Outdoor Families

There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors! Spending time in nature is good for our bodies, minds, and families. We’ve shared some DIY activities, parks, and organizations that are great for outdoor family time. Try some of these ideas, or create your own adventure!

Good for Bodies


Children who spend more time outside..

  • are more physically active
  • have lower BMIs
  • have better motor skills
  • are less likely to develop myopia
  • learn to balance risky play with safety

Good for Minds


Time in nature increases…

  • attention & focus
  • good mood
  • empathy
  • sense of belonging and connection

Good for Families


Families who spend time in nature develop…

  • stronger bonds
  • better communication
  • incredible memories

Free Play is Best!


Free play (or unstructured play) is child-led play where children are motivated by their own desires and curiosities. Free play is a fundamental necessity for children to thrive physically, emotionally, and mentally. It builds imagination, problem-solving abilities, and social skills. Getting outside is a great way to encourage free play.  Read more about the importance of unstructured play and how to encourage it with your kids here.

DIY Nature Activities


Make a family meal special by enjoying it at a favorite park or outdoor area.

Mud Pies

Grab some dishes and spoons and head to a dirt pile.  Create mud pies by mixing dirt and water. The fun is endless!

Sit Spots

Spend a quiet minute or more in nature and tune into your senses.  Pick a spot to return to regularly and notice the changes over time.

Nature Art

Gather leaves, sticks, rocks, or any nature design and create designs in nature.

Fairy Houses

Use natural materials to create a fairy house or home for a toad.  Add fun details like a bed, walkway, or decorations.


Let your child be a nature photographer while out at a park or on a hike. You’ll be amazing at how much they notice when they are taking photos.

Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of things to find, collect, or take pictures of on your next outing.

Trail Bear!

Add some motivation to your next hike by hiding gummy bears or other treats along the way for the kiddos to find.

Find more ideas at these fantastic websites:

Best Parks for Nature Play



  1. Rock Ridge Park (NE)
  2. Stone Creek Park (SE)
  3. Pine Nursery Park (NE)
  4. Shevlin Park (NW)


  1. Dry Canyon Trail
  2. West Canyon Rim Park
  3. Tetherow Crossing Park


  1. Barnes Butte Trail
  2. Rimrock Park
  3. Ochoco Creek Park

Organizations that get kids outside

Resources About Children, Health, and Nature