embrace their inner artists while observing the natural world by asking that they sketch what they see! Bugs, birds, plants, and other wildlife provide inspirational fodder for any art project. Just step outside—your muses await!

11. Take a Dip

There's nothing quite as refreshing as heading to the nearest natural body of water and diving in! Beat the heat and stay active with a visit to an ocean, river, lake, or pond, the better to kick and splash around (with supervision!).

12. Identify Plants

As with flowers, insects, and trees, learning the names and uses of herbs and plants makes the natural world all the more meaningful. Invest in a guidebook or download a
plant identification app
and let your child channel their inner plant detective. You'll be surprised by what you learn, too!

13. Have a Picnic

Meals taste even more delicious when eaten outside! Pack your favorite snacks (or even an entire dinner!) into a basket, grab your go-to
blanket, and have your next family meal al fresco—the better to enjoy the sun, the breeze, the clouds, and even the stars.

14. Take a Hike

outdoor activities for kids
A walk in the woods (or along the coast, or through the flatlands) provides heart-healthy cardio and immediate grounding. Talk with your kids about what's happening in their lives as well as what they see around them—the possibilities for connection are endless.

15. Try Rockhounding

Collecting rocks is a forever kind of thing. Rockhounding is a term for this common practice, an act of amateur geology that helps kids understand the planet from the ground up. Plus, once polished, rocks can make for incredibly pretty (and eco-friendly) gifts and decor.