Multi-particle dispersion is studied using direct numerical simulations of temporally evolving mixing layers and planar jets for tetrahedra consisting of four fluid particles which are seeded in the turbulent regions or in the non-turbulent regions near the turbulent/non-turbulent interface (TNTI). The modified Richardson law for decaying turbulence is observed for particle pairs. The size dependence of the mean and relative motions of the entrained tetrahedra indicates that the characteristic length scale of the entrained lumps of fluid is approximately 10 times the Kolmogorov microscale. When the tetrahedra move within the TNTI layer they are flattened and elongated by vortex stretching at a deformation rate that is characterized by the Kolmogorov time scale. The shape evolutions of the tetrahedra show that in free-shear flows, thin-slab structures of advected scalars are generated within the TNTI layers.