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. Although I used many of these activities as outdoor classroom ideas for kindergarten, children of all ages can enjoy the activities and ideas.
Whether you are an educator looking for outdoor education activities, or a parent or caregiver simply looking for outdoor activities for kids you will find lots of ideas in this collection.
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 a printable outdoor activity, a link to a printable outdoor scavenger hunt escape room is included. Simply print and play!
Outdoor Classroom Ideas by Subject
*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.
With this activity, kids will have fun recognizing their letters and then spraying the letters with water.
For children practicing sight words, have some fun finding, and splashing the sight word with a bucket of water.
Can you find two words/pictures that rhyme? This giant memory game is sure to be a favorite with kids!
This Sight Word Scrub is a great, hands-on, way to learn and practice sight words.
This Beginning Sound, Melt and Break is perfect on a hot day!
Create a nature journal with children to record some of their outdoor experiences.
Sometimes a simple, cozy reading nook is all kids need. Bring their love of reading outside.
You only need a few simple materials, and lots of sunshine, for these kid created works of art!
Get kids moving with a scooter board and some chalk.
Focus outdoor learning with a collection of hands-on activities all in a printable booklet. From STEM building challenges to art projects, kids will love working their way through the booklet and activities.
There are so many outdoor learning activities you can do with these vocabulary vases.
Did you know you can make paint using natural materials? You can with this nature paint activity.
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.
Winter Outdoor Education
During the winter months, you can mix the snow into your outdoor education program. It is a wonderful sensory experience for kids to paint in the snow. It’s beautiful too!
Mix a bit of science and art with this 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.
Kids will love getting their hands messy with this outdoor sensory activity.
If your kids like drawing and creating using sidewalk chalk, they will love this liquid sidewalk chalk. It is easy to make and the color is bright and beautiful!
Kids love collecting rocks. Put those rocks to good use with this nature art outdoor learning activity. It mixes a bit of art and math into an activity you can use over and over again.
Keep creating and drawing outside with this homemade sidewalk chalk activity. Our favourite was the rainbow block of chalk!
STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Challenges
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!
Teach kids about gravity in a fun, outdoor activity as they watch their superheroes fly!
Add some extra learning during a hike. Learn about compasses and direction.
This activity incorporates a bit of science and math into a human body activity that kids will love.
This solar oven would be great when camping at home! The activity includes lots of science and fun.
Outdoor Learning Activities
Create something for a marble to roll down into a bowl. Kids get their hands on the materials and solve the challenge.
Kids create their own javelin and use it for a STEM activity! A easy way to get kids outside learning and moving.
More STEM and Hands-On
If your kids are interested in birds and their nests, this inquiry project is a perfect hands-on outdoor learning activity.
Kids love playing with ice especially if there are tiny treasures inside to dig out. Perfect for fall!
Kids create their own balloon rocket with this science experiment.
Outdoor learning activities do not have to 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 is not limited to the warm months. Kids love being outside in all weather. This building activity can be done year round.
Teach kids about friction!
Create balloon rockets, then test and race them outside.
Small world play is a favorite with young children. This frog habitat is a great way for kids to learn about frogs.
Outdoor Learning Activities – Science
Can you do anything to make ice melt faster? Watching ice melt has never been this exciting!
Trap, inspect and learn about bugs right in your own backyard!
What lives in dirt? Kids discover all of the living things in the dirt.
Kids learn about photosynthesis in a way they can understand and see!
Kids explore their senses as they work through an outdoor scavenger hunt.
A simple sound hunt activity encourages kids to become aware of their surroundings.
Outdoor Learning Activity Printable
Help kids recognize various leaves and try out some fun experiments.
With this activity kids record what they find and explore with their senses.
Learn how to identify various clouds with this activity.
How many nests can you find? Mix math with science with this nature hunt.
Go rock pooling with children with this outdoor learning activity kids will love.
Where do all the animals go in winter? This fun outdoor scavenger hunt leads kids to find animals in their “natural” habitat.
Show kids how sunscreen protects their skin from the sun with this experiment.
Find and spray number activity!
Outdoor Learning Activities Math
Make a regular hike or walk through the forest even more engaging with a free printable scavenger hunt. There is lots of math mixed in as children are challenged to find twigs the length of their hand and stones smaller than their fingernail. The sheet is printable, and free!
A number scavenger hunt will get kids excited about numbers as they hunt to find the numbers in order.
This Outdoor Number Order Sort is a great, hands-on way to increase number recognition.
Test kids memory skills with this memory match game using various materials found in nature.
Get kids moving with this simple outdoor learning activity that incorporates a bit of math and physical education.
Keep kids moving with these field day activities to do outside.
Match and represent numbers using rocks in this hands-on outdoor learning activity.
Challenge children to search for all of the beautiful patterns 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 Sensory
If you are planning a camping trip, this printable escape room is a perfect activity to take with you. Simply print and play and to add to the excitement of the trip. Simply print ahead of time, and use materials you (likely) already have with you.
This is one of my favorite outdoor education activities! Let kids get a bit muddy as they “bake” with this sensory activity.
If you are looking for an active game, this is a great way to get kids moving outdoors.
Kids explore their senses with their feet with this bare foot sensory activity.
5 days filled with outdoor learning activities, such as “Campfire Day”.
Leaf Weaving works on fine motor skills for little hands.
Kids love playing with cookies cutters and play dough, but used outside with snow creates a whole new sensory activity.
Instead of throwing out paper, recycle and create this seed bomb.
Outdoor Learning Activities – Social Studies/History
Children learning about World War 1 will be engaged with this outdoor learning activity for WWI.
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Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Escape Room
Escape rooms are very popular right now! Take the fun of an escape room outside to your own backyard with this printable backyard escape room. No special materials needed, simply print, set up in minutes and play!
Earth Day Printable Flip Book
Celebrate the earth with a collection of Earth themed activities. Ideal for classroom use or homeschool. Click image for more information.
Outdoor Learning Choice Board
Looking for a printable collection of outdoor learning activities that you can do at outside at home or school? Download the free choice board from Hands-On Teaching Ideas. Once you subscribe, and confirm, you will gain access to the Free Resource Library and be able to download lots of free resources.
More Kids Activities and Hands-On Teaching Ideas
Looking for more hands-on teaching ideas? Below are a collection of favorite and most popular activities, including science experiments, escape room puzzles and STEM challenges.