We know it's a challenge to keep our kids unplugged in a tech-saturated world. But the evidence keeps growing that emphasizes the benefits of having kids play outside. Did you know? It has been recommended that children get 4-6 hours of playtime outside per day?

That is definitely aspirational as it might not be doable every day, it certainly can be a goal to achieve a few times a week. Current statistics suggest that the average child gets only 4-7 minutes of outdoor free play. Why so much time outside? The purpose of challenging our families to be outside is an attempt to match our time in nature (which is restorative) with our screen time in our daily lives. 

Unstructured imaginative play is so crucial for emotional, social and cognitive development. Allowing our kids autonomy to be curious has long-term benefits for maintaining cognitive function, mental health, and physical health.


We've posted about the benefits of outdoor time and suggested outdoor activities such as hiking, scavenger hunts, and even day trips or weekend getaways that foster time in the great outdoors. Or even moving a meal outdoors makes a for new setting that refreshes the senses.

But how do you do that during colder weather? As winter thaws into spring, make an outdoor themed craft! Not only do you do the craft outside, but the craft itself encourages more outdoor time-- Homemade birdhouses. 

With a few simple recycled items and basic craft supplies, you can create lots of fun to chase the winter/ early spring blues away. 

Supplies needed:

  • Craft area- picnic table/ patio
  • Prep craft surface- newspapers/ old sheets/ cardboard
  • Popsicle Sticks/ Tongue Depressors
  • Milk/ Juice Cartons
  • Spray paints (optional)
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paint brushes/ Sponge brushes
  • Craft Glue
  • Twigs/ small sticks (foraged)
  • Twine/ String
  • Birdfeed

Start with prepping your cartons. Rinse and paint. Whether you decide to use spray paint or brush on paint, do this the day before your craft to allow for dry time. Make sure to also cut out holes for the birds.

For extra fun, gather neighbors or friends for this fun weekend or afterschool activity. Let each child decorate and paint his or her own birdhouse. Use paper plates as a paint palette and let the creativity flow! 

After the cartons have dried, affix popsicles/ tongue depressors across the top of the carton with glue to serve as the "spine" for a thatched roof. You can build the roof with twigs, sticks and any other materials you can think of. 

Don't forget the "feather the nest" with a bird perch using a thick twig on the outside and fill the inside with some bird seed. Lastly, make sure to use strong string or twine to hang birdfeeders and enjoy watching nature right outside your window. 

For more fun outdoor activities, make sure to check out our other related blog posts:

Nature Walk + Free Scavenger Hunt Printable

Hiking Family Fun + Tips for Hiking with Kids

Easy Gardening Fun

Summer Bucket List + Free Printable

Winter Weekend Getaway

February 26, 2023 — Sarah Beaugh