There are tons of crafts and activities that can be done completely outdoors! These ideas can provide hours of fun for your kids or even your whole family! There are so many reasons spending time outdoors is so important for physical and mental health. In today’s tech-filled world, making a conscious effort to get your family outdoors is more important than ever. Here are a few of our favorite DIY outdoor crafts and activities that we wanted to share with you!
Materials needed: Paper, crayon or pencil, leaves, flowers, clovers, etc.
A leaf rubbing is super simple and kids of all ages can enjoy this activity. Simply lay a leaf, clover, or other outdoor flora. Place it on a flat surface, put a piece of paper on top, and use a crayon or pencil to rub over the item under the paper. A perfect outline of the object will appear! This is a great way to teach younger kids about textures, and older kids can do multiple rubbings to create a beautiful piece of art.
What you need: Chalk, four people, concrete or asphalt, and a ball that bounces.
Four Square is a classic schoolyard game. It can be played with four or more people. With more than four, you cycle players in when someone gets out. Basically, you bounce the ball in someone else’s square and if you knock it out of bounds you are out. Check out this Wiki How video on YouTube to see the game in action.
What you need: Driveway or another area with asphalt or concrete, chalk, and a marker of some sort. You can use a rock, a pinecone, a beanbag, or anything that does NOT bounce.
This is another classic game you may remember from childhood. This can even be used as solo play. Toss the marker into a square. Then, hop on one foot for areas with one box, or both teeth for rows with two boxes, avoiding your marker. When you get to ten, turn around and do it again, picking up your marker on the way back!
What you need: Chalk, driveway or sidewalk, and two people! (This can be kids or you and your little one)
You probably already know how to play tic-tac-toe but if you need a refresher, here it is! One person is “X” and the other is “O”. Take turns, and the first person to get three in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins! If you don’t have chalk, use sticks for the lines. Choose two different items, like rocks and pinecones, and use those as your “X”’s and “O”’s!
What you need: Whatever sparks the interest of your little one(s). Sticks, rocks, whatever their imagination comes up with.
Above we have a teepee-like structure my sons made. In the past, they have made walls with rocks, and even stolen my retaining wall bricks! Leaves or Ivy can be used as a roof or even pine straw. You can even expand this activity into creating a fairy garden with what they built! Kids are great at using their imagination, you will be surprised to see what they come up with! Make sure you have your camera/phone ready to take photos to immortalize their designs!
True Charcoal Drawing
What you need: Paper or concrete, imagination, cooled, charred stick from a bonfire – preferably the night before!
You can make some great artwork with nothing but a stick from last night’s fire. The charcoal stick that used to be a wood stick is a great drawing tool! It can make your hands messy, so either has soap and water handy or wrap one end of the stick with a paper towel or cloth to keep hands clean.
Create a Garden
What you need: Water, sun, dirt, shovel, and seeds.
Gardening is a great outdoor activity that gives back. You get to teach your kids how plants grow and nurture an appreciation of nature and where their food comes from. You will also get to save on your grocery bill once it comes down to harvest time! There are even certain species of broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts that are winter hardy, making this a year-round outdoor activity for most of the United States. Creating a greenhouse is also an option to extend your growing season and the types of food you are growing!
Start a Bug Collection
What you need: Dead bugs, glue, paper, and Google.
If your little one(s) are curious about bugs, starting a scrapbook is a great way to learn about the types of bugs in your area. For older kids, you can challenge them to find the actual and scientific names of the insects. Beetles, ladybugs, ants, moths, and cockroaches are all common finds but occasionally you can find a praying mantis, butterfly, or something else really cool!
Flower and Leaf Press
What you need: Paper towel, various leaves and flowers, and a heavy book.
This particular craft has nostalgia for me. My great Aunt was the first to show me how to do this when I was only four or five. Find some leaves or flowers that are unique or beautiful to you in some way. Place them untouching between two sheets of paper towel and place your “sandwich” in between the pages of the book. Give it a week or so, and they will be perfectly pressed. You can display them in a shadow box or glue them onto paper for another craft on a rainy day!
What you need: Paper, glue, bits of nature (leaves, sticks, rocks, etc.), markers or crayons are optional.
You can create new art or enhance existing drawings! You can glue sticks onto a house, make a small branch into a tree, draw a hand turkey and find real feathers to attach, or whatever else your little one’s mind(s) can come up with! The pictures can be something simple, or very elaborate and detailed!
What you need: Paper and various things from nature that make colors.
You can smear a leaf on paper and get the color green, smashed berries make all sorts of reds, blues, and pinks. Dandelions are great for yellow. Use the actual item and drag across the paper, or get some dishes and smash a bunch inside with different colors per bowl for a fun fingerpainting experience!
What you need: Pinecones, glue, buttons, paper, felt, or other art supplies.
You can use pinecones and art supplies to make owls, porcupines, bears wreaths, really anything you can think of. Get an idea and start creating! Glue items onto the pinecone to create animals, or glue pinecones together to create a wreath. For a longer-lasting wreath, there are wreath forms available at most craft supply stores.
Bird Seed Art Feeder
What you need: Two envelopes, gelatin, ⅔ c boiling water, 2 c birdseed, cookie cutters, string, parchment paper, and toothpicks.
Have the kids put the cookie cutters onto the parchment paper. If you don’t have a table outside, you can bring a baking sheet out. Mix your boiling water and gelatin in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the birdseed. Your mix should be easy to scoop and not runny. If it’s runny, add more. Scoop the mix into the cookie cutters and press it all in. Poke a hole through the mix for the string with the toothpick. Let dry a few hours, or overnight if you live in a humid environment. One dry, loop the string through, and tie. Encourage the kids to hang them in trees or bushes in view of a window, so you can see all the pretty birds enjoying their treats all the time!
What you need: Rocks, paint (googly eyes optional, but more fun than painted eyes!).
Pet rocks can be done indoors or outdoors, but outdoors provides less clean-up and more inspiration! Once your little one finds the perfect rock, they can paint it to be an animal, monster, or whatever they can think up! You can glue (or tape) ears on with pipe cleaners or cardboard, and attach googly eyes if you have them! If you want to keep them outside or protect them from an almost inevitable washing machine mishap, make sure you use paint that won’t come off with water!
Rainbow Bubble Snakes
What you need: A plastic water bottle, food coloring, an old lonely sock, and duct tape or a rubber band.
This one is too easy! Put the sock on the bottom end of a water bottle (after cutting the bottom off) and attach it with a rubber band or tape. Drop some food coloring onto the bottom of the sock. Dip the sock into a dish that has water and dish soap (more soap than water!). Take the cap off the water bottle and blow! You will get colorful bubbles that come out in a long thread, like a snake!
There you have it. Do you have any other outdoor projects for kids that you love? Let us know! Check out some of our related ideas articles too.