The Benefits of Nature-Based Activities for Children


Nature-based activities offer a wealth of benefits for children of all ages. These activities can range from a simple walk in the park to camping trips or hiking excursions. Engaging in nature-based activities can help children develop important skills, learn about the world around them, and foster a lifelong appreciation for nature. In this article, we will explore the many benefits of nature-based activities for children.


1. Encourages Physical Activity and Outdoor Play

Nature-based activities are an excellent way to encourage children to get outdoors and engage in physical activity. Outdoor play has been shown to improve physical health and reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Walking, hiking, climbing, and exploring the natural world can help children build strength, coordination, and balance. This physical activity can also boost children’s immune systems, improve their sleep, and enhance their mood.

2. Fosters Creativity and Imagination

Being immersed in nature can spark a child’s imagination and creativity. The natural world offers endless possibilities for exploration, discovery, and play. Whether children are building a fort in the woods, creating a painting inspired by a scenic view, or inventing their own outdoor games, nature-based activities can help to nurture their creativity and imagination.

3. Develops Environmental Awareness and Stewardship

Nature-based activities can help children to develop a deep appreciation for the natural world and a sense of responsibility for protecting it. Through outdoor activities, children can learn about environmental issues such as climate change, conservation, and sustainability. They can also learn about the interconnectedness of the natural world and their role in preserving it for future generations.

4. Promotes Emotional and Mental Well-being

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a positive impact on emotional and mental well-being for children. Being in natural surroundings can reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Nature-based activities can also improve mood, boost self-esteem, and foster a sense of calm and relaxation.

5. Builds Social Skills and Relationships

Nature-based activities can provide children with opportunities to build social skills and relationships. Engaging in outdoor play with others can help children develop important social skills such as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. Nature-based activities can also offer opportunities for family bonding, as well as new friendships through outdoor recreation programs.

6. Offers Hands-On Learning Opportunities

Nature-based activities offer hands-on learning opportunities that can supplement classroom-based learning. Children can learn about science, geography, history, and other subjects through outdoor exploration and observation. They can also learn about different species of plants and animals and their habitats, as well as the natural processes that shape the world around us.

7. Encourages Independence and Resilience

Nature-based activities can encourage children to become more independent and resilient. Outdoor activities offer opportunities for children to make their own decisions, problem-solve, and learn from mistakes. Being in nature can also help children to develop resilience and adaptability, as they learn to cope with unpredictable weather conditions or navigate unfamiliar terrain.

8. Boosts Mental Health

Nature-based activities have been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Studies have found that spending time in nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in both children and adults. Being in nature can also improve mood, boost self-esteem, and promote feelings of happiness and well-being.

9. Fosters Environmental Awareness

Spending time in nature can help children develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the environment. Through outdoor activities, children can learn about ecosystems, animal habitats, and the importance of conservation. This can help them develop a sense of responsibility for protecting the natural world.

10. Improves Attention Span and Focus

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve attention span and focus, particularly for children with ADHD. Being in a natural environment can help reduce distractions and increase mental clarity, allowing children to better concentrate on the task at hand.

11. Enhances Sensory Development

Nature provides a rich sensory experience for children, with opportunities to touch, smell, see, and hear different things. This can help children develop their senses and improve sensory processing skills, which can be particularly beneficial for children with sensory processing disorders.

12. Supports Academic Achievement

Nature-based activities can have a positive impact on academic achievement. Studies have found that spending time in nature can improve academic performance, particularly in subjects such as science and math. Nature-based activities can also boost creativity, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking abilities, which can translate to better academic outcomes.

13. Increases Environmental Responsibility

By engaging in nature-based activities, children can develop a sense of responsibility for the environment and an understanding of the impact humans have on the natural world. This can lead to a desire to take action to protect the environment and make sustainable choices in their daily lives.

14. Promotes Independence and Self-confidence

Nature-based activities can provide opportunities for children to explore and take risks in a safe environment. This can help children develop independence, self-confidence, and resilience. By taking on challenges and overcoming obstacles in nature, children can develop a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities.

15. Provides a Break from Technology

Nature-based activities provide a welcome break from the screens and devices that dominate many children’s lives. By unplugging and spending time in nature, children can enjoy a different type of stimulation and gain a better appreciation for the natural world.


Overall, nature-based activities provide a wide range of benefits for children, from physical health to mental well-being, social skills, and cognitive development. By incorporating outdoor activities into a child’s routine, parents and caregivers can help children develop a deeper appreciation for nature and set them on a path to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Tips on Incentivizing Kids to Conduct Nature-Based Activities

This blog will also point out some tips on how to incentivize children to conduct these nature-based activities, especially in today’s ever more digital age where children are glued to their screens and ultimately, falling in love with nature:

1. Make it fun: Children are more likely to engage in activities that are enjoyable and entertaining. Make nature-based activities fun by incorporating games, challenges, or competitions that motivate and excite children.

