7 Nature Play Activities for Younger Kids

Nature Play Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers: dad and daughter on an outdoors nature treasure hunt

Nature and kids are a match made in heaven! Nature never ceases to captivate, entertain and spark the curiosity of young minds. 

I’m a firm believer that kids need to get outdoors and into nature regularly. Being able to play, explore and interact with the natural environment offers many benefits including developing fine and gross motor skills, appreciation of and care for the environment, boosting physical activity levels, and developing independence along with problem solving skills.

Top 7 Nature Play Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers

The outdoors is one giant playground, and we really enjoy spending as much time as possible there. Often, all children need is some time outdoors to let their imaginations run wild and come up with their own nature adventures.

But if you’re looking for a place to start or need fresh ideas to get your kids more involved in nature, these simple outdoor activities offer a wonderful way to keep them engaged, learning, and embracing the wonders of the natural world.

Here is a list of the seven best nature play activities we think toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy:

  1. Treasure hunting – grab an empty bucket or basket and head outside for some treasure hunting. A great impromptu nature play activity, which can also become more structured by using providing a picture list of things to look for.
    Nature Play Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers - dad and children on an outdoors nature treasure hunt
  2. Cloud spotting – pop down a blanket or slip on some Mud Mates Coveralls or Fleece Lined Pants and lie down to look up at the clouds. What animals and shapes do you see? Can you tell a story about what you think they are doing?
  3. Mud kitchen – a favourite no matter what the weather! Whether you are making mud pies or whisking up a potion, our ready-made Mud Kitchens are just the ticket.
    Nature Play Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers: young children playing at their mud kitchens
  4. Sand saucers – fill a plastic container or bowl with dirt and get creative with the foliage and flora you can find. From making pictures to patterns, this is a great activity you can do again and again using the same natural resources.
  5. Mud prints – collect a variety of small twigs, stems, leaves and flowers to use as paintbrushes and stamps. Fill a container with mud and then dip your natural items in it before painting with them on paper, a cardboard box or other smooth surface like a fence.  
  6. Nature’s ice cubes – create some ice cubes or blocks by collecting some natural items from outside, adding to a bowl of water and then freezing. What happens if you leave them in the sun? Can you speed up their melting? Fancy being an archaeologist and cracking the ice to discover what is inside?
    Nature Play Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers: 2 young boys wearing Mud Mates camo coveralls placing natural treasures into a container to freeze for ice play
  7. Outdoor playdough – now this is just like regular playdough, only better! Use your favourite playdough recipe and then take it outside to add some new ingredients into it. Petals, mud, dirt, leaves, flowers, and grass are all favourites here at Mud Mates – what will you find to add?
    Nature playdough - playdough with leaves, petals. Playdough ideas for younger kids.

Remember to check out our blog for even more outdoor and messy play ideas and grab your child one of our Muddy Kids Packs to keep your young adventurer clean and dry!   


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