9 Nature Play Ideas to get your kids outside

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There’s nothing better than getting outside in amongst nature + creating some fun play activities. Playing outside is such a great way to develop healthy brains, bodies + imaginations. Here are nine ideas you can do at home or in the park.

1. Build a Tree House

There is nothing better than building a tree house to keep your little learners occupied for days or even weeks! Whether it is in a tree or self-made on the ground cubby houses are a great holiday project.

Treehouses can be as simple as a platform or an elaborate miniature house design. There are plenty of pre-built options, but the best fun is designing, planning + building one yourself.

2. Family Friendly Trekking or Biking

There are plenty of amazing places to go trekking for all age groups. If you’ve got littlies, start somewhere easy like the local botanical gardens or the beach.

We are super lucky to live in the Noosa Hinterland, so the options for walks, treks + bike rides are unbelievable! My little man loves hitting the Noosa Trails on his mountain bike, and both of them love climbing local mountains. Yep! Check this one out – they did it at ages 7 + 9 years old.

The great thing about walking, trekking + biking is that it gets the heart rate up, the fresh air in the lungs + keeps us all fit. On top of that, it’s free!

3. Build a Fairy or Troll Garden

Great for the littlies. Start by getting your little ones to plan what they would like to include in the garden. Go for a walk outside to choose the perfect spot to build the new home. Then get busy building things such as paddle pop stick chairs + tables, toothpick fences, gathering little plants in mini pots, rummaging through the toy chest to find long lost miniature toys that will work outside or take a visit to the local Op Shop to see what you can find.

We went for a little trip to the local garden shop so Miss D could choose some flowers to plant. You can always replant items you already have or use seeds to teach delayed gratification. The plants not only added colour, but they also added another level of involvement + also motivated her to water the plants every day.

WARNING: My daughter put her favorite fairies outside, one was a gorgeous little Tinkerbell with paper-thin sparkly wings. Unfortunately one day we went to check out the Fairies in their garden and Tink’s had disappeared. We guess an animal or bird took a bit of a liking to it as we found Tinerbell’s wings and feet a way down the garden – doh! So if you are using ‘favourite’ toys, remember to take them inside at night to avoid Possums or feathered thieves from claiming them as their own.

4. Gem foraging

This can be done on your own property or at a nearby creek or forest area. We have an area outside at home that has some very interesting little stones with an assortment of colours that one could call gems. If you don’t have interesting stones in your soil, you can always purchase a bag of gem offcuts easily found at most markets at the gem vendors’ stall. Loosen the soil and bury a few around the place. The little ones love discovering gems.

If you want to take it to the next step you can name the gems. Buy a gem identification book or google to find out what you have discovered.

5. Camping Staycation

My kids love this one (and so do I just quietly)! It’s the easiest camping you’ll ever do. Simply set up the tent with most (but not all) of the usual camping equipment and let the kids use their imagination to dream up their best camping adventure ever!

I learnt early on that it helps to have a few game rules in order to avoid everything from the house being transhipped to the campsite:

  1. Each camper can take 3 favourite teddies + 3 favourite toys.
  2. No food inside the tent without permission from a parent (a great way to avoid spillages + sticky messes inside the tent).
  3. What you take camping you must bring back in when the camping trip is over.

A little bonus is the kids are super keen to go to bed early so they get to spend more time in the tent! Win-win!

6. Natural Treasure Hunt

This is one of our favourites + can be done at home or out + about. It takes a little preparation though but not much + it keeps the kids entertained for a while. I’ve written a blog post outlining the instructions for the Natural Treasure Hunt here.

7. Gardens + Little Green Fingers

If you’ve got space and you are looking for something to keep your little learners occupied for a while, try planning + planting a veggie garden. You can start with seeds or seedlings. We like to add a few marigolds for colour + to keep away the bugs.

There are usually lots of discussions + questions as we go about preparing + planting. The best part of this activity is longevity. Little gardeners love to water the garden + pick the veggies when they are ready. In our case, it also helped a particular little eater actually try some salad greens! Bonus!

8. Science Experiments

NOTE: Depending upon the age of your children, adult supervision is most likely required.

Our favourite science experiment is baking soda fuelled rockets. Admittedly I have several failed attempts at homemade rockets, and then my little guy found this kit, which makes it so much easier. You will need a wide open space to launch the rocket as these things can go up to 7-8m or higher.

You can purchase these kits online or at Big W. All other ingredients (vinegar + bi-carb soda) are easily found at your supermarket.

There are lots of other science experiments you can do outside, simply google Outdoor science experiments for [insert age group] to find age-appropriate ideas. Have fun!

9. Build a Billy Cart

If your kids are a bit older + handy with a hammer, wood + wheels challenge them to build a Billy Cart. You could make it a community or family competition.

Plan, collect the items, build + decorate then ride, ride, ride! It’s so much fun!

For other activity ideas, check out these posts:

Recycled Fun

Awesome School Holiday Activity Ideas for all ages

BUU’s Boredom Busters! Activity Cheat Sheet for quick fun activities


Want to save some money on family-friendly activities? Check out our friends at Spark Pop. They have given us a special discount code for ‘Tude Fans. 🎉

Jump over to the Spark Pop site and search on your location or type of experience – there are loads of ideas to choose from!

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