There are so many lovely nature games to play with kids in the great outdoors. Use these nature activities as a way to sneak outdoor time in with your students,
Outdoor Nature Games ideas
Nature Matching Game
You’ll need some recycled newspaper and pairs of natural materials (enough to accommodate every child in the class).
For example, if you have 18 children, you’ll need 9 pairs of nature materials wrapped in recycled paper. 18 paper balls in total. Each child is handed a paper ball and then they get into a circle. They all throw their paper ball into the middle of the circle. Now each child must pick up a ball, open it up and find their matching pair.
Animal Movement Dice
Roll the die and then children need to move or make the sound of the animal that is displayed. Super simple and so fun!
Pass the Pinecone Nature Game
This is like pass the parcel, only using a pinecone. You can use music but it’s even better if you learn a nature song with the group for this occasion. The teacher sings it first and whoever the pinecone lands on when the song has finished is out. The people who are out, also need to sing the song until only one person is left.
Baby Bear Nature Game
To play it you need a blindfold, a jar of honey (real or a toy) and a noisy instrument of some sort – usually a tambourine or some bells. Ask one child to come and sit in the middle of the circle. They are baby bear and they need to put a blindfold on so that they can’t see. Put the honey behind the baby bear. Give the tambourine to one of the children in the circle. Their job is to stand up as quietly as possible, and sneak over to baby bear, pick up the honey, and sneak back to where they are sitting with it. The bear has to point to the child who stole the honey.
Nature Memory Game
For this nature game you need a bag of simple natural materials and a basket. The first child takes an item from the bag and says, “ I found a rock in the forest”, They put the rock in the basket so that everyone can see it. Then it’s the next person’s turn. They take a leaf from the bags and say “we saw a rock and a leaf in the forest’. They put the leaf in the basket and it continues with children having to sequence the items correctly.
For the harder version, the idea is that you place the items in a box with a lid so that the items can’t be seen.
Nature or Animal Game
This is a lovely way to enjoy a quiet activity to focus on mindfulness after they come in from busy high-energy activity. Take ten minutes to enjoy some yoga poses in a circle. Grab these yoga cards as inspiration.
Did You Hear that Nature Game
Have one child sitting in the middle of the circle. They put a blindfold on. Then something makes a noise and they have to point out where the noise came from. Noise ideas – scrunching leaves, a stick that breaks, an owl hooting, etc.
You could also blindfold the whole class as the teacher moves around the circle. Children must point out where the teacher is.
Missing Child Game
This is a great game for showing why the buddy system is important when out in nature. The idea of this game is that all children close their eyes. This is the tricky bit!! Then tap one child on the shoulder. That child is going to go and hide somewhere where the others cannot see them. Then tell the children to open their eyes. Who has gone missing? Do it a few times without setting a buddy, and time how long it takes to figure out. Then, buddy your children up and see if it takes less time to figure out who is missing.
This is a bit like the game whispers, but with an object from nature. Have a mystery object in a bag or box. Whisper what the object is to the child next to you, and they have to pass it around the circle whispering to each other as they go. When they have gone all the way around, the last person says what it is out loud. Open the bag and reveal if they got it right!
Die Nature Game
Throw a dice into the circle and say something easy to find in nature. For example, leaves, rocks, seeds, blades of grass, and specks of dirt. Ask children to collect this number of items and bring them back to the circle. It’s super fun and helps with number and dice recognition. Use a giant die like this one.
Start with one outdoor nature game and then try another each week. It won’t be long until your students’ have favorites.