63 Outdoor Learning Activities Kids will Love

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As a parent, and teacher, I try to get my children outside as much as possible. I am always looking for new outdoor learning activities. I was once told that (almost) any activity you can do inside a classroom, you can do outside. There is a lot of truth to this and with the right materials, you can easily take learning outside.

outdoor learning activities

I have gathered a collection of 63 outdoor learning activities. I hope they inspire you to try an activity outside!

The activities are sorted by subject area for quick reference. Some of the activities are simply ideas of how to bring learning outside. Other activities are specifically centered around nature and wilderness. All of the activities can be done outside and involve learning! I hope you find some ideas that inspire you!

For printable activities, for all subject areas, including outdoor learning activities, a link to choice boards with over 150 activities is available. Link at bottom.

Literacy

*Click the link below the picture for full activity description.*

This simple alphabet activity can be done just about anywhere, at any time. It is a great way for kids to practice letter formation and have fun, in nature, while they do.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/04/24/outdoor-education-2/

Kids have fun recognizing their letters – and then spraying them with water.

For children practicing sight words, have some fun finding, and splashing the sight word with a bucket of water.

https://homeschoolpreschool.net/teaching-sight-words-water-play/

Can you find two words/pictures that rhyme? This giant memory game is sure to be a favorite with kids!

https://growingbookbybook.com/giant-sized-rhyming-memory-game/

This Sight Word Scrub is a great, hands-on, way to learn and practice sight words.

https://www.danyabanya.com/sight-word-scrub/

This Beginning Sound, Melt and Break is perfect on a hot day!

https://growingbookbybook.com/beginning-sounds-activity-ice-melt-and-break

Create a nature journal with children to record some of their outdoor experiences.

https://thimbleandtwig.com/how-to-start-a-nature-journal-with-kids

Sometimes a simple, cozy reading nook is all kids need. Bring their love of reading outside.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/11/01/outdoor-classroom-ideas/

Art

You only need a few simple materials, and lots of sunshine, for these kid created works of art!

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/06/07/summer-art/

Get kids moving with a scooter board and some chalk.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/12/creative-art-for-kids-scooter-board-art/

There are so many outdoor learning activities you can do with these vocabulary vases.

https://meganzeni.com/garden-vocabulary-vase/

Did you know you can make paint using natural materials, like rocks? You can with this rock paint activity – best done outside.

Kids use the nature surrounding them to create these pieces of art. A small amount of clay, paint and lots of creativity is all you need.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/05/11/nature-art/

During the winter months, you can incorporate the snow into your outdoor education program. It is a wonderful sensory experience for kids to paint in the snow. It’s beautiful too!

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/03/09/outdoor-education/

Mix a bit of science and art with this exploding paint bombs activity.

https://www.mombrite.com/exploding-paint-bombs-activity

How cute are these? This is a perfect outdoor education activity because kids use items they find in nature to create art.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/11/01/outdoor-classroom-ideas/

Kids will love getting their hands a little messy with this outdoor sensory activity.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2020/07/09/sensory-play/

STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math)

This is one of my all time favorite outdoor education activities. With only a few materials children are challenged to build a tent or structure. It is hours of fun!

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/05/10/stem/

Teach kids about gravity in a fun, outdoor activity as they watch their superheroes fly!

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/01/23/gravity-for-kids/

Add some extra learning during a hike. A great activity to do with kids to learn about compasses and direction.

https://gosciencekids.com/finding-north-hiking-game-kids/

This activity incorporates a bit of science and math into a really cool human body activity that kids will love.

https://www.kcedventures.com/blog/outdoor-stem-how-long-are-your-small-intestines

This solar oven would be so cool when camping at home! The activity includes lots of science and fun.

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/diy-solar-oven

Create something for a marble to roll down into a bowl. Let kids get their hands on the materials and solve the challenge.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/28/stem-projects-for-kids/

Kids create their own javelin and use it for a great STEM activity! A great way to get kids outside learning and moving.

https://youvegotthismath.com/2016/06/11/javelin-throw-stem-challenge

Show kids how living things are all around them. This simple activity is no prep and keeps kids engaged.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/05/science-activity/

If your kids are interested in birds and their nests, this inquiry project is a perfect hands-on outdoor learning activity.

https://meganzeni.com/perfect-nest

Kids love playing with ice – especially if there are tiny treasures inside to dig out. This is a twist on ice play and perfect for the fall.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/24/outdoor-classroom-2/

Kids create their own balloon rocket with this science experiment.

https://www.mombrite.com/balloon-rocket-blast-off

Outdoor learning activities do not require lots of preparation. Sometimes, just giving children materials and watching what they create results in amazing learning. What if you simply gave children a collection of fabrics?

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/13/outdoor-classroom/

Outdoor learning is not limited to the warm months. Kids love being outside in all weather. This building activity can be done year round.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/03/09/outdoor-education/

Teach kids about friction outdoors!

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/11/20/experiments-for-kids/

Can you do anything to make ice melt faster? Watching ice melt has never been this exciting before!

