12 Nature Friendly Summer Activities for Portland Kids!
As a parent, it’s safe to say that kids playing outside is (almost always) a good thing. Especially during an Oregon summer. With so much beauty – trees, flowers, rivers and nature abounding, the climate is perfect for all types of outdoor activities.
Wondering what to do with the kids in this wonderful summery weather? I started this list for our family and decided to expand it for others. What I found was that the list falls into 2 types of activities: drop-off kids at camp kind of activities or activities to do together as a family.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Portland Audubon Society Programs:
“Portland Audubon’s passionate and growing community has loved and advocated for Oregon’s wildlife and wild places for more than 100 years. With the help of our vast network of advocates, nature enthusiasts, and partners, we inspire and connect people to nature through a variety of programs that are grounded in science and learning”.
Here in the Portland area they offer a variety of youth programs, including Outdoor School and Outdoor programs.
- Portland Parks and Recreation Nature Camps: They also offer a variety of programs for families including Nature Day Camps.
- Strawberry tasting at Ecology Outdoors. This is a camp that offers a variety of nature friendly programs for kids. From farm steading to how to survive in the Wild West, kids get hands-on experience in a natural environment and learn how to be in relationship with the outdoor world around them.
- Fun days for kids at Camp Collins: When it comes to camps for kids the YMCA always comes through with a variety of camps and programs.
- Trackers PDX: Offer a variety of camp and outdoor programs. The founder describes their purpose is to provide a:
“Greater connection to community, nature and many generations beyond our lifetime”.
- Learn about Habitats: and a variety of other programs through the Oregon Zoo Summer Camps.
- Visit the Portland Japanese Garden for free! Using the Oregon Library Cultural Pass. Sign-up through your local library to see what free passes are available (availability dependent upon County library program).
- Go on a night walk to see owls: Friends of Silver Falls is a state park in the SW area of Portland that offers a variety of programs including night walks to see owls!
- Try a field trip to Zenger Farms: They offer a variety of activities, including farm camps for kids of all ages and a bi-monthly program to support local urban beekeepers!
If you drive a little ways out of Portland, you’ll find:
- A weekly farm camp: at Old McDonalds Farm (no I’m not singing, that’s their real name!) They not only offer weekly farm camps but also a junior vet program!
- Berry Picking at Bella Organic Farms: In NW Portland, Bella Organic Pumpkin Patch and Winery offers a veggies stand, a small petting zoo (including a Llama!) Their pumpkin patch and maze are popular for a Fall activity.
- Do you have really energetic kids? Activities and outdoor adventures offers kids an obstacle challenge in Sherwood, OR.
To get more ideas, try asking other parents what their recommendations are for local activities. You can also look for activities through local athletic clubs, girl scouts groups or churches in your area.
Have a great summer and enjoy your time in the sun with the kids!
Additional activity ideas: