Activities to Bring the Outdoors In

Last updated: April 14, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. PT

Originally published: April 2, 2020, at 2:43 p.m. PT

Two girls using eggs as planters

Does being outside in nature calm your children? Wear them out? Get them excited?  While the weather is wet and cool, bring the outdoors in with these fun and engaging activities! 

Start your Garden Indoors

Start your seeds indoors to help protect them from unpredictable spring weather.

  • Choose and gather your seeds! Tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, or strawberries. The options are endless. Pick your favorites or try something new.  Seeds can be purchased online or at your local grocery or hardware store.
  • To get started, all you need is seeds, soil, water, and a container.  Reuse egg cartons, yogurt cups or milk jugs (cut the top ¾ off) as your temporary containers. 
  • Fill the containers with soil and push the seeds into the dirt so they are completely covered and have at least one inch of soil covering.  Add a bit of water to wet the soil.
  • Place your containers in a spot that gets sunlight and watch them grow!  Don’t forget to water your seeds often.
  • Once the seeds pop up and the weather warms, take your garden outside and plant them in the ground or garden box. 
  • Click here for more tips on starting your garden indoors.

Nature Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are wonderful for preschool and young elementary children! They help develop fine motor skills, inspire imagination, and encourage decompressing.  A sensory bin of outdoor items helps kids experience nature when they can’t be outside.

Here’s what you will need to make your sensory bin:

  • A container to hold materials and be the bin. If your container has a lid, it helps with easy storage.
  • Rice, pasta, or whatever dry good is available in your pantry
  • Measuring cups and scoops
  • Four to six nature items from outside. Take a nature walk to gather items including leaves, rocks, sticks, or flowers in a variety of sizes and shapes. You can rotate items in and out of the box to keep it interesting and fun.  

Pour the dry goods into the container, making sure it covers the bottom of the bin. Add your nature materials, cups, and scoops.  Let your child have fun playing for hours!