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Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids

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Make the great outdoors your classroom with these outdoor learning activities for kids.

Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Outdoor learning offers more than just a change of scenery.

Being outdoors improves children’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Outdoor learning is active, which not only promotes physical health but means hands-on learning is taking place.

This is the most engaging and memorable form of learning for most kids.

Being outside also lowers stress, promotes focus, and steadies the mood. Nature is incredibly calming, and it is right outside your doorstep.

You and your kids can reap the benefits of being outdoors with these outdoor learning activities for kids.

14 Fresh and Fun Outdoor Learning Activities

The great outdoors is its own biology and earth science classroom.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

A nature scavenger hunt will alert kids to their native plants, animals, rocks, and flowers.

Nature Journaling

Kids can be a naturalist by drawing and writing about the plants, animals, and minerals they find in nature.

Read more about keeping a nature journal for kids here.

Gardening

By planting a garden, kids can learn about germination, pollination, and the life cycle of plants.

Star Gazing

Learn about constellations, the cycles of the moon, and the planets by stargazing.

If you have access to a telescope, even better!

Pond Exploration

A pond is a local life source!

Take a net and bucket to your local pond and investigate the plants and animals living there.

If you have a microscope, you can look at pond water under magnification. It’s teeming with microscopic life.

Orienteering

Learn about navigation by reading maps and using a compass.

Or you can find hidden caches with geocaching.

Build Shelters

Build a shelter with found materials and put engineering concepts into practice.

Or, go the tiny route and make fairy houses.

Leaf Rubbing

Learn about leaf shapes and classification by collecting leaves and making leaf rubbings with white paper and crayons turned sideways.

While you have the leaves, you can complete this simple chlorophyll experiment.

Cloud Gazing

Learn about the different types of clouds (cumulus, stratus, cirrus, etc.) by charting the cloud types each day.

You can also use your imagination to spot creatures and characters in the cloud shapes. Use these as a storytelling prompt.

Nature Crafts

Practice fine motor skills and creativity with nature crafts.

Try nature bracelets and nature collages.

Rock Identification

Collect rocks in your area and identify them using a rock and mineral guide.

Note their color, and texture, and test their hardness (see if you can scratch it with a penny).

Tree Identification

Take your camera or nature journal and record the different trees in your area.

Make observations about their leaves, bark, and overall shape.

Then use a tree identification guide to identify each one.

Flower Dissection

Learn the parts of the flower (petal, stamen, anther, etc.) by completing a flower dissection (not scalpels needed!).

Outdoor Science Experiments

Why do science experiments inside when you can do them outdoors? Here are some fun experiments to try:

Outdoor Math Games

Who needs plastic math manipulatives when you have pebbles and sticks?

You can also make shapes out of sticks.

Or play various sidewalk chalk games.

Outdoor Learning Activities That Kids Will Love

Make learning refreshing and engaging with these outdoor learning activities.

Nature makes the best classroom!

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