For Parents

Off-Screen and Out the Door! Activities for Kids in Your Backyard, Garden or Park


04/15/2020 | @Home Activities for Kids

Backyard Adventure is one of many great guides available for inventive and engaging off-screen time outside for kids. Many of these DIY and how-to guides use re-purposed or recycled materials and things that are typically found around swingsets and in backyards. There is no need to buy anything, just open your eyes and let these guides help your imagination take over.

In addition to the e-books featured below, you can find kid friendly activities on our Activities for Kids Pinterest Board. Don't miss the board Garden Activities. Here are some printables to help get you started exploring in your own backyard!

From trying new recipes to brushing up on your language or drawing skills, check out "social distancing" friendly ideas from At Home Activities for Kids, a list of e-books you can check out from Overdrive with your IndyPL library card. Nature activities are included!

Jim Arnosky Frog Coloring Page

  • Children's Book illustrator Jim Arnosky has been writing nature guides for kids for decades. He has a wonderful set of coloring pages available called 100 Animals Every Child Should Know. Color and collect them all! Each page is one of Jim's accurate illustrations with a matching black and white drawing for kids to color. See Jim's books here.
  • Ranger Rick Magazine has made their website free to all visitors through the end of June. This includes digital versions of all their magazines (Ranger Rick ages 7-12, Ranger Rick Jr. ages 4-7, and Ranger Rick Cub ages 0-4), outdoor activities, animal crafts, and educator's guides.
  • Indiana Audubon has an Indiana for the Birds Teaching Packet that includes every single thing you might want to know about backyard birds from diagrams to bird feeders. Take a look at the national Audubon site too. Audubon for Kids divides activities up into lessons which might help you plan some days outside.

You can read these books about the outdoors right now by just clicking on the book cover.

Free Online e-Books:

Sunny DayDon't Squash the BugWonders of NatureMiss Maple's SeedsThe Birds I'll SeeA Garden for MeHow to Draw a ButterflyWho Walked Here?The Wise Animal BookWorms in the Garden


Take a Walk and Read a Story

Take a walk and read a story as you go! We invite you to visit StoryWalk® in Ruckle Street Park at 3025 Ruckle Street. Stroll through the park and read a book displayed in mounted frames.

Many of our locations are within a short distance of excellent places to walk and explore. You'll have to BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) this time! Just keep appropriate social distance while there and wash your hands when you get home!


    Go Outside! It's Time for e-Learning Recess!

    Kids on e-learning days need recess - probably really long ones! These e-books you can access from home are teeming with ideas for fun outdoor art, science, and engineering projects and games that are just plain fun. Unplug and get muddy! #indyplkids

    The Organic Artist for Kids

    A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies From Nature

    Neddo, Nick

    Go on a walk and gather your supplies!

    Outdoor Science Lab for Kids

    52 Family-friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and Park

    Heinecke, Liz Lee

    In your own backyard, it's simple, inexpensive, and fun to whip up a number of amazing science experiments using the great outdoors. Physics, chemistry, and biology can be found all around in nature. Presents fifty-two science activities that can be done in a backyard,

    Put on your Owl Eyes

    Open Your Senses & Discover Nature's Secrets; Mapping, Tracking & Journaling Activities

    Franklin, Devin

    Sharpen your senses and get to know the natural world up close with this guide to nature observation and exploration, including tracking, mapping, and reflective journaling activities.