Get your Kids Outside with these 10 Easy & Eco-Friendly Activity Ideas

posted in family, travel

Last Updated on July 28, 2023

This year, more than ever, it’s time to take advantage of the good weather and get outside!

And it’s not only fun – playing outside offers numerous mental and physical health benefits and can teach children about nature and develop a respect for the environment.

Now as much as I wish I was the kind of mom who set up elaborate activities, I just don’t have the time so these are also easy to do with minimal planning or set-up!

This post is kindly sponsored by EarthHero which is a go-to shop for sustainable home and lifestyle goods and one of the best sites to get eco-friendly children’s products and supplies all in one place!

Play with Chalk

From hopscotch to race/agility courses, or just having fun drawing – sidewalk chalk is a wonderfully simple but creative toy!

Check out these fantastic ideas for both educational and creative chalk activities.

πŸ’š Eco-tip: This egg-shaped chalk is non-toxic, comes in plastic-free packaging, and is great for little hands.

Go on a Nature Hunt

See what types of plants, insects, and animals your child can find. Play “I Spy” or create a chart with words or images for them to mark off.

Also try a “listening hunt” – go on a walk and find and identify different sounds.

Have a Picnic

This can involve going to a park for a full meal or be as simple as laying out a blanket and having a snack! Changing things up by eating outside is always fun for kids, plus you can also involve them in packing the food up.

πŸ’š Eco-tip: Use reusable food containers and cutlery to save waste! EarthHero has some great eco-friendly and zero waste options.

Grow a Garden

This is such a great way to teach kids about plants and where out food comes from!

Carrots, peas, radishes, herbs, potatoes, or flowers like nasturtiums, sunflowers, or marigolds are all easy-to-grow choices. Or re-growing food scraps such as green onions, celery, or lettuces is also great and more visible for kids.

My toddler loves going out to water the garden and check on the plants as part of our daily routine.

πŸ’š Eco- tip: Instead of regular plastic, get a kids-sized watering can and gardening tools make from recycled milk jugs!

Do some Science Experiments

There are so many great outdoor STEM activities and experiments for kids of all ages! Some easy ones which require minimal supplies or set-up are:

  • Seeing what objects float or sink
  • Rock stacking
  • Make a sundial or rain meter
  • Build a bug hotel
  • Use a glass of water to make a rainbow
  • Try to identify different stages of plant growth
  • Explore a soil sample
  • Find and feel different natural textures – you can use paper and a pencil to take texture rubbings

πŸ’š Eco-tip: Jen over at Thoughtfully Sustainable also some great sustainability-themed STEM activities and experiments for kids.

Go “Camping”

You don’t have to go on a big trip to have some camping fun! It could be as simple as setting up a blanket tent outside to play in.

πŸ’š Eco-tip: If you are planning a camping trip watch my tips for sustainable camping.

Paint Outside

Eco-kids finger paint is natural and biodegradable. Colored with fruit, plant and vegetable extracts, it’s safe for kids and the environment.

Set up some paper and have fun painting or get creative and paint rocks or other outdoor objects.

Go on a Bike Ride

It’s a great way to get some exercise and explore your neighborhood or local parks!

πŸ’š Eco-tip: For little kids we love our Wishbone Toddler Bike. It’s made from sustainable wood and “grows” with your child – it can be used from 18 months to 5 years!

Play a Game

Many games are even better outside! Try playing:

  • Follow the Leader
  • Racing
  • Hot or Cold with a toy or object
  • “Red Light, Green Light”
  • Hide & Seek
  • Tag
  • Catch
  • Beanbag/Ball Toss

Or bring a board/card game outside.

Make Nature Art

Use rocks, leaves, sticks, or whatever is around to create patterns, shapes, mandalas, or drawings.

πŸ’š Eco-tip: Use rocks, sticks, and fallen leaves instead of taking flowers or leaves of living plants!

Tips for an Enjoyable Time Outdoors with Kids

  • Be sun-safe. No one wants to end a beautiful day outside with a sunburn! Take precautions by putting on sunscreen and wearing a hat. Choose a safe and sustainable sunscreen.
  • Stay hydrated. Especially in the hot summer it’s important to drink water – bring a water bottle whenever going outside. Kleen Kanteen is a great one with tops for both toddlers and older kids.
  • Keep the mosquitos away. Try a natural, non-toxic repellent spray.
  • Dress for the weather. Having the right clothes will keep your kids comfortable. Whether it’s a hat, sunglasses, and breathable clothing for summer, rain coat and boots for rainy days, or layers and warm clothing for colder days. Check out EarthHero for sustainable clothing brands for kids and adults.
  • Have a packed bag with necessities. It’s so much easier to go outside when you have your bag of stuff ready to go – keep everything you typically like to bring pre-packed in a bag or backpack, then you can just add snacks, water bottles, and anything specific for the day’s plans and head out!

Have fun πŸ’š

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