15 Outdoor Activities for Preschoolers

photo of toddler playing in the woods

Preschoolers have lots of energy, don’t they? Sometimes too much energy than 4 walls can contain! We’ve put together some of our favorite outdoor activities for preschoolers – for every season – so you can encourage their creativity, exploration, and get some healthy fresh air!

Winter

Believe it or not, kids LOVE to be outside when it’s cold. As the Swedes say, there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. So bundle up and get outdoors! Fresh air, creativity, and change of scenery are things we all need when the days are short. Here are some of our favorite winter outdoor activities for preschoolers.

woman man and girl sitting on snow
Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com
  1. S N O W – we’ll cheat a little with this one and give you a few extras just because we always seem to need more ideas when the weather is cold. Snowball “fights”, fort building, snow-person making, snow angels, looking at how each snowflake is different, snow ice cream, melt the snow inside, put a snowball in the freezer, snowshoeing, sledding, skiing, or just simply stick your tongues out and try to catch a few flakes. If you don’t have snow where you live, you can read books about snow and talk about what it might feel like, look like, taste like, smell like, or sound like.
  2. Bundle up and take a walk and talk about how things are different: trees with no leaves, less animals around, no insects, less sunlight. Ask your preschooler why do they think it’s this way in the winter?
  3. Cozy up with a blanket by the bonfire and talk about hibernation – why do some animals hibernate? What does hibernating mean? Which animals hibernate and can we pretend to be bears?
  4. How can we recreate our favorite summer activities in the winter? Can you ride your bike in the snow or bundled up? How about a snow race? See their creativity shine.

Spring

We emerge from hibernation to a world of wonder and change. Share that excitement with your preschooler with some fun and maybe messy activities. Here’s a list of our top spring outdoor activities for preschoolers.

photo of boy wearing yellow shirt
Photo by Ahshea1 Media on Pexels.com
  1. Go ahead and splash in those puddles! What if the puddle took you to another place – where would you go? Muddy feet and wet clothes can get cleaned up in a jiffy, but the memories and fondness for change of seasons will last a lifetime.
  2. Climb some trees and observe up-close how they wake up after a long winter’s nap. Do you see the buds? Are there more birds?
  3. Cloud Animals. When was the last time you laid on a blanket in the grass and looked at the clouds? Challenge your preschooler to find animals or objects in the clouds and make up a story.
  4. Set up an easel or a table outside and encourage your preschooler to paint a landscape picture. Do they see green grass or flowers blooming? Can they collect some flowers and glue them to their painting?

Summer

This is probably the easiest season to come up with outdoor activities for preschoolers (or really anyone!). What are your favorite summer activities?

photo of boys playing together
Photo by Danya Gutan on Pexels.com
  1. Water play. Even if you don’t have access to a pool or water to swim in, you can still fill up a bucket or baby pool and explore with your child. Splash, have fun, and talk about animals and plants that grow under water.
  2. Plant a garden. Learn how seeds grow into food we eat and watch the bees pollinate. Even a small tomato plant on your deck is a great way to learn about plants and spend more time outdoors learning to care for it.
  3. Free play. This one is so important and can apply to all seasons and weather. Just let your preschooler play on their own. You’ll be amazed after some encouragement how much fun they can have with no toys and no plan.

Fall

It’s a beautiful time of year when the leaves change, but many adults dread the impending winter. Preschoolers don’t worry about that – every season is fun! Put on your preschooler hat and enjoy the outdoors with them all year round. Here are a few of our must-do outdoor activities for preschoolers.

mother walking with daughter in forest
Photo by Andrew Wilus on Pexels.com
  1. Collect leaves on a nature hike. Use them in crafts or to decorate your house. Talk about how the leaves change and why, and look at how leaves from different trees vary.
  2. Explore new places. Look up parks and trails in your area and visit a new one every time you go. Being in new magical places with a stream or rocks to climb or tree tunnels to walk through is a magical experience for preschoolers and grown-ups alike!
  3. Have an outdoor picnic with your garden harvest (or from your farmer’s market!). Talk about how fall is the season of harvest and ask which foods your preschooler is most grateful for.
  4. Go on a fall scavenger hunt and find things on your list that animals need to prepare for winter: acorns, pinecones, leaves, etc. How many can you collect?

Which outdoor activities for preschoolers will you try? Do you have any ideas you’d add to this list?

Published by Kara Hoholik

Kara Hoholik is an impact entrepreneur and writer living on a farm outside Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband and 3 children. When she isn't washing muddy feet, you can find her reading, with a cold cup of coffee still sitting in the microwave.

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