21 Screen-Free Activities for Kids on Summer Break

Unplugging and having fun in the natural world is good for children – and parents. I’ve put together a list of 21 fun and natural summer activities that won’t require any screens to enjoy!

Spending time outdoors is a great way to build healthy habits as a family. Children can learn how to be comfortable in nature and develop a sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world around them.

21 Screen-Free Activities for Kids

Here’s my list of 21 screen-free activities for kids this summer.

Create a Nature Craft

Head to your local craft store and purchase a selection of natural materials like feathers, nuts, seeds and shells. Pick one or two items from the craft store and ask kids to create something with them. This can be a great opportunity for kids to learn about the different types of shells or flowers.

Find a Waterfall (or Other Natural Wonder)

Waterfalls are beautiful, peaceful and fun! Find one near you and enjoy splashing around in the water. If you’re feeling brave, find a swimming hole and go for a dip. You can also look for rocks to jump off or pools of water to wade in.

Play with Natural Materials

Pick up a basket full of natural items like rocks, pinecones, acorns and sticks on your way back home from the grocery store. The next time it rains, bring the basket outside and ask kids to create a work of art with their found materials.

Make a Nature Sculpture

If it’s raining outside or you’re stuck inside, make a nature sculpture. This is a great project to do with kids of different ages. Older children can make sculptures by using materials like clay and papier mache while younger children can create stick art or macaroni art.

Make a Nature Walk Book

Make a nature walk book with your child. Have them draw pictures of the things they see on their walk and write down interesting facts about what they see. This can be a great writing activity for children who are learning how to read.

Go Geocaching

Geocaching sounds complicated, but it can be really simple. You can learn more about geocaching here. It’s a great way to explore your neighborhood and get kids moving. You can also take geocaching walks in parks.

Plant a Garden

Plant a garden with your child and teach them how plants grow and how to look after them. You can find out about how to grow your own garden here. If you have an older child, it’s a great way to improve their math skills and help them with physical exercise too.

Go on a Nature Walk

Kids love collecting things while they’re out on nature walks. Pick up some nature scavenger hunt items like acorns, pinecones, leaves and sticks and ask kids to find them later on the walk. You might also want to stop at different points along the walk and ask kids to identify different plants, trees and animals.

Go Camping

If you live near the beach or mountains, go camping for the weekend or even just for the night. Even if you don’t own a tent, you should be able to find a campground to go to for the night. If camping isn’t possible, ask your city’s parks department about rentals.

Go Stargazing

If you’re in a rural area, there will be a lot of stars visible. If you’re in a city, there may not be as many but you may be able to see the moon and stars. When looking at the stars, ask children to name different constellations. You could also look at the moon and talk about the craters and mountains that are visible.

Go on a Bug Walk

On bug walks, you look for different bugs which can be found in parks, gardens and forests. Kids will probably pick up sticks along the way which can be used to poke bugs in their hiding places. Bug walks can be especially fun when done at night with a torch and a magnifying glass.

Make a Campfire and Roast Marshmallows

Fire is a very important part of nature. Talk to children about how many cultures around the world use fire and how important it is to our survival. Roasting marshmallows over an open fire is a great way to relish nature’s warmth. You can also roast hotdogs, sausages and other meats over open fires.

Play Hide and Seek

There is nothing more natural than hide and seek! Play the game outside in your backyard or somewhere in the park. It’s also a great way to improve your child’s motor skills and help them develop their tracking abilities as they search for their friends.

Make a Nature Journal

Get a blank book and ask your child to draw pictures of plants, flowers, animals and anything else they see on their nature walks. They can make notes about what they see too. This is also a great way to encourage kids to read.

They can make notes about what they read about in their books when they go on nature walks. This is also helpful for parents who want to teach their children about the environment in an age-appropriate way.

Make Leaf Prints

You can make leaf prints with your child by placing a leaf on a piece of paper, putting a piece of cloth on top and then placing a piece of wood or heavy book on top for a minute or two. This will help children understand the natural world.

Go on a Bird Walk

If you’re near a pond, lake or river, find some birds and point them out to your child. If you’re in a city, go to a nearby park and find birds in the trees. You can also go on a bird walk which is usually hosted by a local nature center. You can find out more about bird walks by searching online.

Make a Bird Feeder

You can make a bird feeder with your child using natural items like pinecones and peanut butter. This is a great way to get kids to understand how important it is for animals to have food. It’s also fun for children to watch birds eat from their bird feeder.

Fly a Kite

Kites are a great way to enjoy the natural elements and get some exercise at the same time. You can purchase kite kits at stores like the Dollar Store or online. If you don’t have a kite, go out to a park and fly a kite with friends. You can also make a kite from paper, glue and string.

Enjoy Nature’s Music

If you’re near a pond, lake or stream, it’s fun to listen to nature’s music. You can record the sounds of nature and use them as the background music when you’re reading bedtime stories to your children.

Take a Nature Walk

Take a nature walk with your child and ask them to identify different plants, trees and animals along the way. If you have a camera with you, you can take pictures of everything they find and ask them to help you identify them later on.

Make a Nature Scavenger Hunt

Get some nature scavenger hunt items (like sticks, acorns and rocks) and ask your child to find as many items as they can in 30 minutes or an hour.

You can also create nature scavenger hunt sheets for older children if you want them to do advanced tasks like identifying different types of plants and animals.

Having Fun Outdoors with Kids

I hope you enjoyed this list of fun and natural activities for kids! If you have any questions about any of these ideas, please join our Facebook group and let us know.

tAnd stay tuned for even more great articles on Family Living!

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Kenny Kings

Kenny Kings is a chapter book author who is helping Paul Bellow fill the Hoosier Chapter Books blog with great content. You can find out more about Kenny Kings on the Kenny Kings bio page. Kenny Kings does not have children of his own, but he has more than enough nieces and nephews. With the help of the editorial team, he's been contributing to our blogging efforts to help families everywhere while promoting our chapter books. You can contact him at kennykings@hoosierchapterbooks.com.