7 Easy and Free Outdoor Activities for your Kids

As a non-crafty-homeschooling mother of three boys, I understand the pressure of living a pinterest-worthy life. Moms are always expected to be stocked with a closet of kids craft supplies, like every shade of craft paper, pom poms, and pipe cleaners. 


Yeah, that’s not going to happen. 


I’m here to tell you that isn’t realistic. It just isn’t. It also isn’t necessary for your child’s learning and development. Instead, give yourself a break. Children actually learn best when they are given tools, support and encouragement, not riged rules and strict expectations. 


Remember, for children, these projects are about the process, not the product. This is why they can spend hours filling a bucket with sand and dumping it. Over and over. Children create themselves through play. They learn from doing. 


So don’t worry. Even when your project is a complete flop, it happens! This is real life and real life means things rarely go according to plan. What children need most isn’t a perfect activity, but time with you as they process, explore, and learn. 


Tori Caswell

Tori Caswell


With this in mind, here are 7 Easy and FREE outdoor activities for your kids to try this summer:


Float or sink

Choose several containers, like plastic tubs or pots and pans. Have the kids help you fill them with water. Then hypothesize if these objects will sink or float. Test each item. And play!


Ice cube observation

Take ice cubes outside and observe them melting. Place them in different spots, such as a cup of cold or warm water. What happens? Kids will be learning about solid and liquid states. 


nature journal


Nature journal

Use string or staples to create a homemade book. Then, tape samples of leaves, flowers, and seeds to the pages. Teach your kids how to use their five senses to observe what’s around them. Have them draw pictures of things too big to place in the book. This can be done daily as a way of enjoying routine.


Bike/wagon/scooter wash

Wash outside toys by hand using a bucket of soapy water and rags. Rinse and repeat. Encourage your children to pretend by acting out being a customer and employee. 


Paint with natural brushes

Go on a scavenger hunt for anything that could be used to apply paint to paper. Then set up some paint and paper and see how they work! This may morph into finger painting.


nature house


Play dress up outside

Hats, shirts, bags, capes, buckets, whatever you have that is or could be used to dress up, encourage pretend and imagination by moving this activity outside for the day.


Scavenger hunt

Create a simple hunt tailored to the season and age of your kids.  Send them out with a sack to gather treasures. How many different kinds of leaves can they find? With older kids, hand over your phone and a list and task them with taking pictures of everything on the list – a bird, a bug, an anthill, a cloud.  They’ll love showing you their pictures!

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