50 Nature inspired activities to entertain the kids this Summer
The Summer holidays will soon be here and we all need a bit of inspiration on how to keep the kids busy. This post has 50 ideas for nature inspired activities to help entertain the kids this summer!
Trying to keep kids busy for Summer holidays is no easy feat, especially if you have different ages to entertain. Days out and holidays are expensive and you may not have much time if you are juggling work and other committments.
Sometimes you just need a simple activity to entertain the kids and enjoy some quality time together. Getting outdoors is fantastic but the good old British weather can often put a dampener on outdoor activities. Nature inspired activities don’t always have to be outdoors, sometimes its great to bring the outdoors in and enjoy nature inside especially if the weathers a bit iffy. Hopefully this post will give you some inspiration for nature inspired activities you can enjoy outdoors or indoors for those lovely rainy days!
I have included some useful links to activities and printables and at the bottom of the post you can download a printable list of 50 Summer nature activities, handy to keep if you need some quick ideas.
50 simple nature inspired activities
Being outdoors in nature or even playing or crafting with natural materials can have a calming effect on kids and the grown ups. It helps us to be in the moment and enjoy time spent together without distractions. Nature is all around us, it is always accessable and the crafting materials you can forage is in abundance all year round.
These 50 ideas are all simple, inexpensive activities which you can try at home, in the park or on days out.
1. Roll down a hill
So simple but such fun, mainly for younger children but once in the spirit big kids and grown ups will also enjoy. So easy all you need is a hill!
A wonderful impulsive activity when out on a walk, just have a quick check that the hill is clean and safe and off you roll.
2. Make a bug hotel
A great nature activity for kids which you can do indoors or outdoors. They can be made with items you have lying around and the kids will love learning buggy facts as they create their very own bug hotel.
There are so many ways to make a bug hotel, some very simple out of recycled materials or if you are good at DIY you could even re-use an old pallet to create a bug mansion! The Woodland Trust has a good article with various ideas for building bug hotels. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2019/09/how-to-build-a-bug-hotel/
Chester Zoo also has a good resource which you can download with a printable tutorial and video. https://www.chesterzoo.org/schools/resources/how-to-build-a-bug-hotel-collection/
3. Make a den
Kids just love dens and building a den can be great fun. Lots of woodlands and country parks have den building areas with plenty of sticks and logs to create with. A great practical activity which teaches kids many practical skills and is a perfect team building exercise.
Dens can also be made at home, in the garden or indoors. Washing lines, fences and even outdoor chairs can all be utilised to make a den. Just throw a large sheet over and there you have it, a secret hideaway.
Walesonline has a great article about den building outdoors, with helpful tips. https://www.walesonline.co.uk/special-features/10-easy-steps-building-den-11701329
The Woodland Trust also has a handy tutorial for building dens outdoors and indoors. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2019/10/how-to-build-a-den/
Younger children will enjoy making mini dens, either for insects or their favourite toys. Using the same skills as making larger dens but perfect for little hands. They can be made anywhere, in the woods, the garden or even indoors.
4. Make a woodland obstacle course
The woods is a great resource of natural materials and building an obstacle course is an activity older and younger kids can enjoy. A great incentive to get active and all the more fun because they have made it themselves.
They could be created for different levels of ability and the variety of materials you could use will soon get kids jumping, balancing and climbing.
5. Go on a bug hunt
Another buggy themed idea which you can do in the garden or out and about. For some buggy facts and what you will need the Woodland Trust has some useful info and a printable bug spotters sheet. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2023/05/minibeast-hunt/
6. Pond dipping
An activity which always takes me back to childhood, pond dipping is one of those perfect summer activities which every kid should try. Obviously you need to take care around water especially with younger kids but there are many shallow streams and brooks which are great for ‘dipping’
RSPB has some fantastic info about pondipping, with helpful fact sheets and downlaodable activities. https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/pond-dipping/
7. Go crabbing
Another water based activity which is perfect when on holiday or at a day out at the seaside. The North West has some great crabbing spots not too far away. Many crabbing locations sell crabbing kits cheaply but really all you need is a bucket, net and bait. Gone Crabbing has a great video aimed at kids with practical and safety info https://www.gonecrabbing.co.uk/pages/crabbing-guide
8. Explore a beach
One of my favourite activities to do with my son. The space of the beach and the sea air just makes kids want to explore and the beach has so many interesting things to find!
