We love being outdoors, it is in our blood! The kids are happiest when they have unstructured play. Exploring, jumping in puddles, playing with sticks, beach combing, climbing trees and the list goes on!
If you are looking to encourage your children to get outdoors then I have 10 ideas to inspire you to play in nature.
Collect flower, leaves and other objects which get arranged on the special Sunprint paper. We even experimented with a snake skin.
The paper is then covered with an acrylic sheet and left in the sun for around one to five minutes. The special sunprint paper goes through a chemical change when exposed to the light. The objects leave a print on the paper, rinse the paper underwater to set the image.
Ta-da, now we have some beautiful sunprints.
If you would like to make your own sun print we picked up our Sunprint Kit from Biome.
What is Geocaching I hear you ask? It is an outdoor treasure hunting game using a GPS. You need to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache hidden at that location.
Geocaches can be found all over the world and the locations can be quite diverse. They may be located at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater or on the side of a city street.
If this sounds like something you would like to try then you can read about our experience here. Plus there is more information on how to join.
Add a touch of Nature to your playdough
Give the children a bucket and set off on an adventure looking for treasures! Go walking in the bush or beach. Anything special they find gets put into their bucket. Once the kids have collected enough items it is time to add a touch of nature to your playdough.
We make our playdough using a simple no-cook recipe I found here. The kids used all the things they had collected to make patterns, shapes and pictures in their playdough.
Make Animals from Nature
This is such a simple idea but so much fun. Get outdoors, go for a walk and collect lots of natural objects. Use the items you found to make animals. You are only limited by your imagination.
We used bark and shells to make our animals but you can make them interesting with different shapes and textures.
Hello Nature is a book filled with interesting facts about nature and lots of activities for children. Some of the activities are simple things like collecting leaves and then drawing pictures of them. While other activities are more involved like making a bird feeder.
There is a section for each season and the activities relate to the relevant season. You don’t have to stick to the seasons as many of the activities can be done any time of the year.
Hello Nature is suitable for all nature enthusiasts aged 8 and over. You can buy the book here.
Beach combing is a great way to explore the coastline. Natural items wash up on the shores from the waves and tides.
We often find sea sponges, cuttlefish bones, sea urchins, shells and sea glass.
Don’t think that you can only do this activity in the summer. Rug up and head off in the winter months as well. After a storm is a perfect time to go as who knows what you will find washed up on the beach.
Paint Gum Leaves or Rocks
Collect gum leaves and rocks and give them a paint job, you can even add some glitter for some extra bling!
In Western Australia, there is a facebook group called WA Rocks. People paint rocks and hide them for others to find. Go on a treasure hunt and look for painted rocks. The facebook group can be found here.
Join a Nature Play Group
Create your own nature playgroup and get outdoors on a regular basis. Go bushwalking, observe nature, play and explore new locations.
It is a great way to meet new people and connect children with nature. Play Group WA has a list of existing Family Nature Clubs that you can join here.
Don’t go to the supermarket for your fruit. Get outside and pick your own. Many farms and orchards open their gates so you pick your own fruit. Not only does it get the children outside they learn where food comes from and which fruit is ripe to pick.
The ultimate nature play activity is to go camping! The children can get as dirty as they like and spend all their time in nature. Take a hike, go swimming, star gaze and cook on an open fire. We love to camp in national parks as you have more space and you are surrounded by nature.
If you are looking for a place to camp click here for all my campsite reviews.
Do you enjoy Nature Play? What is your favourite nature play activity?
** Some of the links in this post are affiliated links. If you click to buy an item, I make a little commission but you don’t pay any extra. **
If you want to keep up with what is happening on Let Me Be Free you can follow on Instagram here and Facebook here.
27 thoughts on “10 Nature Play Ideas”
There’s some amazing ideas here, that book looks amazing too. We are nature play people and have done some geocaching and we love foraging for fruit around our local area, like apples, mushrooms and walnuts!
Good to hear that you also love nature play. I haven’t been geocaching for a while and I must do it again soon.
I pity the kids who have never camped.
It is surprising how many kids don’t get outdoors these days.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I went for a wander on my local beach today (the first in a while) and saw so many gorgeous shells and coral and debris. So great for craft!
I tried drilling holes in shells to make something and didn’t have much luck!
I remember making the sun pictures & animal pictures & doing “scavenger” hunts in the local state forest when Sarah was little. These days I love a good rake around a high tide line & a look-see in the rock pools. You never lose your wonder with nature. #TeamLovinLife
There sure is something about nature!
These are wonderful nature play ideas. They sure beat making mud cakes! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife
Still nothing wrong with making a good old fashioned mud cake!
These are all such great ideas. I really like the Geocache idea. I guess it’s like hunting Pokemons, only there are no Pokemons? Who puts the things there that you need to collect? Clearly I need to read into this more. But definitely worth investigating. I think my teens would totally get into this. As would the grandparents and the grand bub #teamlovinlife
The person who starts the geocache puts something in the box. If you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), leave something of equal or greater value.
What excellent ideas – that’s quite a beach haul you have there!
Thanks, don’t worry I did leave some shells behind!
My goodness, so many wonderful ideas! I had so much fun as a kid playing outside (we lived next to bushland).
I grew up in the country and we were always playing outside. It sure was a wonderful childhood!
Hi Anne! My darling 3 year old grandson loves nature and last week we were searching for Rainbow Lollikeets (as he calls them) in his backyard. You have given me some great ideas as I mind him each week and am always looking for new things to do together. Thanks for the tips.
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Enjoy spending time with your grandson x
I loved reading this and seeing the wonderful pics. When I minded our grandchildren we would often make things from nature. I am more kinaesthetic than I realised I love holding my shells and various other things I have collected.I am actually taking a very small collection to hospital to help me stay grounded when I am recovering. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week will be the last link up for a while. My blog post of this week explains the reason.
That is so nice that your are taking your own little bit of nature to the hospital. I hope it really helps you. All the best x
So many amazing ideas! Thank you for sharing them and the links. I’m a bit lazy when it comes to play activities. This will change.
I hear what you are saying. I need my nature fix so I find it encourages the children to go bush walking if they are excited to find “treasures”
You are right kids are definitely more happy when we n the outdoors with nature!! Thanks for the ideas !
No worries, I hope you use some of these ideas.
[…] how do we love nature play! Any chance to get outside, we are there. This photos just makes my heart sing! Muddy puddles and […]
great post for school holiday inspiration.
[…] 10 Nature Play Ideas […]