The weather is warming and the kids are itching to get outside. Don’t deny them the fresh air. With these ideas you can take all your learning outside into your own backyard or schoolyard. Some of our favourite educational activities over the years have involved getting outdoors! So today I am sharing the Best Outdoor Educational Activities for Kids.
Educational Outdoor Activities and Lessons
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We love to do our learning outside whenever we can. Living in Canada we get all four seasons, with one REALLY LONG WINTER. So the summer is an especially important time for us to embrace the outdoors.
Here at STEAM Powered Family I am often being asked by teachers, parents, educators, camp leaders and more for activity ideas. So today we are taking the learning outside with our favourite outdoor educational projects.
Looking for fun outdoor activities for kids? Look no further!
First, keep in mind that depending on your set up, almost any activity can be done outside. Worksheets can be done at a picnic table, experiments in nature, and best of all the kids get fresh air, can move and still learn!
Now one major restriction on outdoor learning will be weather. Living in Canada we deal with a lot of extremes. Especially extreme cold. And although most of our year is spent indoors, we do have some activities to help us get outside with our learning year round.
The Best Outdoor Classroom Activities
Blast off your lessons with this activity that thrills kids of all ages! Bottle rockets are powered by a simple chemical reaction. Students build a launch pad and can even decorate their rockets. Then power them up and 3, 2, 1…..
Kids love bubbles, so it only makes sense that they love them even more when they are super-sized giant bubbles! Learn the secret to our special bubble juice recipe plus how to make a super-sized bubble wand, then make memories and giant bubbles in the backyard!
This project kept my kids busy all summer! It is a great summer camp project. Kids can build their own obstacles and challenges with tires, then run their obstacle course to build those gross motor skills and strength.
We did this project for an outdoor birthday party and the course stayed up, and was built upon, all summer long! We even brought in some technology by filming some first person runs that the kids could edit together into their films to capture the summer fun forever! A fantastic summer camp project.
We LOVE making Oobleck. Although we have made it indoors, I HIGHLY recommend doing it outdoors if you are able. This allows kids to really play and explore. If you have the space make a pool sized batch kids can run on. Or gather some flowers or lemons and make a gorgeous
Egg Drops are a brilliant way to take the learning outside for an activity that can get VERY MESSY! There are tons of ways you can challenge kids to engineer capsules to safely land their eggs, or bring some science into the mix and do our Oobleck Egg Drop Challenge!
This is a simple engineering project, but you can definitely challenge your older kids to build more complex designs for feeding the neighbourhood birds.
For a more challenging STEM Project, try one of these Bird Feeder STEM Project ideas for kids.
This is a fun project to do late in the year once the birds have all abandoned their nests. It is a great math and balance challenge that will really get kids minds working as they find that perfect, natural balance.
This is such a wonderful activity to do with the kids. Have them go for a walk and create their own collection to form a special sensory bin of all their finds. Kids love collecting rocks, feathers, leaves, flowers, acorns and more. Put it all together into a wonderful sensory bin representing the season in their neighbourhood. We did this one to celebrate the autumn equinox.
This is a great outdoor project to do in the spring and early summer when wild flowers are everywhere! Use them to create some cool bouquet crafts featuring real flowers. Makes a great little craft for kids and gets this outdoors.
This is a fantastic project to do with your kids while camping. It teaches kids about density while also being a fun and surprising project that results in lots of experimenting and discovering.
This is a brilliant way to teach the scientific method, but be prepared for things to get messy! Using a variety of materials kids will come up with their hypothesis, create their variables, test and measure the results, and come to conclusions for future studies. But kids with water balloons? Yup, it gets messy! Definitely a fun outdoor activity for kids.
In the fall you can head outside and do some scientific investigations into how leaves change colours in the fall. This science also creates some gorgeous natural art.
Puking Pumpkins (or squash, or watermelons!)
This is such an incredibly messy project that thrills kids! Definitely do this fun outdoor activity in an area that is easy to clean up. At Halloween you can repurpose your Jack O’Lanterns to learn some chemistry, but even during the summer you can grab some watermelons or other squash to create your own puking creatures!
When the weather turns truly cold, one of our favourite backyard science activities to do every year is Frozen Bubbles. These gorgeous orbs are a stunning study in crystallization and freezing.
We have only done this experiment on a smaller scale inside, but outside you can go bigger with your Elephant Toothpaste! Use large beakers and more supplies for even bigger eruptions, with no worry about the mess.
More Fun Outdoor Learning Ideas
Being outdoors is so beneficial for many kids when learning. There they can move and wriggle, they can make noise without it echoing, they can breathe fresh air, and most of all have fun! Here are even more project ideas for summer camp, outdoor classrooms or your backyard.
Get the kids digging in the dirt! Teach them how to grow flowers and fun and see how their understanding of nature grows. Gardening is also shown to have a variety of health benefits for kids including engaging all the senses, physical activity, fine motor skill development, learning patience, promoting healthy eating, plus it builds self confidence and a sense of responsibility.
One exciting way to introduce kids to gardening is to make Seed Bombs (with launchers of course!), or Recycled Paper Seed Bombs.
I love this idea and have done it a number of times with my kids especially when they are younger. I get large rolls of paper, then I provide the kids with paints (or silly string, or water guns with coloured water) and let them go crazy! They can paint with their hands, brushes, sponges and more. One of the kids favourite projects was using sponges, dipping them in paint, and throwing them at the paper. This can get SUPER messy, but is also so much fun.
This is such a passion around here. I have a family full of star gazers. Even better when there is a meteor shower. This is a wonderful project for your kids at home, or at a summer camp. Find some dark sky and enjoy the universe!
Have fun taking your learning outside and inspiring a passion for learning in all kids with these outdoor activities for kids!