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50 Outdoor Activity Ideas for Kids

Nature names (Curt Chipman photo)

From mid-March to the end of May 2020, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) posted a simple outdoor activity idea and nature riddle for kids every weekday. Some days we also posted other resources, like downloadable chapters of the Junior Ranger Activity Book.

Created to support parents who found themselves homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, these activity ideas are a great jumping off point for any outdoor adventure, even if only in your back yard. Click on the links below or browse them all on the engagement blog of the HHLT website.

Another resource for adventurous families is the Junior Ranger Activity Book. It’s jam-packed full of information and activities to drive your outdoor adventures, and there’s a prize for kids who complete it! You can download each chapter for free from the engagement blog or buy the book online for just $5. We can leave it outside the HHLT office for you to pick up or mail it to you. Click here for more information.

Quotes from parents about the daily outdoor activity ideas:

“I love these—they are nice and short and give us a starting off point to get outside. Once we’re out and done with the short activity, then we can move on to other adventures, but your activities provide a perfect level of structure to get us going.”

“Your posts for things to do with kids in nature are just awesome. While we haven’t done many of them because school at home has been very demanding, we plan to go back to them over summer break.”

Making music in nature (Curt Chipman photo)
  • Day 1: Create art with nature and the introduction to the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 2: Scavenger hunts
  • Day 3: Nature collections and an animal riddle
  • Day 4: Cleaning up trash and the Cliff Trail chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 5: Keeping a nature journal
  • Day 6: The benefits of unstructured, child-directed outdoor play
  • Day 7: Watch the birds
  • Day 8: Writing nature haiku
  • Day 9: Searching for a vernal pool and the Curtis Farm Preserve chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 10: Nature names
  • Day 11: Fairy houses and the Devil’s Back Trail chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 12: Phenology study
  • Day 13: Animal tracking
  • Day 14: A treasure hunt for toys
  • Day 15: Make a museum
  • Day 16: Senses grid
  • Day 17: Build an obstacle course and the Hackett and Minot Trails chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 18: Meet a tree
  • Day 19: Making music in nature
  • Day 20: Sit spots
  • Day 21: A game: Which one is missing? Also, the Houghton Graves Park chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 22: Color hunt and information about ticks
  • Day 23: Weaving with nature
  • Day 24: Spring bingo
  • Day 25: Painting on rocks and the Long Reach Preserve chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 26: Chlorophyll rubbings
  • Day 27: Nature games
  • Day 28: Stop, drop and count
  • Day 29: Looking under logs and rocks
  • Day 30: Mystery bag and the Potts Point Preserve chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 31: Quick nature sketching
  • Day 32: Miniature parks
  • Day 33: How to tell the age of a white pine tree
  • Day 34: Sink or float and the Skolfield Shores Preserve chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 35: Help the bees
  • Day 36: Imaginative play! Be inspired by a video read aloud of Roxaboxen
  • Day 37: Flower pounding
  • Day 38: Create a field guide and the Widgeon Cove Trail chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 39: Make your own forest kitchen
  • Day 40: Making magical fairy dust
  • Day 41: Get involved in our “This Week in Harpswell” photo project
  • Day 42: Play with your food and the Wilson’s Cove Trail chapter of the Junior Ranger Activity Book
  • Day 43: Make your own pens, paintbrushes and art supplies from nature
  • Day 44: Learning to walk very quietly
  • Day 45: Spray yourself on a hot day (advice from an eight-year-old)
  • Day 46: What’s worth saving? A question and a read aloud from Julia McLeod
  • Day 47: Set up a sundial
  • Day 48: Leaf rubbings
  • Day 49: Make your own simple journal
  • Day 50: Finding joy in nature this summer