Numerous studies have shown that a little bit of what we like to call “nature therapy” can go a long way to restore our sense of balance and well-being. Whether you’re facing times of great uncertainty and stress or you’re just looking to get some fresh air, nature can help. However, it can be hard to find the motivation to step outside with the intention to enjoy nature when we have so much on our plates inside. This is especially true as we transition out of the carefree summer mindset and into the busy back to school schedule.
We are here to remind you that an outdoor adventure doesn’t have to include a well-planned outing far from home. It’s as easy as shooing the family out the door and into nature. Not sure what to do with the kids once you get them outside? We’re here to help! We have compiled this list of 30 easy, free outdoor activities you can do with your family this month. And the best part is, you likely won’t even need to leave your neighborhood to do any of them! As an extra bonus, we have partnered with our friends at L.L. Bean to create this gorgeous Back to Nature School Workbook, which is full of fun ideas to bring the learning outside in a fun, effective way.
Photo Credit Monique Vargas
Easy, Free Outdoor Activities to Get you Started
- Take a walk around your neighborhood. You can create a fun neighborhood scavenger hunt for the kiddos to complete, or check out our Back to Nature School workbook for fun ideas on how to include outdoor learning on your walk.
- Go for a bike ride around your neighborhood.
- Practice family-friendly nature yoga in nature.
- “Paint” with mud or water. See what masterpieces your kiddos can create!
- Identify local plants using a free app on your smart device (such as iNaturalist or PlantNet) and talk about the life cycles of plants.
- Ignite the senses by going on a sensory walk or backyard sensory exploration.
- Read a nature book outside.
- Build a fort. You can use anything available such as sticks, tree branches, a hammock, blankets, etc.
- Check out these fun printables to help your kids track the weather or the phases of the moon throughout the month.
- Birdwatch using binoculars. Don’t have binoculars? Here is an easy DIY craft to make your own with two supplies you are likely to have in your house right now: Duct tape and toilet paper rolls!
- Eat a meal outside. Check out this article for some fun bug-themed snacks to include. Ants on a log anyone?
- Go on a rainbow search. Search for items outside in every color of the rainbow, from a purple flower to a red tricycle. Keep track of your finds on the Rainbow Walk page of our Back to Nature School Workbook!
- Pitch a tent in your yard and camp or play in it.
- Stargaze and identify constellations. Check out this article for printable star charts showing the most prominent constellations by season.
- Bring crafting time outside! Whether you break out the watercolors, haul out the construction paper and glue, or just grab some paper and crayons on your way out the door, nature can be an incredible inspiration for creating art!
- Head out after dark and go on a glow stick or flashlight neighborhood walk.
- Go on a backyard scavenger hunt. You can make up a quick list of things for your kiddos to find such as a yellow flower, an ant, something rough, etc. Check out this article for more inspiration.
- Have an outdoor dance party. Play music on your phone or a speaker and dance away!
- Create an obstacle course using anything around you. Have kids balance on a log, crawl under a chair, hop over a rock, walk along a chalk path, the sky’s the limit!
- Play classic kid games such as freeze tag, hopscotch, Simon Says, red light, green light, or “Mother May I”.
- Make a nature journal and have your kids find a sit-spot outside to write or doodle whatever comes to mind.
- Play outdoor hide and seek with toys. You can hide dinosaurs, stuffed animals, etc. and have your kiddos find them around your yard.
- Pull out the sidewalk chalk to create masterpieces or write encouraging words for your family and others passing by to enjoy.
- Be a nature photographer. Let your kiddo point out what interests them and help take a photo with your phone. Or let older kids borrow a camera and see what they come up with.
- Search for images in the clouds. Want to take it a step further? Here is an article that explains the differences between the different types of clouds.
- Go on a backyard bug hunt. Grab a magnifying glass and search for spiderwebs, camouflaged critters, pollinators, etc.
- Play with sticks and see how many things that stick can turn into. Check out this adorable book for some “Not a Stick” inspiration.
- Bring out the water table or create your own with buckets or plastic bins. Grab some small containers such as old butter or yogurt containers and watch their imaginations go to work.
- Go on an alphabet, number, or shape hunt. Look for letters or shapes in the outdoors such as a rectangle brick or the letter V-shaped by tree branches. Challenge older kiddos to find the letters of their name or see if your toddler can find 3 different shapes in the backyard. Bring along the Back to Nature School Workbook for more ideas and handy sheets to keep track of their findings.
- Do shadow drawings of favorite toys such as dinosaurs or animals. Check out this article for more shadow drawing inspiration.
Photo Credit Ali Chandra
Enjoying the outdoors is as easy as stepping out your front (or back) door! Don’t forget to print out a copy of our Back to Nature School Workbook to make your outdoor adventures even more fun while sneaking in some learning along the way!