9 Fun Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids

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Written by Alison Smith

Kids are innate scientists and nature lovers. They love to observe and explore the sights, smells, sounds and textures of the great outdoors. And it’s the perfect time to embrace outdoor learning activities for kids.

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Just step outside and you’ll see the endless learning possibilities. In this article, I’m going to share 9 outdoor activities that your kids will love.

These activities are intended to take place in your own garden or close to your home. Please refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Government website for more information regarding going outside.


We’re Going On an Ant Hunt

Did you know that an ant can lift 20 times its own body weight? Kids love learning fascinating facts about ants and their incredible coordinated behaviours and survival skills!

Start by sharing a YouTube video such as Children Learn About The Ant. In this video, Zoologist Jess, takes a close look at an ant colony with its queen and many worker ants.

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At the end of the video discuss the key points before heading outdoors for an ant hunt. Next, extend your childs knowledge and understanding by encouraging them to complete our  Identifying the External Features of an Ant worksheet.

Identifying the external features of an ant.

After outdoor activities, extend knowledge and understanding!


Beautiful Butterflies

Outdoor learning activities for kids help to develop intrigue and wonder about the world around them. And you probably won’t have to look too far to spot a butterfly! Butterflies are regular guests in most gardens and their life cycle is fascinating.

So get outside and go butterfly spotting. Encourage your kids to take photographs or draw what they see. Then, head to our collection of Butterflies Teaching Resources to enjoy a wide variety of fun learning experiences.

 

For more magical activity ideas read Holly’s blog Colourful Caterpillar and Butterfly ActivitiesOh, and don’t forget to read ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.


Night and Day – Spot the Difference!

Next up, look up! You don’t even need a garden for this outdoor activity! The sky offers infinite opportunities for learning. Encourage your amateur astronomers to observe the changes in the sky.

If you fancy, take this activity a little further by using our The Daytime Sky -Worksheet and The Nighttime Sky – Worksheet.

 

This outdoor activity for kids links with Earth and Space Sciences by exploring observing changes in the sky and landscape.


Shadow Art

Do your kids love making shadows with their hands and bodies? We love this genius idea to use toys to make shadows in your own back yard! This outdoor activity for kids offers a fascinating dose of science. And it’s great for developing fine motor skills too!

As your kids enjoy this activity, explain that light travels in a straight line. When an opaque object blocks its path, no light is able to pass through. And this creates shadows. Next, explore how shadows are affected by the changing position of the sun.

For more resources to reinforce these concepts, head to our collection of Sun, Earth and Moon Teaching Resources


Planting and Growing

It’s always a good time for planting and growing. So whether you are cress head kind of planter or a more adventurous green-thumb, don’t forget that gardening is a great outdoor activity for kids. Why not plant some seedlings?

 

As you can see this outdoor activity for kids, works well with our Seedlings Vocabulary Sorting Activity. And if you’re looking for more activities like this one, head collection of Plants Teaching Resources.


Collecting and Counting

Hands-on (or concrete materials) are used widely in the classroom to develop maths skills and maths language. And while you can use plastic counters, you can also use objects found in nature such as pebbles, shells, seedpods and sticks.

For a simple activity for lower years, encourage little learners to arrange their natural objects into groups of 2. Next, encourage them to skip count in 2’s and record the multiples.

Also, don’t forget there are plenty of opportunities to explore addition and subtraction.

For more fun, hands-on activities head to our collection Counting Teaching Resources.


Leaf Painting

The great outdoors offers unlimited opportunities for creative arts and crafts. I love the idea of painting and decorating fallen leaves.

Start by using a black marker to draw a pattern. Next, use acrylic paint and a fine paintbrush to add bursts of colour. If art and craft is your thing, you could even make curriculum links with Aboriginal Art.

For inspiration, take a look at our teaching presentation, An Introduction to Aboriginal Art PowerPoint.


Create a Mini Compost

For a super cool outdoor activity that teaches kids to look after the planet, build a mini compost! This activity is a great way to introduce your family to the idea of composting and it’s totally doable.

Head to our compost teaching resources!

You Will Need:

  • a large glass jar
  • garden debris such as fallen leaves, grass clippings and dirt
  • old newspaper
  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • 1 cup of rainwater
  • a permanent marker pen.

How to Make a Mini Compost

  1. Layer soil, newspaper and organic food scraps in that order until your jar is almost full.
  2. Pour 1 cup of rainwater into the jar and secure with a lid.
  3. Make small holes in the lid for extra oxygen.
  4. Draw a fill line on the glass to show the top of the contents.
  5. Place the jar in a sunny spot and observe the changes!

For composting posters and more head to our collection of Sustainability Teaching Resources.


Build with Sticks

There’s no denying that kids love sticks! And what better way to spend an afternoon than exploring construction, engineering and balance!

This outdoor activity requires problem-solving and resilience!

For more, STEM activities to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, head to our collection of STEM Teaching Resources.


I think you’ll agree that this is not the time to expect kids to sit at a desk and learn 100% of the time. And what better way to get kids to spend more time outdoors in nature.

Nature is the greatest gift a child can be given.

I am sure that you have many wonderful ideas of your own. So please share them in the comments section below. I can’t wait to be inspired!

Don’t forget to share your photos on our Instagram page #teachstarter.

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Comments & feedback

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Thank you so much for this , it’s a great idea !

Lena Wati · Apr 7th, 2020

You’re most welcome, Lena!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Apr 8th, 2020

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