There are loads of activities to do on a beach but a simple scavenger hunt will keep kids exploring and is great even if the weathers a bit iffy.
9. Wildlife Yoga
Wildlife yoga is a simple, mindful activity which can be done outdoors or indoors. You can keep it simple, just get the kids to relax and try some nature inspired moves. The Wildlife Trusts has a great activity sheet with some wildlife themed poses https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/WT-WILDLIFE-YOGA.jpg
10. Nature Scavanger Hunt
My little squirrel never tires of doing scavenger hunts, a great activity to keep kids active, curious and engaged with their surroundings. They can be done anywhere and on days out I always take a printed scavenger hunt sheet or some printed cards to give to my son if he shows signs of getting ‘bored’.
Lots of National Trust places and country parks have printed scavenger hunts available on site or to download and print before you visit.
https://www.forestryengland.uk also has some great trails and activities featuring Gruffalo, Zog, Superworm and Room on the Broom characters, perfect for keeping younger ones busy. https://www.forestryengland.uk/learning#article-search-listing-110606
11. Make paint brushes
Making paint brushes from natural objects can create some fantastic artistic textures and marks. Finding their materials, creating their brushes and then creating their masterpieces will keep them interested and can entertain children for hours.
A simple activity which can encourage practical and creative skills, Royal Academy Of Arts has a good simple tutorial https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/article/family-how-to-make-your-own-paintbrush-send-access
12. Forage blackberries
Forage blackberries is a fun activity enjoyed by any age – just watch out for the prickles!
Blackberries grow wild from August and can be picked up to early Autumn. Foraging blackberries is a lovely activity as the whole family can enjoy the foraging and the making of yummy things with all their collected fruit.
Blackberries grow wild and as long as it is public land and is safe to do so blackberries can be picked. Many farms also have pick your own seasons, offering many fruits throughout the summer and autumn season.
For tips about foraging blackberries, countryfile Magazine has some useful info and some great recipies to try https://www.countryfile.com/how-to/food-recipes/blackberry-guide-and-recipe-ideas/
13. Go on an elf and fairy hunt
I love this activity sheet from the Woodland Trust, younger children will love hunting round for traces of tiny people. Such a magical activity to enjoy on a woodland walk. https://www.treetoolsforschools.org.uk/activities/pdfs/pdf_elf_and_fairy_hunt.pdf
14. Make natural dyes
Nature provides us with an array of colours and many of these natural items can be made into natural dyes. Kids will need some grown up help and it may be a bit messy. bbcgoodfood has a straight forward tutorial https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-natural-dyes and blog.seasaltcornwall also has an informative tutorial about creating dyes and how to apply them to fabric. https://blog.seasaltcornwall.com/how-to-make-natural-dyes/
The dyes you create can be used to dye fabric, create stamps or use your nature paintbrushes to create works of art!
15. Climb or balance on a tree
Another really simple activity which is great for building confidence in kids. Younger kids will love balancing on smaller trees and logs. For older children, Discover Tree Climbing offer a range of courses for children aged 6+, offering children the oportunity to learn climbing skills. Visit https://discovertreeclimbing.co.uk for more info and venues.
16. Make Daisy chains
This always reminds me of lazy summer days. Find a nice spot, find some daisy’s and thread them together. If you need a recap on how to make daisy chains Rainy Day Mum has a simple tutorial.
17. Make Perfume
I’m not promising this will smell divine but kids will enjoy foraging petals and leaves to make there own perfume. Use old jars or containers and just add water. A good activity in the garden, try using herbs and flower petals and see what they create. They could even set up there own perfume shop!
18. Paddle in the sea
A trip to the seaside should always include a paddle in the sea! For kids and grown ups paddling is fun and liberating. Kids will love the waves ‘chasing’ them.
