70 Best Summer Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids


Head outside this summer with this huge collection of screen-free activities for kids, groups and families. Summer is a time for a break from classroom learning, but that doesn’t mean that learning has to end. Summer months are a great time to fill with hands-on activities and exciting adventures outdoors. With this huge collection of 70 Best Summer Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids, you can fill your summer bucket list and make this summer the best!

Look through the collection below to find building challenges, science experiments, scavenger hunts, art projects and much more. Many of the activities use materials that you would have access in from nature, others include materials that you probably already have around your house.

With all of the activities below you can fill your entire summer with a new activity each day! Make it a hunt for kids to collect the materials they need for a chosen activity and add a bit of outdoor, screen-free learning to your summer days.

summer outdoor learning activities shows a pinterest pin collage of outdoor activity images.

For more activities to try outside, check out the popular collection of 63 Outdoor Learning Activities for home or school or a collection of 37 Simple STEM Activities for Summer!

Summer Activities with Water

Kids love to get outside and play with water. Keep kids busy and cool by giving them a challenge with their water play outdoors. As with all kids activities, make sure to supervise children, especially around water.

For another huge collection focused on STEM challenges using water check out 33+ Best Water STEM Activities, for indoor and outdoor fun!

Reuse some old pool noodles for this STEM building challenge. Give kids a collection of supplies and challenge them to create a boat and then send it across some water.

Clean water is essential to life. Teach kids a bit about how hard it is to filter and clean water with this Clean Water Challenge.

If you’ve got a little kiddie pool that your kids love and play in all summer, turn it into a whole new experience with this musical science pool by adding pots, pans and other instruments to the water to make lots of sounds and music!

Take tower building to the next level. Build a city on water and see how it fares against the waves. This is a great activity to turn toys that kids play with all the time into a new activity.

Make a simple rain gauge and learn about natural weather patterns.

Stick Boats

Use sticks for this simple STEM challenge and then test in water! It’s a fun way to stay cool while learning!

Build a Boat STEM Challenge is a great activity for the backyard pool or lake.

You can use your imagination how you would set up this activity, but there are lots of gross motor skills, fun and laughter involved in this activity!

STEM Building Challenges

Throughout the year I do lots of STEM challenges with my kids at home and my students at school. They are a great way to build problem solving, team work and critical thinking skills. STEM activities blend Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skill into a hands-on project.

For more STEM challenges, check out 45+ STEM Challenges and another collection of 60 Best STEM Activities including science experiments and math.

Give each child a balloon, string and a straw for this balloon rocket experiment. What can you do to make your balloon fly and go the furthest?

Look at him go! Learn about gravity and your favorite superhero as you watch it fly through the air. Test different strings and heights to make your superhero go the furthest.

Print the free rocket page and create and test the rocket by blowing it through the straw. After testing it, make improvements and test again.

Build sun shelters for creatures from UV beads. If you’ve never used UV beads, this is a fun experiment for kids to see the magic of the beads.

Mix science and a sweet when you make solar oven smores.

Summer Outdoor Learning Activities

S’mores are a classic summer treat! Use the sun to create these tasty summer treats.

Egg Drop Challenge with Free printables. This is a great, classic activity perfect for groups.

Circle Loop Planes – experiment with different sized loops and shapes – will a triangle fly as well as square? A fun interactive STEM activity.

Test ramps and speed with this ramp building challenge. Kids must design a way for the marble to roll down to the bottom, without falling off, and place the ramp at an angle so that the marble lands at the end without too much speed.

Play with physics as your kids put their critical thinking skills to the test to engineer this fun bottle rocket.

Can you build a tent with sticks and a piece of fabric? Find a way to build a tent that a child can sit inside of. Kids can secure the sticks in the ground or find a way to balance them on the ground.

Use materials from outside to create an Ewok catapult.

Learn a little bit about ancient history as children build a shaduf.

Make a tissue paper parachute for a fun backyard STEM activity. Experiment to discover what makes it fall faster or slower, how the wind moves it, and more.

Hands-On Activities in Nature

Using materials from nature for your summer outdoor learning activities are a great way to keep your screen-free projects free! For more STEM activities, check out 34 Best STEM Activities with Nature.

Mudpies are a memorable part of childhood. Instead of mudpies, try mud meatballs and use the song, “On Top of Spaghetti” while children get messy with this sensory experience.

Create a fairy garden using materials in nature.

Investigating flowers on the light table is a fabulous way to use children’s sensory perceptions to deepen their learning.

Summer Outdoor Learning Activities

This Make A Birds Nest STEAM project is a fun way to challenge your kids and get them testing out their ideas and problem solving. Can you build a nest using natural materials just like real birds do? No glue or tape allowed!

Learn about birds and bird watching while making a fun ice cream cone bird feeder.

Use a shoebox to create a kit that kids will love to use to explore the outdoors.

Hang onto a bug, or two in this observation box. Kids will love creating the box and enjoy the little critters they find all summer long.

Your tweens and teens will love this awesome bushcraft activity. Get them unplugged, outside and enjoying nature with this survival skills fire starting challenge, no matches allowed!

Seeds and Plants

Use recycled paper for this seed ball project. Kids will love the feel of the paper pulp and forming their ball. Add grass seed, or seeds for flowers to the mix, plant and watch them grow!

This is a favorite every year at our house! Use an old pair of nylons and fill with soil and seeds, then water it and watch it grow. The characters you can create are endless!

Kids will have fun learning about planting seeds and caring for growing plants with deck planters.

Sunflowers are beautiful and an easy flower to grow. Teach kids about sunflowers and have them plant their own!

Combine plant science with engineering and physics by making seed bombs with launchers and help rewild your yard.

