As a Charlotte Mason homeschool family, we spend a lot of time outside. Every day we participate in nature study, nature journaling, and unstructured outdoor play. It’s something that we’ve made part of our family culture! However, it wasn’t always this way. It’s taken many hours of time, work, dedication, and research to find the right places, times, and gear to play outdoors. Today, I want to share with my my outdoor play essentials for kids.

Outdoor Play Essentials

Shop Outdoor Play Essentials



1 // All-Weather Suit

This suit is a lifesaver. It allows my children to play in the mud/water without having to get their clothing super soaked or muddy. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in inclement weather, this is definitely a must-have! We have some cheaper Amazon ones (my daughter is wearing hers in pink), but next year we will get the Oaki suits (linked above) as the quality seems much better.

2 // Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is a must! I love the new, bigger hydro flask lids that come with a handle for longer hikes, but this smaller 16 ounce bottle is great for fitting into a back pack!

3 // Rain Boots

We get so much use out of our rain boots! These are another must-have item to keep my kids’ feet dry! These boots and the Oaki suit are my top two items, I think!

4 // Binoculars

Binoculars are great if your children love to look at nature. We are avid birders, so it’s essential to have a way to see things far away! You can get an inexpensive pair like the one I linked above, or Nikon and Canon have more expensive binoculars if you have older children.

5 // Fleece Layer

We use our fleece layers daily for half of the year. I love fleece because it’s warm and cozy, but easy to wash. We get this Patagonia fleece pretty filthy, but the stains usually come right out after a good wash and it’s ready to go again. I just have one for each girl right now, but eventually, I’d like to get them a second. My 6-year-old daughter wears the size xs in “girls” and my 2-year-old wears the 3T.

6 // Warm Layer

I never wore coats as a child. I grew up in Southern California where you don’t really need a coat. However, I’ve found that they’re essential when you spend time outdoors year-round.

7 // Waterproof Field Guide

This is wonderful for children who are always asking “what type of mushroom is this?” or “What bird was that again?” The waterproof field guides are small, and easy to throw in your bag before a hike!

8 // Nature Collection Basket

My daughters love collecting things they find outside. Having a designated “nature collecting basket” allows me to keep my pockets and hands uncluttered, but they get to bring their treasures home!

9 // Nature Journal

My daughters are avid journalers. Just this year, we’ve decided to take our nature journals with us on the go. These compact nature journals and the water colors I linked below live in our bag. Make sure to date your journal entries and include where you saw your observations! It’s a lot of fun to look back on these over the years.

10 // Water Colors

Love this compact water color set with a lid.

11 // Magnifying Glass

For looking at little things up close!

If you can think of anything else that’s absolutely necessary for outdoor play, I’d love to hear your ideas! If you’re a parent who spends a ton of time outdoors with your family, these items area great place to start. Also, stay tuned, because next time I’m sharing a “Hiking Mom Essentials” blog post.



I hope this post about our outdoor play essentials was helpful to you! Thank you so much for reading!

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