2. Create a sense of adventure: Children love adventure and exploration. Turn nature-based activities into an adventure by creating a scavenger hunt, treasure hunt, or obstacle course. This will help spark their imagination and make the experience more exciting.

3. Offer rewards: Rewards can be a powerful motivator for children. Consider offering small rewards, such as stickers, tokens, or treats, for completing nature-based activities or achieving specific goals. This can help children feel a sense of accomplishment and motivate them to continue participating.

4. Involve friends: Children often enjoy spending time with friends and engaging in activities together. Encourage your child to invite friends to join in nature-based activities, which can make the experience more enjoyable and social.

5. Make it a family activity: Parents can also join in nature-based activities and make it a family activity. This can create a sense of togetherness and bonding, as well as reinforce the importance of spending time in nature.

6. Incorporate their interests: Children are more likely to engage in activities that align with their interests. Find out what your child is interested in and incorporate those elements into nature-based activities. For example, if your child loves animals, incorporate animal-themed activities or nature walks.

7. Provide tools and equipment: Providing children with the necessary tools and equipment for nature-based activities can make the experience more engaging and fun. For example, giving them binoculars, magnifying glasses, or a bug catcher can enhance their exploration of the natural world.

8. Create a sense of ownership: Encourage children to take ownership of their nature-based activities by letting them choose the activities they want to do or letting them plan and organize their own outdoor adventures. This can help them feel more invested in the activity and increase their sense of responsibility.

9. Set achievable goals: Setting achievable goals can help children feel a sense of accomplishment and motivate them to continue participating in nature-based activities. Start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase the difficulty level as their skills and confidence grow.

10. Provide positive feedback: Positive feedback and encouragement can go a long way in motivating children to participate in nature-based activities. Celebrate their successes, acknowledge their efforts, and praise their hard work. This can help them feel proud of their accomplishments and motivated to continue.

11. Use technology: Even though nature-based activities should be a break from technology, perhaps only sometimes and in today’s digital era, technology can also be used as an incentive for children to engage in nature-based activities. For example, apps that allow children to identify plants, birds, or animals can make the experience more interactive and engaging.

12. Set up a challenge: Setting up a challenge can motivate children to participate in nature-based activities. For example, challenge them to identify as many different plants or animals as they can during a hike or see who can build the best nature fort.
13. Allow for freedom and exploration: Give children the freedom to explore and discover nature on their own. This can help them develop a sense of independence and self-confidence while also sparking their curiosity and interest in the outdoors.

14. Make it a regular habit: Consistency is key when it comes to building a habit. Try to make nature-based activities a regular part of your family’s routine. For example, make a commitment to go for a hike or bike ride every Saturday morning.

15. Emphasize the importance of environmental stewardship: Teach children about the importance of protecting and preserving the environment. This can help them develop a sense of responsibility and ownership over the natural world, which can motivate them to participate in nature-based activities.

16. Model the behavior: Finally, lead by example. If your children see you regularly engaging in nature-based activities, they will be more likely to follow your lead. Show them that you value spending time outdoors and exploring nature.

By making nature-based activities fun, rewarding, and social, children are more likely to be motivated and excited to engage in them. Encouraging their interests and involving friends and family can also make the experience more enjoyable and memorable. Not to mention, by providing the necessary tools, creating a sense of ownership, setting achievable goals, and offering positive feedback, children are more likely to be motivated and engaged in nature-based activities. Incorporating technology and using positive reinforcement can also make the experience more interactive and rewarding. Also, by allowing for freedom and exploration, making nature-based activities a regular habit, emphasizing the importance of environmental stewardship, and modeling the behavior, children are bound to fall in love with nature and cherish these experiences.

While nature-based activities are a great way to engage children and promote their learning, there are also many other resources available that can make learning fun and engaging. Easy coloring pages, fun coloring pages, and coloring pages that are simple can be a great way to introduce children to early childhood learning concepts such as colors, shapes, and numbers. Early childhood learning centers and preschool learning centers often incorporate these types of activities into their curriculum to make learning fun and engaging for children.

In addition to coloring pages, there are also many fun kindergarten activities and learning games that can help children develop important skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking. Learning ABC games, for example, can help children learn the alphabet and improve their language skills, while fun learning games can help with math and science concepts.

For parents who are looking for additional resources, there are also many play-based preschool learning videos available online. Play-based preschool learning videos can help children develop important skills while keeping them engaged and entertained. Some websites like Play to Learn Pre-School and offer a variety of resources for parents and educators, including fun learning games, easy coloring pages, and educational videos. By making learning fun and engaging, children can develop a lifelong love of learning that will serve them well throughout their academic and personal lives.


In conclusion, nature-based activities offer a multitude of benefits for children’s physical, emotional, and mental development. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a camping trip, or a day spent exploring the natural world, these activities provide children with important learning opportunities, while fostering a lifelong appreciation for nature. Encouraging children to spend time outdoors is an investment in their well-being and their future.

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Natasha Hanina is a writer, comedic performer, producer and educator. She holds a Master’s degree in Art Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.