Some of the best learning can take place outdoors. We put together some ideas of activities you can do with your children that will help them use their senses and connect with nature.

Outdoor adventures

Making patterns in the garden

  • Gardening
  • Discovering bugs – take photos and research them online
  • Leaf and natural resource collection
  • Vegetable or food garden, care for and record growth (track by measurements and digital photos)
  • Yard work. Trimming bushes, pulling weeds, raking etc.
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Treasure hunt
  • Go for a nature walk and collect sticks and then bring them back and see what the children do with them (imaginative play) They could turn them into a wand, a sword, a mobile, a dream catcher, a puppet
  • Put up a tent and go “camping”

Using our senses


  • Blindfold taste tests 
  • Blindfold sound tests 
  • Blindfold smell tests
  • Listening out the window or in the garden for different birds
  • Hide and seek 
  • Gloop or slime
  • Lying on the grass, listening to all of the noises in your community
  • Lying on the lawn, finding cloud shapes 
  • An activity for 2 people. Sit with their backs to each other, each with a notepad and a pencil, and they take turns explaining something they can see to the other person to draw. Linking in with their literacy and fine motor development.
  • Using technology (iPad/phone) playing a guess the sound game
  • Going out into the garden or local park to gather some natural items to make your own potpourri or dried plant arrangements
  • Make your own scented bath bombs
  • Making nature potions
  • Dancing with butterflies
  • Bubble blowing

Outdoor play is incredibly open-ended, and often you will find that some of the most creative and imaginative games are played with nothing other than nature.

Do you have any other ideas? We would love to hear them!

Posted by Sharon Carlson

Sharon's early years were supported at home by her Mum in Taranaki. She later became an ECE ICT facilitator for CORE Education, and then Storypark. Sharon has successfully supported the implementation of a diverse range of ICT products and services around the country and is helping make sure Storypark is awesome for teachers and children's development.

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  1. […] that’s it, the 3 key ingredients to support children’s outdoor play. Your job now is to reflect on these three ideas, and perhaps set one simple goal for how you can […]


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