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/06/15/science-for-kids-4/

Create balloon rockets, then test and race them outside.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/11/15/science-for-kids-2/

Small world play is a favorite with young children. This frog habitat is a great way for kids to learn about frogs while having hands-on fun.

w.thecrafttrain.com/frog-habitat-garden/

Trap, inspect and learn about bugs right in your own backyard!

https://rainydaymum.co.uk/bug-safari-pitfall-traps/

What lives in dirt? Kids discover all of the living things in the dirt.

https://gosciencekids.com/dirt-backyard-science-experiment/

Kids learn about photosynthesis in a way they can understand – and see!

https://www.kcedventures.com/blog/how-do-leaves-breathe-a-simple-science-experiment-for-kids

Kids explore their senses as they work through an outdoor scavenger hunt.

https://www.thepragmaticparent.com/explore-outdoors-sensory-scavenger-hunt-for-kids/

A simple sound hunt activity encourages kids to become aware of their surroundings.

https://theladybirdsadventures.co.uk/sound-hunt-for-preschool

Help kids recognize various leaves and then do lots of exciting activities with the leaves.

https://barleyandbirch.com/2017/09/freebie-kids-leaf-collection-kit

Kids record what they find and explore with their senses.

https://greatfamilyreads.com/five-senses-books

Learn how to identify various clouds with this activity – perfect to use as part of a weather unit.

https://nurturestore.co.uk/printable-cloud-identification-cards-cloud-activities

How many nests can you find? Mix math with science with this nature hunt.

https://www.stillplayingschool.com/2016/04/nest-nature-hunt.html

Go rock pooling (tide pooling) with children with this outdoor learning activity kids will love.

https://rainydaymum.co.uk/rock-pooling/

Where do all the animals go in winter? This fun outdoor scavenger hunt leads kids to find animals in their “natural” habitat.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/02/27/animals-that-hibernate-2/

Show kids how sunscreen protects their skin from the sun with this sunscreen painting activity.

https://team-cartwright.com/sunscreen-painting-steam/

Math

Find and spray number activity!

https://happytoddlerplaytime.com/numbers-spray-water-dump/

A number scavenger hunt will get kids excited about numbers as they hunt to find the numbers in order.

https://theladybirdsadventures.co.uk/outdoor-number-hunt-for-preschoolers

This Outdoor Number Order Sort is a great, hands-on way to increase number recognition.

https://thepreschooltoolboxblog.com/outdoor-number-order-sorting-game-for-preschool

Test kids memory skills with this memory match game using various materials found in nature.

https://rhythmsofplay.com/forest-school-outdoor-learning-and-nature-activities-for-kids/

Get kids moving with this simple outdoor learning activity that incorporates a bit of math and physical education.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/15/math-activity/

Keep kids moving with these field day activities to do outside.

https://www.mamasmiles.com/learning-laboratory-preschool-game-day/

Match and represent numbers using rocks in this hands-on outdoor learning activity.

www.thepreschooltoolboxblog.com/easy-chalk-and-rocks-activities-for-preschoolers-outdoor-playful-learning/

Challenge children to search for all of the beautiful patterns in nature.

https://meganzeni.com/patterns-outside-in-nature

Being able to sort by seeing the differences in objects is an essential skill. Try out this outdoor education sorting activity.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/13/outdoor-classroom/

Sensory

This is one of my favorite outdoor education activities! Let kids get a bit muddy as they “bake” with this sensory activity.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/06/29/summer-activities/

If you are looking for a gross motor activity, this is a great way to get kids moving outdoors.

https://www.tootsmomistired.com/sidewalk-chalk-obstacle-course/

Kids explore their senses with their feet with this “Walk Through Fall”.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/24/outdoor-classroom-2/

5 days filled with outdoor learning activities – like “Campfire Day”.

www.thecrazyoutdoormama.com/diy-summer-camp-101-at-home-with-printable-lesson-plans/

Leaf Weaving works on fine motor skills for little hands.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2018/10/24/outdoor-classroom-2/

Kids love playing with cookies cutters and play dough, but used outside with snow (or another seasonal material) creates a whole new sensory activity.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/03/09/outdoor-education/

Instead of throwing out paper, recycle and create this seed bomb – it makes a great gift from kids as well.

outdoor learning activities
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/05/17/crafts-for-kids-2/

Social Studies/History

Children learning about World War 1 will be engaged with this outdoor learning activity for WWI.

https://adventuresinmommydom.org/world-war-1-trenches-activity/

Outdoor Learning + Choice Boards

If you are looking for a printable collection of outdoor learning activities that you can do at outside at home or school, these choice boards include 24 activities for each subject area, including outdoor education/outdoor learning. All activities are low/no prep and minimal/no materials required.

outdoor learning activities
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Choice-Boards-Suitable-for-Distant-Learning-Set-3-5638539

For more kids activities:

http://teachingideas.ca/2020/05/17/escape-room-2/
http://teachingideas.ca/2019/01/11/easy-science-for-kids/

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