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If you’re ready to get outside, then we have a fantastic of collection of nature activities to take with you. Science doesn’t just happen indoors; you can easily take it outdoors with various projects, printables, fun tips, and more!

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Supplies for Nature Activities

💡TIP: Check out the world through a magnifying glass.

Gather a few supplies to start and create a basket of nature science tools for your kids to access whenever possible. This is a great way to invite them to explore outdoor science anytime.

You could include:

  • Binoculars: For bird watching and observing distant wildlife.
  • Magnifying Glass: To examine plants, insects, and other small natural objects up close.
  • Field Guides: Books or apps to identify plants, animals, and insects.
  • Nature Journal and Pencils: Drawing, writing observations, and taking notes.
  • Containers or Bags: For collecting natural items like leaves or rocks (if allowed).
  • Bug Catching Kit: Nets and containers for safely catching and observing insects.
  • Camera: A basic camera or smartphone for taking pictures.

You can also start a small library of kid’s nature books to encourage further research for everything they collect, find, and discover during their outdoor activities. We have a few favorites already! Grab the free poster below [here].

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Nature Activities For Kids

💡Check out the nature activities below to explore science outdoors. You’ll find many great ideas to get you started in our free nature activities pack.

Citizen Science

Look into starting or joining a citizen science project in your area or online. Learn more about what citizen science is all about with our free guide. Kids can become citizen scientists!

💡Guide to citizen science projects with kids.

Outdoor Art

Nature is a fantastic playground where you can enjoy more art and get messy! From rain to ice and so, try outdoor art projects this season.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Go on a scavenger hunt in the outdoors. Print out a backyard scavenger hunt here.

Soil Science

Dig up a patch of dirt, spread it out, and examine the soil in your yard. Try looking at soil samples from a couple of different locations. Notice the color and texture of your soil. What else can you find in the dirt?

💡Dig into the mud and grab the free mud kitchen recipes printable!

Geocaching

Try out geocaching! Check out what’s in your area or nearby for a new kind of adventure. Learn more here with outdoor apps.

Make Sun Prints

Create sun prints with construction paper and then hang nature indoors.

Build A Sun Shelter

Building a sun shelter is a great STEM challenge. Learn about the negative and positive effects of the sun’s rays on people, animals, and plants

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Explore With Your Senses

Be aware of your senses when you are outdoors in different locations! Use and learn about your five senses in nature. Draw them in your nature journal! Grab the free summer senses activity here.

Create A Nature Journal

Start a nature journal. Either buy a blank notepad or composition book or make your own. Additionally, our printable Nature Activities Project Pack has fun journal prompts.

Ideas for your nature journal:

  • Plant seeds and record their process with words and drawings.
  • Measure rainfall over a month and then create a graph showing the amounts.
  • Draw interesting things you observe outside, from beautiful sunsets and flowers to cool-looking bugs.
  • Pick a tree, plant, or insect around you to learn more about. Research and draw it. Create an informational book about it!
  • Write about your yard from the eyes of a squirrel, ant, or bird!
  • Try the One Square Foot project!

Plant A Garden

Get planting! Start a garden bed, grow flowers, or a container garden. Learn about what plants need to stay healthy. We planted a container garden on our porch. You can see the fruits of our labor here.

💡Check out our gardening activities for kids and free guide!

Study and Track Your Local Weather

What kinds of weather patterns does your area experience? Make a wind vane or a cloud viewer and work out if the clouds you can see will bring rain. A DIY rain gauge will measure rainfall. Graph the daily temperature. Take a few weeks and get creative with this one!

Photo Journal

If you can, use an old camera or your phone and have kids take pictures of their favorite things in nature over a month or so. Assemble a book and label the different pictures. Talk about any changes you notice.

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Bird Watching

Take up bird watching! Set up a bird feeder or hang birdseed ornaments, grab a book, and identify the birds around your house or classroom. Make a bird watching basket and keep it handy with binoculars and a chart of common birds for your area. This is a cool picture we captured at home.

Collect Rocks

Start a rock collection and learn about the rocks you find. We mined for crystals and had a blast.

You don’t always have to take the rocks home with you! We love to examine rocks on the trails, too. Bring a paintbrush to clean them off. It’s a great way to explore the outdoors in its natural state and leave no trace. 💡Learn more about geology for kids here.

Build A Bee Hotel

For a few simple supplies, you can build a bee house to help the garden’s pollinators. You can also make an insect hotel for the garden’s bugs.

💡Learn more about pollinator activities for kids [here].

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Explore Water Sources

Collect and examine pond, river, lake, and ocean water. What can you find living in the water? If you haven’t used a telescope before, now could be a perfect time to try one.

Trail Maintenance

Participate in a trail clean-up and learn how litter affects the quality of animal habitats and health. You can also learn about trail erosion and the Leave No Trace policy.

Make A Compass

Make a homemade compass and use it to navigate from one point to another.

Build A Fort

Build a stick fort. What type of building style makes a strong fort?

Nature Boats

Can you build a floatable boat? The challenge is to use only natural materials! Then, find some water and have a boat race.

Create Nature Art

For outdoor STEAM, use natural materials to create a work of art. You can try leaf rubbings, nature weaving, mandalas, or a simple masterpiece to hang on the wall.

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Build A Fire

If possible, though with plenty of adult supervision, build a campfire. Learn about fire safety, what a fire needs, and how to extinguish a fire. Roast a marshmallow or two if you have the time!

Sleep Outside

There’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars and listening to the sounds of nature at night. Learn about what animals are nocturnal! Camping with kids is a great way to immerse yourself in nature, even if it’s in your backyard.

Study The Stars

Take up star gazing. Grab our constellations printable and see which ones you can find. Or try to add these constellation playdough mats to sensory playtime. Older kids will also enjoy this DIY planetarium.

Cloud Identification

Look up and explore the cloud formations overhead. Make a cloud viewer with a free printable cloud identification card.

Printable Nature Activities Pack

Take this nature pack outdoors for hands-on learning!

  • Nature theme writing prompts make for the start of a fantastic outdoor nature journal.
  • Explore nature-themed STEM challenges that encourage your kiddos to use supplies found in nature and natural materials to complete.
  • Discover the birds in your backyard, and learn how to make different kinds of kid-friendly bird feeders.
  • Observe a favorite flower or leaf, and go on a scavenger hunt or two!
  • Discover how to set up a one-square-foot backyard jungle project.
  • Explore what it’s like to be a collector and set up your own collection.
  • Explore the senses outside
  • Simple leaf science activities with leaves including leaf rubbing, how do leaves breathe, and leaf drawing.
  • Start a seed jar and observe how a plant grows even under the ground!
  • Build an insect hotel for your garden using natural and found materials.

BONUS: Pinecone Pack included!

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13 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great tips! Our children love geocaching, so that’s one activity I can fully recommend. Last weekend we actually got out on our bikes for the first time this year and did a bit of geocaching together…

  2. It is a lot of fun and can really help younger kids build up those hiking miles on their legs!

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  8. wow! so clever though. a simple way for kids fun. I just love this idea. Such a creative thought. kids must love this idea. Thanks for such a good idea to share with us.

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