Spring is a great time for learning…everything seems so NEW & shiny! After being cooped up in the house all winter (OK, we live in Texas so it isn’t exactly like that, but it FEELS like it is!), there isn’t anything better than spending some outdoor time.
4 Hands-On Ideas for Outdoor Learning with Kids
Let’s get outside and learn from the world around us! So often we feel like we need to be on worksheets and screens or sitting in classrooms to learn, but we all learn best through hands-on activities and spring is a great time for exploration!
Related: Outdoor scavenger hunt & nature scavenger hunt
All of the basic subjects of school have outdoor fun!
1. Hands-on Outdoor Math Activity
The garden is the perfect place tackle math. There are things to count, calculate and measure! In our case, we don’t have an official garden, but we have a small flower bed in the front yard.
Garden math for younger kids: Counting seeds and simple measurements that are perfect for budding mathematicians. Seeds need to be planted at a certain depth. Kids can use a ruler to create holes the perfect size. Then use that ruler to measure how far apart another plant can comfortably live.
Garden math for older kids: Calculating the volume of mulch needed is something that I struggle with each spring. Putting my kids on the task armed with a tape measure seems like the perfect solution! After they figure out the amount we need, we can go to the garden center together and decide which type of mulch is the best value.
Related: Earth Day activities
2. Hands-on Outdoor English Activity
Let’s start a journal about the garden and its progress. We adapted that to include the nature surrounding our house — the trails, lake and wildflowers!
Related: Kid-made journal
We started by choosing a special notebook to draw and write on a regular basis to inspire creativity and practice writing skills! This book can be decorated on the outside and designed on the inside to the child’s delight. It is their place that no one can tell them what to do.
Set aside a little time each day (or week) to sit outdoors and soak up the fresh air and inspiration. Younger kids may need some drawing prompts and older kids may need some privacy!
3. Hands-on Outdoor Science Experiments
The entire outdoors is a huge science experiment! It can be fun to narrow it down a LOT and choose something to look at specifically. The outdoor journal is the perfect place to record the observations and results. Find science around you! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- What happens if a garden is watered every other day instead of every day?
- Will thinning the plants result in a bigger harvest?
- Do some fertilizers work better than others?
We looked at how the same amount of rain affected different types of soil. It was something we notice frequently on the trails near our house. It will rain really hard, yet the middle of the trail which feels sandy will not be muddy, but the ground near the plants on either side is really wet.
Related: Easy science experiments
4. Hands-on Outdoor Art
One of our favorite things to do is paint rocks and use them outside. You could create painted rocks to mark the different plants in the garden. We thought it would be fun to arrange the rocks we found in the woods artfully!
What I love about this activity is that it can be done nearly anywhere and it brings a smile to whomever might discover it after we have left.
What is your favorite hands on spring activity for learning? Please tell us in the comments below!
Note: This article was updated and is no longer sponsored.