Looking for fun outdoor games for younger children? Kids can have so much fun in their own backyard with these outdoor activities for preschoolers.
Teaching children to enjoy the outdoors at a young age is so helpful to their mental and physical health. Spending time outside has been proven to improve the life of anyone who frequents nature.
By no means does this mean you and your child have to be expert hikers or professional bird watchers. Even just going to the park or spending time in your backyard will teach you both so much!
Outdoor Art Activities for Preschoolers
Art activities for anyone can be so therapeutic in a fun way, but especially beneficial to kids of all ages.
Partaking in a project helps them focus and use a different part of the brain rather than the constant go, go, go all of us have from time to time.
These activities are a little extra therapeutic using natural mediums to yield something more natural is incredible and can quickly become teachable moments!
1. Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder
For this fun outdoor activity, you’ll need strong string (hold up against weather), paper tube, bird seed, edible adhesive (peanut butter, or seed butter), hole puncher, plastic knife, and a paper plate.
Punch two holes opposite of one another at the top of the TP roll, spread an adhesive evenly on the tube, and avoid your punched holes.
Pour the seeds onto a plate and roll the roll gently to pick up a layer of feed. Thread the string through the holes and hang up where you and your little guy or gal decide!
2. Nature Walk Bracelet
Pull out the duct tape and measure about two inches longer than their wrist, cut and attach it around their wrist inside out (the sticky part facing outward so they can collect nature on the walk).
Then take a walk and let them (respectfully) pick and choose what they’d like to add to their bracelet! Talk about sizes if they are trying to attach something too big to carry on their wrist.
This is one of the most easy outdoor activities to have some outdoor fun at your local park!
While on your nature walk get inspiration for more fall craft activities for preschoolers.
3. Flower Bouquet
You can decide in what order is best for you and your family in this great activity, but you’ll need fresh flowers for the bouquet.
Find a vase coloring page to print out (on cardstock or add cardstock to the back after you’ve completed the project) and color it if you haven’t already.
Take a walk for some natural flowers, grab them from your garden, or even the store if you’re in a pinch to complete this fun activity.
Use a hole puncher to pop holes for your flowers to be threaded through; this one is a favorite of mine if you don’t have one.
Trim the stems to fit the page and then tape them down to secure everything in place.
Your preschool girls will also have fun with these preschool games for girls.
4. Photo Frame with Seashell Art
You’ll need these sized popsicle sticks, paint or markers, glue, and any other small decorations your messy little monster would like to add.
First, take a walk on the beach to gather your shells and talk about different environments, sensory differences, or what kind of habitats you can find on the beach–whatever works for you all.
Bring home your shells and give them a little clean and dry before starting the activity.
Decorate your popsicle sticks and shells (let them have some drying time if needed), and then return to glue everything together and let sit again.
5. Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Look no further than whipping up a batch of chalk paint for an afternoon! This amount yields one set, so plan accordingly: ¼ c corn starch, ⅓ c water, and food dye (to your liking).
Whisk the starch and water together and separate the mixture into multiples if you want different colors for this outdoor play.
Let your kids paint the driveway, and when the younger kids finished for the day, spray it down with your hose–if left for too long, there’s a possibility of discoloration.
6. Water Balloon Painting
If you’ve seen the movie The Princess Diaries, this is generally the same idea! Except we’re filling the balloons with water instead of paint and not breaking them.
The balloons dip into washable paint–like this kind and then roll on the page. Make sure you’ve taped your paper in a cleanable surface area (like a kiddie pool or a back patio).
7. Splat Painting
Similar to the previous balloon painting, we’re using sponges instead and acrylic washable paint. If you’re looking for something to hold all your colors neatly, we love using this one–machine safe too!
Try cutting sponges in half or different sizes to play with the outcome of the art, but let your kids have fun and use a heavier blend of paper like cardstock or poster board.
8. Nature Craft Collage
A little different spin on a collage that wows the crowd and preserves some of your favorite natural findings, you’ll need to grab some of this clear contact paper.
