15 Easy Indoor Nature Activities for Kids

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Getting your kids outside isn’t always easy.  Maybe it’s blizzarding and raining buckets, you live miles from a park, or your kids just simply refuse to go out.  Sometimes a quiet and covert approach is necessary.  Below are 15 easy indoor nature activities to help you foster a love of nature in your kids.

A preschooler playing with natural loose parts at a table

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It is my hope that some of these indoor nature activities will spark an interest and curiosity that expands to the outside world… giving your kids the eagerness and willingness to get outside and explore when the opportunity arises.

15 Easy Indoor Nature Activities:

  1. Teach your kids how to tend to the houseplants.
  2. Grow herbs, sprouts, or mushrooms indoors and use these for cooking.
  3. Hang artwork on the walls depicting plants, animals, and landscapes.
  4. Fill your children’s bookshelves with nature guides, animal picture books, or subscribe to nature-themed magazines.
  5. Choose story time books about animals or the relationship between the environment and people.
  6. Direct kids to nature and science-based television programming and websites or ‘nature cams’
  7. Do some composting with indoor composting worms.
  8. Set up a fish tank or terrarium.
  9. Have kids care for pets or babysit a neighbor’s furry (or scaly) friend for the weekend.
  10. Start a ‘treasure shelf’ where kids can display their outdoor finds (rocks, leaves, pine cones, etc).  Consider leaving a magnifying glass or kid’s microscope on this shelf.
  11. Set up a telescope in a window with a constellation map or reference book near by.
  12. Consider indoor nature toys like animal and dinosaur figurines or stuffies to play or cuddle with.
  13. Encourage dinner table conversation about animals, science, and nature.
  14. Create nature element sensory bins and collect natural loose parts to play, build, and craft with (think sand, seashells, pine cones, rocks, and twigs).
  15. Make a comfortable indoor bird watching station with pillows, a bird guide, binoculars, and note paper.

Above all else, kids are the world`s biggest copycats.  So, the most important thing you can do to encourage a love of nature is to model a respect for living things and the environment, and to show them your interest and excitement with the above suggestions.

With a little prompting, it can be fun to see how your kids will get excited and interested in nature.  I love watching kids’ interests grow… they’re always different, and sometimes surprising.


How indoor nature activities, learning, and play encouraged outdoor exploration:

My son became very interested in dinosaurs after watching the Walking with Dinosaur series.  This interest then lead us on many fossil hunting hikes and museum trips.

toddler's feet standing on a rock covered in fossils
Indoor dinosaur learning means fossils are all the more exciting when we find them outdoors!


My daughter found our Audubon Bird Guide, made a pair of binoculars, created a bird notebook, and began regular bird watching – all on her own initiative.

A preschooler sitting on the floor birdwatching out the window
Just watching the birds from our little indoor birdwatching station


Perhaps my children’s interests in dinosaurs, fossil hunting, and birds would have generated on their own.  But, I really do believe that the little invitations to learn we’ve left around the house did play a big role in igniting those passions.

It is so very easy to include some of these indoor nature activities into your home and day.  Are there any other ways that you include nature in the home for you or your kids?


What should you do now?

You can take it to the next level and challenge yourself and your family to include a little more nature every day… try the 5 day mini-challenge.  You’ll receive an email prompt each day with a few small activity ideas to include more nature into a busy family day.

P.S. If you’re not quite ready for the challenge, but still want to receive tips, activity ideas, motivation, and access to printable scavenger hunts, outdoor games, camping lists and more, then Join the Take Them Outside Newsletter and start getting connected to nature today!



Other related posts:


photo of family's shoes with mountains in the distance. text reads join the 5 day mini-course challenge


Preschooler doing nature crafting, painting twigs with orange paint. text reads 15 nature activities when you're stuck inside

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