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Are you looking for some fun outdoor mindfulness activities to do? In this post, we’ll go over some simple yet fun mindfulness activities you can do in the playground, garden, forest, beach or other natural surroundings.

Note: For some of these outdoor mindfulness activities you’ll need some non-toxic paints, paper and pencils.

When was the last time you felt truly present? I sometimes think back to when I was a child, playing in some random field on a warm summer evening and feeling truly present and in awe of the natural beauty around me. Perhaps this was because the warm red glow of the sun setting was still a fairly new view to me or maybe we just lose a lot of the awe of nature as we get older. Maybe, we take it for granted or just get too wrapped up in our lives to stop and appreciate the natural world around us like we once did.

No matter if you currently spend a lot of time in nature or not, I think we all have a lot of that awe inside of us when it comes to viewing the natural world, it’s often just a case of making time to be outdoors. There’s a reason you often feel good after you’ve gone for a walk along the beach or a stroll in the forest on a warm sunny day. I think it’s because being outdoors in a natural setting is a great way to practise mindfulness and be authentically present.

Furthermore, being outdoors and feeling connected to nature is linked to both cognitive benefits, improved mental health and emotional well-being as explained on Apa.org. Perhaps this is due to our basic human nature, after all, we as humans came from nature so it makes sense that indulging in it can make us feel good.

Outdoor mindfulness activities

With this in mind, here are some simple mindfulness activities that are great for both adults and children. In my experience, it’s often the little and the most straightforward things that make me feel good and this includes being outdoors.

1. Mindful earthing

We’ve all taken our shoes and socks off in the park or on the beach before. In my experience, I’ve often found it relaxing and calming and incredibly grounding to have my bare feet touch grass or sand. There has been some research done on the benefits of connecting your bare feet to the ground and some have shown it to improve your mood and lower blood pressure as detailed here on Mindbodygreen.com.

Clint Ober, the founder of The Grounding Movement often talks about how you can connect with the electrical charge the Earth provides us. Whilst some research has shown many benefits of this practice, more is still needed.

Regardless, here’s how you can practise mindful earthing;

Find somewhere outdoors where there is soil, grass or sand.

Remove your socks and shoes.

Stand or sit down with your bare feet on the ground.

Notice how the ground feels on your feet.

Become aware of the temperature of the ground. How does it feel?

How does it feel against your skin?

Do you feel any aches or pains? Describe them as you notice them.

2. Clouds observation

This is a super fun and simple outdoor mindfulness exercise that we’ve probably all done at some point! However, we’ve likely never seen it as a mindful activity.

Here’s how to do it;

Find somewhere comfortable to sit and lay down so you can face the sky.

Observe each cloud as it calmly passes by above you.

Notice how they differ in shape and size.

Bring your awareness to the scale of the sky and the purpose of the clouds as they carry moisture across the atmosphere.

Think about how small you are in comparison to the Earth.

If you see clouds that look like other things, make a note of them.

3. Tree observation

This is another simple outdoor mindfulness activity you can do almost anywhere – as long as there’s a tree!

Here’s how to do it;

Look for a tree nearby

Notice how tall it is and how wide or narrow it may be.

Use your hands to touch its surface. Is it smooth or rough to the touch?

How long do you think it has stood there?

Can you see any bugs on it? If so, what are they doing?

4. Dandelion breathing

This is one of the best outdoor mindfulness activities for kids. It works really well if you have a physical dandelion. However, if you don’t it’s just as fun to use your imagination.

If you can find a dandelion to use;

Find somewhere to sit on the ground.

hold your dandelion up in front of you.

take a deep breath in through your nose to the count of 4 seconds.

blow out through your mouth over the dandelion to start breaking the dandelion apart.

Continue without distraction until all of the dandelion is floating in the air.

If you don’t have a physical dandelion to hand;

Find somewhere comfortable to sit or lay down and close your eyes.

Imagine a dandelion in front of you.

Picture every little detail of it.

Breathe in through your nose to the count of 4 seconds.

Exhale through your mouth forcefully and imagine you’re blowing the dandelion’s buds away.

Continue to do this until all of the dandelion buds are floating around in your imagination.

Download 18 Outdoor Mindfulness Cards

Bright and colourful they’re perfect for kids at home or at forest school!

Find out more

5. Mindful listening

Hopefully, your outdoor space is away from noisy cars for this outdoor mindfulness activity. This exercise is great for tuning your sense of hearing into the natural sounds around you.

Here’s how to do it;

Find somewhere comfortable to sit or lay down on the ground.

Close your eyes and take some deep calm breaths.

Notice the sounds around you.

Can you try and hear 5 different noises?

If you can, spend a minute or two imagining what is making each noise and build a picture of those things in your mind.

6. Bug hunt

This next outdoor mindfulness activity is a fun one for kids especially. The idea is to go out in your outdoor area and hunt for bugs. This exercise is particularly fun because you usually end up finding interesting bugs that you wouldn’t normally see laying on a leaf, for example.

Here’s how to do it;

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil.

Go and hunt for 5 different bugs!

Once you’ve found each bug, give them each a name.