Tape the non-sticky side of the contact paper down so you can stick flat pieces of nature to the stick side.
After your kid gets done, stick another sheet of paper together. Press down on the collage firmly together.
9. Nature Paint Brush
Have your little ones grab any materials they’d like from the yard and bind items together with pipe cleaners, string, etc.
Pull out the paints and have them dab their nature paint brushes into the color and then onto the page to create their masterpieces.
Outdoor Movement Ideas
Anyone should take the time to do movement outdoors if they are capable, but especially showcasing the habit to young children can benefit their life so much in different ways!
These preschool outdoor activities are a healthy way to channel all that youthful preschool energy into something exciting in a constantly fluctuating environment.
10. Swimming Science
A pool or any body of water is a great time to bring up an impromptu science conversation. Ask your kids, ‘how do things float?’
Use different items around the pool to showcase the buoyancy points and what floats versus what doesn’t.
11. Outdoor Obstacle Course
Nothing says fun like an obstacle course. It’s a great idea to have kids work on a slew of things, from critical thinking to gross motor (body movement) practice, and it’s a great time all around.
Use anything you may have in your backyard or garage that’s kid-friendly–Hoola hoops, kiddie slides, jump ropes, etc.
If you’re looking for a few things to add, this collapsable tunnel, this tumbling mat, and this balance beam are fun and reasonably priced.
12. Pool Noodle Ring Toss
Great fun on a hot day–the pool noodle ring toss is a real party. Grab some pool noodles, duct tape, and water balloons.
Tape the noodles to make a ring, place them in a row, set up the bucket at one end, and have everyone try. Make your own rules, or just have fun throwing balloons into the rings.
13. Chalk Walk
A sophisticated cousin of hopscotch, the chalk walk is designed to direct kids to work on various gross motor movements.
Design it together and then go back to add things like “hop on one foot,” “spin,” “tippy-toe,” or anything that needs to get worked on further.
14. Outdoor Twister
Taking Twister outdoors was a really wonderful afternoon, with four different chalk colors ready to go and get to drawing circles.
Spacing the traditional way may be a little more difficult for outside play if there’s a rough tumble, so draw them however it may work best for your family.
After, when you’re ready to play, have someone call out the color and, of course, left or right hand or foot.
15. Outdoor Yoga
Yoga outside is a treat and helps anyone who practices outside to be more in touch with the natural world.
As the practice becomes a regular thing for a child, it will help them be more observant, encourage self-regulation, and have many other benefits.
16. Tug of War
We all know tug-of-war can get a little crazy, but it can also become an enriching experience. And, of course, it’s a great way for everyone to expend some energy!
17. Corn Hole Toss
A game most people can play or keep up with, so why not have the kids play? There are tutorials to make a kid version out there, so if you’re crafty, have fun making them!
Oversized sturdy cardboard works as the boards, a paper plate for a stencil to make the hole, and any paints for decorating!
For the rest of you, this set of boards is perfect for kids.
Outdoor Sensory Play Ideas
In my humble opinion, the outdoors has more sensory-inducing elements than any other environment!
So why not explore the natural land of the outdoor classroom and learn about it at the same time with these best outdoor activities?
18. Puffy Sidewalk Paint
A great pair to work with the sidewalk paint from above, puffy sidewalk paint needs flour, water, dish soap, and food coloring or washable paint.
Mix everything and divide any of the batches you’d like for different colors.
After, pour them into cups, bring them outside, and compare and contrast the textures of each painting. Wash away with the hose when finished.
19. Jello Dig
This activity is where the sensory bin meets dessert, and it’s an absolute favorite for young ones.
Follow the directions while making your preferred jello, but add some clean oversized toys and put them in the fridge overnight to set.
The next day, get the jello out, a shower liner (to help contain the mess), a towel, and a bowl of water to rinse anything. Let your little one get digging!
20. Nature Alphabet and Number Line
A nature line is a cool, different way to practice letters or numbers.
