7 ways to get kids outside and engage with nature

get kids outside

Remember when you were a child you were constantly out and about, playing in the trees, being at one with nature? If the answer to this is yes, you will know that playing outdoors and enjoying nature is something that every child should experience.

But sadly these days kids spend most of their time indoors – or as one national paper reported earlier in the year, less time outdoors than prison inmates….holy moly! Yup, you can bank on the fact that they are woefully far more likely to be found close to a plug socket than experiencing the great British outdoors. It’s obvious, kids need fresh air, in fact we all do. Families who find ways to get their kids involved with the outdoors and nature will find a whole host of benefits, including improved conservation ethic, happiness, health, creativity and concentration.

If you are worried that your children are not getting outdoors as much as they should be and you are stuck for ideas on how to entice them outdoors-  try a few of these suggestions:

Go bird-watching

Once your children have been introduced into birdwatching, their love of nature will naturally evolve. Birdwatching allows them to look at the ground, into the sky, and everything inbetween.

Try and teach your children about the birds in the region, and in the back garden! Observe the colour, behaviour and sounds these feathered friends make. The next time you head outdoors bring along a pair of binoculars, and watch as they scour their surroundings. According to Kennedy Wild Bird Food,  If you want to attract more birds to the garden, investing in a good  bird feeder, and some tasty bird treats will ensure they keep coming back for. As it is winter, laying out a couple of suet balls will give the birds an extra energy boost to help them thrive in the cold months.

Gather nature’s freebies

Help your child make the most of all that nature has to offer. Younger kids can gather pine cones, acorns, conkers and colourful leaves. If you are at the beach, look for pretty shells and rocks. Bring them all home and keep them in a shoebox or somewhere to display them.

Get growing

Give your child their own patch in the garden or flowerpot. You can let them plant whatever vegetables, flowers and fruits they want. But fast growing plants such as basil, tomatoes or basil can can yield quick rewards. Teach them how to water plants and be careful not to over direct their gardening efforts.

Appreciate the seasons

In the UK, we are lucky to have such varied seasons. Look into the clouds and stare at the different shapes with your children. While we all love hot, sunny weather, don’t forget that this winter weather can be fun too. Dress your kids in the right gear and watch them play in the snow and jump into the puddles. You could even watch a thunderstorm from afar in your cozy home.

Bug catching

Kids are fascinated by insects, i know i was. Ladybirds in particular make perfect kid friendly specimens. Armed with a magnifying glass and a small net, help your little bug catcher capture these little critters. Once caught, place in jar or container with some leaves and a couple of twigs. Make sure you punch a couple of holes through the container and replenish the leafs and twigs every couple of days.

Fruit foraging

A trip to the woods, or somewhere that produces local produce teaches children that food doesn’t come from Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Ripened raspberries and blueberries are perfect for picking right off the branch. But beware of blackberries! As these delicious berries tend to be attached to a thorny stem. When you return from your foraging adventure, why not get baking? Make some jam or a cake and show them how nature’s loveliness can taste so good.

Do you do any of the above to help get your children out and about in nature? What else do you do to encourage them to connect with the natural world? Do share in a comment below.

*This is a collaborative post 


  1. Love love love this! I am always trying to grab the outdoors attention of my little man… even if it is sometimes met with tantrums (see comment on your other post!!) I think Autumn and Winter provide amazing walks and outdoor adventures for little people collecting leaves and such <3 love it!

  2. I think ita shocking that most kids stay inside on video games and TV i had noticed alot more kids dont seem to play out like i used to as a kid. My two little ones love taking walks and collecting leaves, looking at birds and we have tried to do some planting only in pots though as unfortunately we dont have a grass garden but we are searching to move as they love being outside.

  3. Food foraging and bird watching are our faves 🙂 Luckily, it doesn’t take much to convince T to go outside and explore since she loves it, even in the rain 🙂 x

  4. I think this is so important! I was lucky enough to have a nature reserve opposite my house so I did the bug catching and bird watching anyway but as in the city sometimes that’s really hard I think people need to make a conscious effort to go and do this kinds of stuff!

  5. Great tips to get the kids outdoors more. We have a dog so we get out a lot plus the kids love running. We start a new running challenge every year to run at least a mile everyday. That works great and my son has nearly completed his 2nd year, even though he up’ed it to 2 miles this year 🙂

  6. I can’t remember ever spending so much inside as a child like my nephew does now. I know times have changed and we are more aware of dangers but I was always on my bike or round others houses with friends x

  7. I was just talking to my husband about this! I miss the old times! I think during our times, there was less worry about playing outside. Our parents used to let us play on the streets without any fear of something bad happening! Now its like we constantly have to monitor their moves and with our hectic lives, we hardly get the time! But i love these ideas! i have to incorporate these in the daily lives so they spend more time outdoors than just watching television and gluing their eyes to the tablets.

  8. I can’t believe this stat. In the summer I’m always telling the boys to get outside and play, not on their iPads. I need to wrap them up warm in the winter and get them outside more.

  9. I agree it’s good to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air! We are always out and about. My 6 year old even has use of our greenhouse and his own little patch in the garden where he grows his own veg and plants. It’s always good to see a kid covered in mud and grass stains, now that is REAL playtime in my opinion 🙂 x

  10. We go outdoors everyday. I can’t imagine why other families don’t! But my mum works in a primary school and she mentions most days now how the ‘ipad generation’ has hit and it’s so different to teach now because the children find it so hard to focus and hate doing outdoor based activities. It’s crazy! I love all of these outdoors activities. We love foraging in particular! x

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