19. Find the flower
A simple activity for younger children out and about or in the park or great for older kids to explore on walks. https://heartofenglandforest.org has a printable wildflower spotter sheet and some interesting facts about all kinds of wildflowers. https://heartofenglandforest.org/wildflower-scavenger-hunt
20. Fly like a bird
Have your kids flapping, flying and swooping – which bird will they choose?
21. Find patterns in nature
An alternative to a traditional scavanger hunt, finding patterns in nature is a lovely way to get kids to look more closely at the natural environment and find different patterns and textures.
22. Make a boat from natural materials
Using twigs, sticks, leaves and grass you can create a little sailable boat which the kids will love racing. A lovely activity to do by a stream. Also a fun activity to make at home where kids can get even more creative adding decoration to their boats. Little Acorns has a lovely simple tutorial https://littleacornsshop.co.uk/blogs/news/30-days-wild-blog-day-3-make-a-twig-boat
23. Explore a rockpool
Kids love investigating and it is quite amazing what can be found in a Rockpool. The RSPB has a great artical including a printable activity sheet. https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/rock-pooling/
The Wildlife Trusts also has tips and info about rockpooling and where to find them https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/where_to_see_rockpool_wildlife
24. Go exploring with binoculars
Giving kids a pair of binoculars to explore ignites their curiosity and encourages them to investigate. If you don’t have binoculars make some together, Hobbycraft has a nice little tutorial https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/ideas/how-to-make-cardboard-tube-binoculars.html
We tried this last year and my son loved it, Kids telescopes are quite inexpensive and they will find it a big adventure going out after dark looking at the stars.
Forrestry England has a great booklet you can download, filled with fun facts and info all about stargazing. https://www.forestryengland.uk/resource/beginners-guide-to-stargazing
26. Nature at night
Exploring nature at night will be exciting for kids, the different sounds and sights of nature at night as well as being out in the dark will be thrilling even for older kids. Camping out is a great way to experience nature at night but for younger kids even a couple of hours in a make shift tent will be fun.
27. Make a bird feeder
Making bird feeders is a great way to get kids creative and connecting with nature. Kids will love seeing which birds come to eat their home made treats. There are so many bird feeders you can make using many items you will already have. RSPB has a simple printable tutorial with some birdy facts https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/feed-the-birds/
28. Make a hedgehog cafe
This is such a nice way to get kids creative as well as helping hedgehogs. A good spring or summer activity to help fatten the hedgehogs up before winter hibernation. The RSPB has a great printable tutorial with some hedgehog facts on the website https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/feed-the-birds/
29. Create a fairy garden
One of my favourite garden activities! and my son likes it too of course (although he probably prefers dinosaurs to fairies!) Creating a fairy….elf…..goblin…dinosaur garden can be such fun. You can use anything you have lying around and just make it your own. It can become a lovely summer project as you can add to it all season long. We even make magical Christmas gardens!
30. Make clay decorations
Crafting with natural matertials is so therapeutic. Clay is such a creative material for kids and the grown ups! Kids are so creative with clay and can produce many amazing things.
Using a roller and some cookie cutters or playdough shape cutters you can create some lovely decorations. You can create textures and shapes using natural materials. Leaves especially can create wonderful textures on clay. I love to use pressed flowers or leaves on clay decorations, just glue and cover with a layer of mod podge or varnish.
Remember to push a hole through your creation before they dry if you want to add string and hang.
31. Cloud spotting
Grab a blanket and watch the clouds go by! Relax and watch the sky float past seeing where the kids imagination goes – what will they spot?
32. Make wildflower seed bombs
A lovely activity for kids is to create their very own wildflower seed bombs. They will enjoy the creating, sowing and watching it grow. Wildflowers are fantastic at attracting wildlife into your garden and brighten up any garden.