Trace any letters or numbers in a pile of dirt and have your child collect any items they find in nature so they can fill in the traced characters.
Have one kid work on it or have a bunch and assign them each a few and see the final results fall into place.
21. Sand and Water Sensory Bin
We all love a suitable sensory bin for kids, and this one is no exception–a beachy container; sign me up!
Here’s some kid-friendly sand if you’re looking; add some toys or shells, some scoopers/grabbers, or any other fine motor tools.
Let them play for a while and then pose the question about what will happen if water gets added to the bin.
This is an excellent opportunity to expand into a larger conversation about science, the beach, or any other appropriate topic.
22. Nature Printing
Great for an afternoon–nature printing. Take a nature walk with your kids, encouraging them to pick up any small items they find along the way.
At home, pull out washable paints and paper. Have them dip their bits of nature into the paint and then onto the page.
23. Muddy Alphabet Writing
This may be sensory overload for some, and if that’s the case, load the mud (chocolate pudding) into a ziplock if they try and just can’t get over the feeling.
If your kiddo is cool with touching the pudding, put it into a tin and call out letters, numbers, or even words they’re practicing.
24. Nature Scavenger Hunt
The scavenger can be as simple or complex as you’d like it to be.
Design your own for native greenery local to you or find a list online and print it out; feel free to laminate it if you think it’ll be a regular activity!
You can even cater the hunt each time you play, trying to find a specific few colors, or if they are starting to learn names of plants, or counting how many they can find–the possibilities are endless.
25. Mud Pies
Yes, the ultimate kid classic–mud pies. A wonderful way for a kid to get sensory time, explore nature, and see some scientific changes happen to the dirt after water gets added.
Grab an old tub that you don’t mind getting dirty, some dirt, maybe a couple of scoopers or toys, and water.
Have your kid in old clothes and let them add the water, walk them through the process, but let them go and explore.
I’ve always been a huge advocate for hands-on lessons based on real-world scenarios.
Sharing different experiments with your child at home will help engage further their critical thinking and curiosity!
26. Colour Mixing Ice Cubes
This experiment will take two days, but watching the process is fun. You’ll need an ice cube tray, little paper cups, and food dye.
Add water and different food dyes individually to have other color options in the cells of the containers.
Freeze overnight, and then the following day, put different color combinations together in multiple cups and record what they are and what the kids think the color will be when the cubes have melted.
27. Straw Rocket Stem Challenge
Blowing through a straw never loses an appeal for a child. This activity puts the beloved pastime in a more constructive light.
You’ll need a thinner straw, thicker straw, paper, tape, and scissors.
Tape over top of one side of the wider straw so there’s only one opening, have your kid draw a rocket (give them an appropriate size piece to draw a smaller one).
Then attach the rocket to the thick straw, and place it over one end of the skinny straw. Once it’s all in place, have your kid blow into the straw to launch their rocket.
This is one of the most fun development activities!
28. Nature Colour Wheel
Teaching colour theory through natural objects is such an easy way to show little ones how to identify real-life objects by colour.
Grab a paper plate, construction paper in any color you’ll be talking about, scissors, and a glue stick. Cut squares fitting around the circle, a circle of color for the middle, and glue everything down.
Then, take a walk with your kid and bring the plate, that way, they can make color matches in real-time.
At home, put everything on the table and glue the nature onto the plate.
29. Popping Bags
Popping Bags is a classic science experiment but in a ziplock bag.
This activity is excellent for talking about chemical reactions and what sensory elements occurred during and taking notes while trying to watch.
Add baking soda and some vinegar into the bag; you can do a lot right away to get a more noticeable sequence of events or smaller amounts to watch the same result happen with any part.
30. Magic Mud
You’ll need 1 cup cornstarch, ¾ cup dish soap, and any dye you’d like for magic mud. Mix it slowly, checking the consistency for a goopy but solid feel that sticks together.
It’s great for playing, practicing numbers or letters, and fine motor play.
