There are so many fantastic outdoor activities for children that can be fun and educational too. I’m passionate about getting kids outside as often as possible so why restrict learning to indoors? Perhaps you’ll choose to make a family hike educational or study the nature you can find in your own backyard. Here are my favourite educational things to do outside with kids, I hope you find something that inspires you.
Educational activities to do outside with kids
Any time outdoors can be turned into an educational experience for children of all ages. There’s so much to notice, observe and learn about in nature. A great place to start is to see what your child is interested in. Do they love insects? or perhaps they’re showing an interest in learning more about the weather or the seasons?
# 1 Observe and record the weather
Children love weather, they can’t help noticing it. Observing and recording the weather is something you can start doing with toddlers and keep building on it as they get older.
We added an outdoor thermometer to our garden as well as making our own rain gauge. My children measure the amount of rainfall we have and record temperatures along with whether it is windy, foggy, snowy etc. Over the years they’ve used tally charts, graphs and simple logs and even just described the weather in a sentence.
Find more ideas for teaching children about weather in this weather unit.
Starting gardening with kids is a fantastic thing to do right now. There are so many educational benefits of gardening. For a start they’ll learn where the food on their plate comes from. I’ve even heard that fussy eaters are more likely to try food if they have helped to grow or cook it. That’s got to be a good thing, right?
Whilst helping to care for plants children learn about responsibility and also patience. You could even bring math skills in by measuring and recording growth. Sunflowers are especially good for this. There are so many ways to get kids learning about plants.
#3 Start a nature journal
Nature journals are incredibly versatile and packed with learning opportunities. You can use them to monitor the weather or record growth in your garden. Pack them in your bag and take them on your next hike or day out. Encourage your children to write about your walk or draw the wildlife you see.
#4 Make your hikes educational
Family hikes can be made educational in so many ways. Perhaps you’ll print out and take a simple scavenger hunt with you or how about something a little different like a sound hunt for preschoolers?
Bug hunts and bird spotting are other great ways to make hikes educational and can also be done in the backyard too.
#5 Mark making
For younger children, providing a range of opportunities for mark making outside is easy and fun. Our favourites are painting with water, drawing on walls, fences and driveways with sidewalk paint and painting with nature.
#6 Learn through play
Finally don’t underestimate the learning that happens during free play outside. Children need time to play without any adult direction. They learn to use their imaginations, be creative, problem solve and so much more.
What is your favourite outdoor learning activity?