Simple to make and don’t need many ingredients, the Wildlife Trusts has a great article, with printable tutorial and tips about flowers to include. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-make-seed-bomb
The National Trust also has a really simple tutorial https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/discover/crafts/how-to-make-wildflower-seed-balls
33. Collect a nature rainbow
Can you find something in nature for every colour of the rainbow? I bet the kids will. Let them forage and find all the colours. You could take photos or if possible collect the items and have them create a rainbow either on the ground or at home.
34. Make a nature mobile
You can make a nature mobile out of any foraged natural items. Shells, pinecones, acorns, seeds, they all look great hung onto a large stick – Good fun foraging and good fun making!
35. Do a nature journal
Creating a nature journal is a wonderful way of getting kids to engage more with their natural environment. A place to record and collect any nature findings they find interesting. Depending on the ages, they can be as creative as they like with their journal and make it personal to them. Add art, photos and found items.
A nature journal is also a great activity for adults, having five minutes to relax and be creative is just as beneficial for the grown ups!
36. Press some flowers or leaves
Collecting and pressing flowers and leaves is a wonderful way to preserve the beauty of nature. Read the post How to Press Flowers and preserve beautiful blooms for tips and inspiration.
37. Grow cress
One of those activities which can be done any time of the year but lovely to grow for summer salads and sandwiches. Cress can be grown in more or less any container and is really easy to grow.
Thompson and Morgan have a great tutorial about growing cress in egg heads which kids will enjoy https://www.thompson-morgan.com/growing-cress-with-kids
38. Make a sun dial
Creating a sundial is a perfect activity on a beach but can also be created in a garden or any open space. Easy to set up and will teach the kids a bit of history without them realising!
For a simple sundial dutorial download my free printable Sundial Tutorial
39. Make a stick character
Younger kids love characters and stick characters are so easy to make. Use craft items to add eyes or clothes – make a stick family!
40. Make natural paper
Making paper is a traditional skill which children and adults will enjoy. Many natural items can be added to paper. Seeds, grass, flowers all make beautiful additionals to hand made paper. The finished paper can be made into items such as Bookmarks and decorations or can be just used in craft projects.
There are many affordable paper making kits which include a paper moulding frame or you could attempt a diy method. Artsy.net has a good article including a tutorial and ideas what you can add to your paper. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-crash-course-basic-papermaking
41. Make a birds nest
Forage and find grasses, twigs, branches and leaves to weave them into a birds nest. Why not do some bird spotting? The RSPB has an interesting article with bird identification and tips for spotting birds. https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/go-birdwatching/
42. Nature bracelet
A simple creative nature inspired activity. Wrap a piece of card around their wrist and stick on some double sided sticky tape then let your kids forage and find decorations which they can stick to their bracelet.
43. Make a weather station
Fun to make and kids will find it interesting to observe the weather over the summer months. Inventors of Tomorrow has an indepth post about weather observations and how to make a diy weather station. https://inventorsoftomorrow.com/2018/01/22/diy-weather-station-for-kids/
44. Make a journey stick
Journey sticks are used around the world to tell storys of travels. On your next walk why not make your own journey stick. Take some different coloured wool or string with you, find a nice sized stick and add any collected items you find on your journey. Wrap each one onto the stick with different coloured wool.
45. Nature weaving
Another creative nature inspired activity. Nature weaving can be done in a variety of ways and with so many natural materials. wildlifewatch.org.uk have a good printable tutorial https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/sites/default/files/2022-01/NATURE-WEAVING-RGB.jpg
46. Hunt for animal tracks
Any nature detective will enjoy this activity, use magnifying glasses to hunt for clues. Why not photograph your finds and record them in your nature journal.
The RSPB have some fantastic resourses for animal track activities, including lots of facts, animal tracker sheets and printable activities. https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/tracks-and-signs/
47. Create a ladybird village
There is something so whimsical about creating any kind of miniature village and a ladybird village will appeal to any nature lover. Use pebbles to create ladybirds and add other props. Small signs and fences, sticks, logs, rocks anything you have lying around can add character.
Make mini houses out of lollypop sticks or painted upside down pots, add toadstools and windmills…..