31. Sun Prints
Sun prints are legitimately cool and perfect for any blossoming artist or scientist. You’ll need construction paper, different objects–leaves or flowers do great, and a sunny afternoon.
Do this in the backyard, where these papers can hang out for a few hours. Simply arrange the objects in any pattern or way the artist would like and let them be.
Return later and pull the items off to see the results! Ask your kids what they think happened, and then explain how this process is possible.
32. Sandbox Volcano
Another baking soda and vinegar experiment like above, but in a sandbox and volcano form. We’ll agree this is the safest way to show a preschooler this reaction outside a plastic baggie.
Have your kid build a volcano, and carefully add baking soda to the chute. After taking a step or two back, add the vinegar and watch the explosion!
33. Planting seeds
What better way to experience all that outside has than planting seeds?
Flowers are probably the easiest to do with children; these flowers are pretty foolproof and successful–Marigold, Morning Glory, Zinnia, Nasturtium, Impatiens, Sunflowers, Geranium, Nigella, Sweet Peas.
Grab a starter bin, paper cups, or any container that works for the number of seeds you plan on trying. Follow the directions on the packet, watch them grow together, and keep a journal.
Outdoor Water Play Ideas
Water play is an excellent exercise for preschoolers because it’s adaptable to any subject, super fun for the kids, and teaches about the importance of water through an easily accessible lens.
34. Kid Car Wash
Kids learn best by doing, so why not try out something all adults do regularly–get their car washed. There are many ways to accomplish this, although different budgets come into play, so brainstorm!
I’ve seen PVC pipes constructed with streamers hanging at specific points and chalk renderings to start.
Again, whatever works for your family will be significant because, at the core of the idea, it is a fun family activity.
Have more fun outside with these free outdoor activities for kids!
35. Water Balloon Number Match
Try this as a fun idea when it’s scorching out, and there’s no chance of a pool day. Write in chalk 1-20 in whatever fashion you choose, in order, randomly around, wherever your little one is.
Next, fill up water balloons, a little more than the numbers you’re working with, for accidents or a little fun post-exercise.
Label the balloons you need, and then have your kiddo pull one at a time and smash the number on the right spot.
36. Water Wall
An entertaining activity that is practically free–sign me up! For the most part, all of the items that are needed can get upcycled from things in your house.
Firstly, you’ll need a board to attach old jugs or canisters to pour water through–anything from an old section of fence to an old bin lid.
Next, you’ll need a fastener of some sort, depending on what material your board is, and old milk cartons, cans, etc.
Attach everything to the board and put a catchall bin at the bottom so you can reuse the water.
Give your kid a scooper or container to pick up water and pour through the different holes–a great time guaranteed for the little ones.
37. Ice Painting
Cute, easy, and fun! All you need is cornstarch, food coloring, water, an ice cube tray, and popsicle sticks to help draw later.
Add the water cornstarch mixture to the trays and then mix and match colors as you’d like when finished, stick the popsicle sticks in and freeze.
After freezing, grab some paper and watch the colors roll as they come to room temperature.
38. Alphabet Letter Wash
A functional, educational and fun sensory bin, nothing is better. Grab two wash tubs from the dollar store and add just water to one; the other gets soap and water and put all the letters and sponge.
You can show them how adults wash dishes or let them explore cleaning something themselves.
39. Sponge Water Bombs
Another fun option if there’s no chance of the pool on a hot day. Grab a pack of sponges and a hair tie or rubberband-multi color is more fun but unnecessary.
Each bomb gets three sponges, and each sponge gets cut into three equal long strips. Stack your sponge strips 3×3, and then as tight as you can, the band goes around the middle.
40. Flower Soup Sensory Bin
One of the prettiest bins is this one–it consists of water and flowers. Add any scoops or other toys your child may appreciate, but that’s it, and great during springtime.
All you need for this last one is water, balloons and maybe a bathing suit! This water balloon filler is a great time saver and fun to watch–enjoy hours of fun with your kids.
Looking for more fun things to do with your preschoolers? Check out these large group activities for preschoolers.