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Nature Play Verbs For Endless Outdoor Fun

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Every time your child goes outside to play, they have an opportunity to learn and hone in on skills like math, science and expanding their vocabulary. Children naturally explore their surroundings, especially outdoors with so many new discoveries to be made. But, sometimes our children need a little push getting started.

As parents it is our job to "plant the seed" for our children's exploration of the natural world and then watch as they take-off utilizing their own imagination & creativity. Some children may need more guidance than others, but eventually, and with enough practice, they will soon begin to think and see the world this way all on their own. You can use the Nature Play Verbs to help you plant the seed of exploration with your child at home. I encourage you to let your child lead the way in their own discoveries and creations, with just a little nudge to get them started!

Words to encourage your child's exploration of the natural world outdoors, fostering their imagination, creativity, motor skills, language skills, and more!

Check out our list of Nature Play Verbs to get your children actively engaged in playing outdoors!


  • Explore

  • Build

  • Create

  • Discover

  • Collect

  • Experiment

  • Make

  • Crush

  • Break

  • Connect

  • Construct

  • Pull

  • Cut

  • Smell

  • Trim

  • Rake

  • Look

  • Move

  • Pile

  • Transport

  • Form

  • Dig

  • Feel

  • See

  • Stack

  • Lift

  • Climb

  • Skip

  • Balance

  • Jump

  • Run

  • Catch

  • Throw

  • Sit

  • Smell

  • Hear

  • Pull

  • Crawl

  • Hide

  • Grow

  • Plant

  • Weed

  • Pour

  • Splash

  • Mash

  • Stir

  • Mix

  • Roll

  • Scoop

  • Count

  • Swing

  • Wash

  • Sort

It's amazing to see what children create when left to their own devices!

To use this list you may choose to pick a word a day. For example, today's word is COLLECT. So, you say to your child, "Do you see anything to collect today?" or "Is there anything you'd like to collect today?" If you child is struggling with a more vague question, you can be more specific for example, "How many sticks can you collect?" As time goes on, the goal is for nature exploration to be less parent guided and allow for the child to begin to form these questions on their own. You can also extend the activity by collecting multiple items or by combining two or more nature verbs for example; COLLECT & BUILD. "Can you collect sticks?" & "What do you think you can build with them?" If your child struggles to come up with ideas, you can prompt them again. "Can you build a shelter out of sticks, what do you think?" Vary guidance based on your child's age & experiences as well. Younger children just beginning to explore the outdoor world will need slightly more guided directions than older children or children with more experience.

A few of our favorite Nature Play Verbs for Summer are:








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