It could be created in the garden or container, you could even add plants or flowers. Grasses are easy and quick to grow, you will soon create a village.
48. Nature shop
Kids can collect all mannor of items for their ‘nature shop’. Go on a lovely walk and collect items they could sell. Older kids could craft items for their shop or even use that lovely perfume they made!
49. Mud pie cafe
Use old pots, pans and kitchen utensils to make and bake some delicious mud pies and other delights. Kids can be so creative with random natural items and love to get stuck in with mud.
50. Make a terrarium
Terrariums are miniature plant displays, a great way to bring a bit of nature into your home and a good nature inspired activity for those rainy days. Kids and the grown ups alike will enjoy the activity of making a terrarium. You don’t need many items and you can be as creative as you like.
You can just add plants or add some tiny toadstools and make it into a fairy terrarium or even a couple of dinosaurs!
Kew Gardens has some practical advise and tutorials https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/how-to-make-terrarium
National Children’s Gardening Week also has a lovely idea of a mini terrarium fairy garden https://www.childrensgardeningweek.co.uk/things-to-do/easy-moss-terrarium-kids-can-make/
Nature inspired activities are so beneficial
Encouraging kids to enjoy nature is so beneficial for them and the grown ups. Nature has a natural calming effect and encourages kids to be more creative and curious. Getting outdoors is wonderful, the kids love the freedom and adults can enjoy a bit of space.
You don’t always have to venture far to enjoy nature activities, the garden is the perfect place to enjoy many of the activities mentioned in this post and even on rainy days you can still enjoy nature, doing simple nature inspired crafts, a nature jornal or even planning for your next big outdoors adventure!
Tips for nature inspired activities
Sometimes you have to think on your feet and come up with quick ideas to entertain the kids or find an activity they will enjoy. Usually depending on the weather or the time you have. Having a few resources up your sleeve will help you to come up with impulsive activities and also to plan for bigger days out.
1. Have supplies in the car
Your probably thinking ‘that’s obvious’ but having waterproofs, spare shoes or wellies, coats, drinks etc will often save the day.
My car boot becomes a suitcase in Summer, I always have foldable chairs, picnic blanket, a kite (yes a kite) bucket and spade……. probably far too much junk but it always comes in handy.
2. Have some scavenger or bug hunts printed
Having a few scavenger hunts printed is so useful. There are so many to choose from, bug hunts, butterfly hunts even city or town ispys are a great way to entertain kids.
3. Collect natural items
Whenever we go for a walk during all seasons we collect stuff. Pine cones, acorns, twigs, leaves alll make great craft items. Pinecones can be cleaned and stored and leaves can be pressed to preserve them to use during any season.
Use day trips to the seaside to collect pebbles and shells and woodlands are perfect for collecting small logs, pinecones and acorns.
Have a box at home for all your finds, then you always have items to hand for projects.
4. Have an explorers kit
Some National Trust places loan children a little explorer kit and it is amazing how much this encourages my little squirrel to observe and enjoy his surroundings. This is something I am going to do this summer, a small backpack with binoculars, magnifying glass and some nature hunts would be perfect.
5 Keep it fun
Kids will get fed up and ‘bored’, keeping days out fun with short activities will keep them interested. If you have driven for an hour to get somewhere and 5 minutes later the kids want to go home, I feel your pain – but don’t give up! Try and find something to interest them (that kite in the boot might work!)
Short activities like bug hunts or even just a simple game of ispy for younger kids may just keep them interested and encourage them to enjoy being outdoors. Lots of country parks and National Trust places have play areas so if all else fails head there!
Let them have regular breaks, I always forget little legs do get tired. Feed them and take plenty of drinks and always pack a picnic! I always pack a picnic (I say picnic, it’s usually just sandwiches and crisps!)
Having a picnic to hand has saved the day for me on numerous occasions, it breaks the day up, lets everyone get refreshed and rested, then your good to go adventuring again!
Links and resourses
It is always handy to have some resources and there are lots of great nature activities and information available. Below are links to some websites which you may find useful
For a printable list of this post click here
Enjoy your summer!