Science STEM Experiments

In this experiment you’ll create a chemical reaction using baking soda and vinegar that will make a baggie explode!

Kids can learn all about the life cycle of a butterfly while creating a fun and educational paper plate craft that depicts the different stages.

Take a few simple ingredients and a couple of bags and watch science at work to make a yummy treat! It’s the prefect activity for a group of kids.

With just a few pieces of leftover chocolate, try this simple science experiment outside this summer. Use the sun and set each piece of chocolate on different materials to see if any of them melt faster.

Upcycle a cardboard box into a solar oven to bake marshmallow treats or melt crayons.

This experiment uses Borax to make a campfire green.

In the laminar flow experiment, water appears to freeze when it’s coming out of a balloon. The secret to this magic trick is, as almost always, science.

Summer Outdoor Learning Activities

Have you ever looked at a bowl of mixed nuts and wondered why all the large nuts are on top? It seems counterintuitive. Shouldn’t all the heavy nuts be at the bottom? Here is a fun experiment with LEGO pieces and sand to explore important scientific concepts.

If you’ve never tried the mentos and coke experiment, this summer is the perfect time to try this outdoors! Kids of all ages love watching this explosion and it’s always a favorite science experiment, anytime of year!

Make a homemade spectroscope with a few simple materials and explore the spectrum of different light sources. You’ll see all kinds of rainbows!

Searching for a fun and educational outdoor activity for kids? Create a baking soda and vinegar sensory play tub for them to experiment and play with, ensuring hours of engagement!

Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles! Create a bubble snake and turn traditional bubbles into something new.

A simple rock sundial is not only a fun and frugal summer activity, but there is much to learn. You can use this activity for preschool and up, creating more challenging tasks for different ages.

Summer Outdoor Learning Activities Using the Sun

I can’t wait to try this experiment with my class! Does the color of an object make any difference for keeping something cool, or it getting hot? Find out with this experiment.

Bring some art to your science this summer by making cyanotype sun art!

Harness the power of the sun and make crayons with this creative hot weather science experiment for kids! Set-up is a breeze, and there is little-to-no clean-up.

Harness the power of the sun as you make cool Sun Melted Crayon Rock Art.

Explore light and shadows with this fun rainbow sun catcher activity out in the sunshine

Math and Language Based Outdoor Activities

If kids love worksheets and pencil and paper work, it’s great to continue to use throughout the summer, but there are lots of hands-on activities that you can also do with kids on the go outside. When going on a hike or walk outside, try creating an alphabet using materials from nature. It’s a great way for kids to practice their numbers, and letters, in a fun way.

Head outdoors and try this simple alphabet tracing activity that uses chalk and rocks.

If your children are familiar with the popular children’s book, “Going on a Bear Hunt” continue the love for the book with a sensory walk. Set up bins for each part of the story for children to work through, barefoot.

In this outdoor watermelon math game, kids can take turns spitting watermelon seeds and measuring how far they went and other fun watermelon math activities!

Create number and other markings with chalk and have children do different learning activities using items from nature, like stones.

If you’re looking for a fun alphabet activity to try with your kids, then try building giant letters outdoors using scrap wood.

Summer Outdoor Learning Activities – Art

Summer is a great time for lots of art projects. Head outside for this collection of summer outdoor learning activities to create beautiful art projects.

Collect different, colorful items from nature and create natural homemade paint.

A box of chalk can last hours and create a wonderful collection of art outside. Create liquid sidewalk chalk with just a few kitchen ingredients, for a unique art adventure.

Use the sun to create a beautiful picture. Grate or shred crayons and place them on a canvas to create a picture. Set outside and let the sun melt the crayons to complete the image. Do one of the colors melt faster?

Every summer my kids create this summer craft, many times. Use a cheese grater to create chalk dust and add salt to make a beautiful layered piece of art.

On your next adventure outside, take a few pieces of clay. Find a leaf or tree trunk that you love the look of and create a print. Let it dry and paint it to create a beautiful nature keepsake.

Print a free color wheel, and add different materials to each color to create textured paint. Kids will love fingerpainting with these special sensory paints.

Nature is filled with beautiful items. Collect various leaves and observe the shapes and patterns of nature.

Kids love to paint. Create colorful ice that kids can paint with outdoors.

Create beautiful art using materials from nature and the free printable! Kids will have to get creative to complete their tree.

Puzzle Games and Scavenger Hunts

Who doesn’t love a great scavenger hunt? There are lots types of hunts to try with kids! Check out a collection of 37 Best Free Printable Scavenger Hunts.

Set up a scavenger hunt specifically for the season with a Summer Scavenger Hunt. Print the clues and set up in minutes.

Create an escape room this summer filled with everything kids love about summer, from water balloons, water blasters and outdoor fun! Save time by printing the free puzzles.

Set up a backyard scavenger hunt with printable puzzles and set it up outdoors.

Create shadows, solve puzzles and follow codes for this outdoor escape room game. Make sure to print and pack this activity for your next camping trip!

Practice creative photography skills while going on a nature photo scavenger hunt around the garden or park

Learn about pollinators and go on a scavenger hunt outdoors!

If you can’t visit a safari this summer, set one up in your own backyard!

Head outside for a nature scavenger hunt to find various colors on a color wheel.

Teach kids about how to read a map and go on an adventure outside with these map activities for kids.

I hope that your summer is filled with lots of fun and learning. Screen-free adventures are easy outdoors with children, family and friends!

Printable Outdoor Learning Booklet

If you are heading outside and are looking to integrate some pencil and paper activities, this Outdoor Booklet is filled with lots of hands-on activities and ways to explore the outdoors. Click the image, or the link below to learn more about this printable resource.

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