Use your pencil to make a list and have a go at drawing each one.

Bring your awareness to where each bug lives and what different colours they are.

You can then research them later on and find out their actual names.

7. Flower hunt

This is another fun exercise for kids to do (and you may just enjoy it as a teenager or adult too!). This is a scavenger hunt where you’ll be looking for different flowers.

Here’s how to do it;

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil.

Go out and hunt for flowers, hopefully, different ones with different colours and shapes!

Try and find 5 different flowers and sketch each one then give each a name.

Take note of their colours. How many are there?

You can then research them later and find out what flowers they are.

8. Stone painting

Stone painting has become really popular in recent years. It seems wherever you go, there’s usually a painted stone nearby! This is a fun mindful activity to do not only because painting is fun but then leaving your creative creation somewhere for someone else to find is fun in itself!

here’s how to do it;

Grab some medium-sized stones, preferably smooth ones that you can paint on.

Bring your paints outdoors and begin to paint them.

Make each stone unique.

Hide them around your outdoor space.

That’s it!

9. Mindful perception

This fun mindfulness activity is all about using your perception and imagination. The idea is to study a natural object before recreating it in your mind.

Here’s how to do it;

Find somewhere quiet to sit and be still.

Choose a natural object from the outdoors like a flower or a log.

Study the object’s shape, texture and colours closely.

Now, take your time and close your eyes. Begin to slowly recreate the object in your imagination.

Imagine how it feels, smells and almost tastes as you build its picture in your mind.

10. Leaf breathing

This next activity is a breathing exercise that gets you to count for 4 seconds as you inhale, tracing one side of a leaf before exhaling to the count of 4 seconds as you trace around the other side of your leaf.

Find a medium-sized fallen leaf nearby.

Use your finger to trace one of its sides and inhale for 4 seconds as you reach the tip of the leaf.

Exhale for 4 seconds as you trace around the other side of the leaf.

Do this for 4 or 5 cycles.

11. Create your name

This is another activity that is super fun and gets kids to write their names using the objects in their natural surroundings. It gets them to go around hunting for interesting objects they can use to write their names on the ground.

Here’s how to do it;

Find an area on the grass, soil or sand for you to write your name.

Go and look around your outdoor area for loose objects that you can use to write your name on the ground. For example, these could be fallen leaves, twigs, pine cones and shells.

For every letter of your name, try and use a different object. For example, if your name is David, try and find 5 different objects to use to build each letter on the ground.

12. Mindful shape hunt

Nature comes in all shapes and sizes. This is another one of our outdoor mindful activities that get kids looking around and hunting for different things – this time it’s shapes.

Here’s how to do it;

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil.

Now, go hunting in your outdoor area for something round, something bumpy, something square, something triangular and something smooth.

Once you have found one of these different shapes, draw the objects on your paper.

Think about how many different kinds of shapes you can see around you. Write them down. How big is your list?

13. Build a habitat

Building a habitat for bugs, insects and birds is a perfect creative way of practising mindfulness. This activity gets you thinking about what kind of habitat your chosen animal might enjoy living in. Once you have discussed your ideas, you can go and hunt for the objects you need.

Here’s how to do it;

Have a think about what animal you’d like to make a habitat for.

For example, if you want to build a nest, have a look for small twigs you can put together.

You could even use some fallen bark to make a small bird box before lodging it in a tree.

If you have building supplies to hand, you could paint your animal home using non-toxic paints.

14. Mindful clean up

Unfortunately, litter gets everywhere these days, including in our outdoor spaces. This is a great activity especially for children to get them to understand the importance of putting their rubbish in the bin.

Here’s how to do it;

Talk with your friends, teachers or parents about why putting rubbish in bins is important.

Have a think about how rubbish could harm animals and plants.

Now, look around your outdoor surroundings and clear up any rubbish you can see. If you cannot see any obvious rubbish, tidy up anything that is out of place to keep the area clean and neat.

Take your time as you clean up.

15. Mindful breathing

This mindful activity is a simple breathing exercise that can be done indoors but in my opinion, is even better outdoors in the fresh air surrounded by nature.

Here’s how to do it;

Find somewhere comfortable to sit or lay on the ground.

You can keep your eyes open or closed.

Notice your surroundings but do not become distracted. Simply observe.

Challenge yourself not to talk during this activity until the time is up.

Take a breath in through your nose to the count of 4 seconds.

Hold your breath for 4 seconds.

Exhale fully out of your mouth for 4 seconds.

Repeat this for 3 minutes.

16. Messy hands

One of the best things about being out in nature is getting messy in the dirt. Like earthing yourself by connecting your bare feet to the soil below you, simply getting dirty can be a great way to connect with nature.

There are several ways you can do this;

Put your hands in the mud.

Jump in some puddles.

Put your hands in a puddle/lake.

Walk out into a lake or river with your shoes off up to your ankles.

Jump in the mud!

Fun outdoor mindfulness activities for all

These outdoor mindfulness activities are great because they can be done by people of all ages and abilities. They’re particularly ideal for things like forest school or simply when you’re out and about in nature.

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