When the weather is nice, gets the kids learning outside. Gather up a few supplies and head outdoors for a fun afternoon filled with favorite backyard activities that include nature science ideas, outdoor sensory play, and early learning activities with books and board games.


Backyard activities for kids in a small backyard! Our backyard activities include nature science ideas, outdoor sensory play activities, nature drawing and play dough, printable backyard scavenger hunt, gross motor play, and more!

Backyard activities can be as simple as bringing indoor activities outdoors! Take games, books, simple science, drawing materials, and more outside for outdoor early learning and play.

Don’ have a table? Grab some blankets! Our backyard activities kept us engaged in sensory, science, math, art, and literacy activities along with some soccer!

Explore STEM and STEAM too which is science, technology, engineering, art, and math with our 31 days of outdoor STEM ideas. STEM is the world around us and kids can be so curious, so let’s encourage a love for learning, inventing, and exploring.

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges? 

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy STEM challenges. 


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Backyard Activities Set Up On Table


I turned a simple pallet into a science table and added great science tools that can be left outside!

Outdoor Sensory Play

I hadn’t had a chance to make up a birdseed sensory bin yet and had an unopened bag waiting for the right day! Perfect for taking outside. The mess will not go to waste and will be safe for the animals too.

 Learn how to make sensory bins easily here. I added very simple tools for him. A couple scoops for us to play together, a funnel (favorite item), a paper tube, and a milk jug I made into a scoop (sort of)! Tactile sensory play is perfect for early learning, check out our resource guide for sensory play.

You could also add a bird book and talk about the birds you might see in your yard!

Backyard Birdseed Sensory Bin Play

You can also whip up one of our favorite sensory play recipes, sand foam! Super easy to make and it washes away easily.

Nature Study Box, Nature Hunt, & Play Dough 

Backyard activities definitely have to include nature! The next activity was an empty wooden box, magnifying glass, and our homemade play dough.

My thoughts were to collect nature items from around the yard, look at them, and explore them with the play dough. We did this together and collected different items. The playdough morphed into a stick tree creation that kept him quite busy!

I also love this outdoor nature walk with play dough exploring the textures of different trees, leaves, rocks, and anything else around.

You can also make your own backyard nature discovery bottles and explore nature samples from your backyard! See how we made our backyard discovery science bottles here.

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges? 

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy STEM challenges. 

Backyard Nature Collecting Activity

 Nature Science Ideas for Outdoors

We have a bunch of awesome, practical, and pretty realistic activities for kids to explore nature science ideas outside. This year I put together a comprehensive list of great activities you can send your kids out to do that are both simple to set up and budget friendly!

SET UP A BACKYARD JUNGLE! So easy and fun for outdoor science and doesn’t require a lot of prep or supplies.

ALSO CHECK OUT OUR: 31 Days of Outdoor STEM activities!

Scavenger Hunt

Use our free printable backyard scavenger hunt! Or print it out and take it with you to the park! There are two options to try.  The first scavenger hunt sheet is one that you can fill in to make it more specific to your area. The second option explores the senses either in your backyard or out on a hike!

 Nature Journal

Plan to bring out drawing supplies including pads and colored pencils or crayons. You can help your kids start a nature journal that they can bring along on different trips. Encourage them to find something that interests them and draw it and describe it depending on abilities. Here are some great outdoor journaling tips.

Build a Water Wall {if it’s warm}

Work together and build a really fun and cool way to explore water outdoors! Kids of all ages will have fun putting a water wall together using items you may already have.

Set Up A Toy Zip Line and Pulley System

These two ideas are always winners for us and so simple to do! Kids will be occupied with this for hours! Here’s how to set up a toy zip line and here’s how to set up a bucket pulley!


Board games are great for early learning math skills, turn taking and social skills! We enjoy playing board games everyday! I chose a selection of nature/animal games for us to play!

Books And More Books

We read many many books everyday. We have so many books and lots about animals and nature, so I brought those out to add to our backyard activities!

 Gross Motor Fun

You can easily incorporate simple gross motor fun into your outdoor learning experiences. Gross motor activities can develop coordination, self-control, and teamwork!

Incorporate body movement while learning about shadows. Try out a classic song too. Read more about how we played with shadows here.

There are super simple ways you can add fun to a smaller backyard and on a smaller budget. We show you how to add very fun elements to your backyard to keep younger kids busy on days you don’t go to a park. You will see we don’t have a playscape in our backyard.

Stepping logs are one of our absolute favorite backyard play items!

A speed ladder is a lot of fun and a great addition to an outdoor obstacle course!

We really enjoyed our backyard activities together and actually spent a good deal of time with each one! We played several games, read all the books, scooped birdseed and hunted for nature around the yard together!

Sometimes a little preparation has a big pay off, but none of these activities were anything more than what we already had. Outdoors made it a bit more fun.

Backyard activities can be all sorts of things! Don’t forget the soccer ball to burn off some energy!


More Great Outdoor Learning and Play Ideas. Click Photos.


25 Summer Science Experiments Outdoor Activities

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges? 

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy STEM challenges. 


  1. The best part of Spring it taking the learning outdoors! Thanks for sharing your ideas at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop!

  2. What an idea! Really Amazing thought. Kids will inspired to learn with fun. It will grow kids creativity. Really inspiring for kids. Kids must loved it. Thanks for such lovely idea.

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