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Prepare fun and engaging educational outdoor activities and nature-based experiences for your children. Now sure where to start? Use our seven-day outdoor learning pre-filled planner to get inspired!
Do we have to make every experience outdoors “educational”? We really do not.
The most valuable advantages children receive as a result of spending time in nature are exercise, a dose of fresh air, being able to experience a sense of freedom, and learning spontaneous risk assessment.
However, the question is: “Is a standard classroom setting the most ultimate and effective environment for children’s intentional learning to occur?”
In my personal experience, implementing learning activities that children would normally acquire in the classroom outdoors can be very effective, fun and beneficial for mental health for the child and for the educator.
I and my husband are homeschoolers by choice (it’s a new term I never thought I’d need to use).
Going hiking, exploring national parks and venturing outdoors using any chance we get is something we often do as a family. I also take my children to do intentional learning in nature on a regular basis.
Here is what one day of nature schooling looks like with my three children.
I am not a biologist, and chances are, many children aren’t going to be either. So making learning naturalistic is not going to fit every child’s interest and call to their intrinsic motivation.
Hence, I aim to make it broader and touch on various curriculum subjects. I also heavily rely on children to show me the direction I should lead them.
I plan and prepare for three activities and leave the rest up to them to decide.
1. Drawing from observation. I normally take watercolors. Pencils, pens and crayons are an obvious choice too. We settle in one place, each takes a turn to tell me what they observe and we aim to pick the most interesting details to include in the painting.
The best way to engage children is to join them as well, however, I find it harder to assist them in case they need my help if I do. The most appealing part is that children of different ages can participate and enjoy it equally as much.
2. Weaving. Prepare a weaving frame in advance at home or make one on a go. We use four solid sticks and string to make one. It’s a great opportunity to teach older children to make knots.
Then children are invited to search for nature objects to weave into the frame. Bring it home with you. It will make a beautiful piece of decoration. Children can add new items to it in the future.
3. Leaf prints. If we already have paints with us, it only makes sense to work on another art activity.
On this particular day, I had something completely different planned. This painting activity was initiated by my son, he had it all going so I went with the flow.
This activity suits the youngest children best. If you wish to give it a go, invite the child to collect a few different leaf shapes, paint them and make prints on paper.
Most likely, if asked, every person will admit to enjoying spending time in nature. Our mind and body equally feel refreshed and get a great boost of energy after venturing outdoors.
However, when we decide to take learning outdoors, we can get stuck trying to imagine what it might look like and where to start. People are mostly accustomed to thinking that learning happens within four walls. Today educators and parents are actively shifting this perception and frankly, they are doing an amazing job!
We start seeing schools opening their classrooms for students to spend more time in the fresh air, we see homeschool coops taking their children outdoors and allowing them to get their hands dirty with glorious mud.
My daughter has attended Natureweavers Forest School in Australia. Based on what she told me about her adventures with Carly, I can confidently say that those days have become some of the most fulfilling days of her childhood.
Now all my children get a fresh dose of vitamin N practically on daily bases enjoying free play and discovery. As I mentioned earlier, we also regularly go to do homeschool learning out in nature.
And I have to admit, it is not always easy to come up with engaging hands-on ideas children would enjoy doing outdoors that complement and extend their learning about the outside world.
I’ve got a solution I hope will make educators’ and parents’ task of taking learning in nature a lot easier – my seven-day planner with outdoor explorations.
I thought of three activities a day you can plan and prepare to do with your students in nature. These are fun and brush up on a few curriculum subjects. I invite you to download the outdoor activity planner.
Exploring Nature - Children's Books and Learning Resources
Nature Journal Children's Activity Book with Prompts I see I wonder I create
Visual Storytelling Prompts with Nature | Drawing, Creative Writing
Animals of the Seven Continents - Nomenclature and Information Cards
Nature Curriculum in Cards Ever Growing Bundle
Insects and Crawling Creatures Preschool Pack
Biomes of the World - Nature Curriculum in Cards - Montessori
Major Biomes of the World is a set of 3-part cards, information posters, and worksheets for students to learn about the major biomes of the world. It includes a map, 3-part card activities, descriptions, follow-up coloring, handwriting, and sorting activities.
Three Types of Rocks Sort: Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic
Three-part cards and sorting activity with three major groups of rocks – Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic. Rocks are often a great point of interest for lower elementary students. It is easily translated into a hands-on experience for children who enjoy looking up various types of rocks and learning their origin and proper name pronunciation.
Types of Clouds Printable - Nature Curriculum in Cards
Types of Clouds – 3-part card activity and handwriting sheets.
Seasons in Nature Printable - Nature Curriculum in Cards
Seasons in Nature Printable contains:
4 work mats for sorting
24 picture cards for sorting (6 for each of the seasons)
Sun and Earth rotation poster to place in the middle
British and American versions
Natural Wonders of the Continents Montessori Sorting Cards
Montessori Nature Printable with 49 sorting cards featuring real photos of the wonders of nature.
Fascinating and most incredible places on earth categorized by location – the seven continents.
2D Shapes in Nature Printable - Nature Curriculum in Cards - Montessori
2D Shapes in Nature matching activity and handwriting sheets.
Montessori Printable for Preschool Children Colours in Nature
Montessori-inspired printable for preschool children to learn visual discrimination of the colors using gorgeous photographs of nature. Photographs of the natural world – 11 different colors;
Montessori Nature Printables
Patterns in Nature cards for sorting out 10 different categories of patterns found in nature: clouds, water, plants, animals, reflections, landscapes, corals, ice and snow, rocks, and trees.
Birds and Their Eggs Three-Part Nomenclature Cards
The printable features photos of birds and eggs. Each card set comes with a photo of a bird + a label, a label card, and a photo card of eggs including a picture of the bird that laid them. This makes it easier for children to connect the right picture of eggs to the right bird without assistance.
Plant Life Cycle - Montessori Nature Printables
This printable is perfect to include in your Spring and Summer unit and present to the students before they start planting seeds in the garden.
Honey Bee Life Cycle - Nature Curriculum in Cards
Two sets of Honey Bee Life Cycle activities with student worksheets and Honey Bee 3-part Cards
Nature Themed Phonics - Nature Curriculum in Cards Series
The Deciduous Forest Biome - Nature Curriculum in Cards
Five Classes of Vertebrates Sorting Cards - Nature Curriculum in Cards
Leaf Shapes Printable - Nature Curriculum in Cards
From a fragile and beautiful bird egg to a glittering meteorite from space, discover more than 100 intriguing natural objects with fascinating tales to tell in this beautifully illustrated wildlife book for children.
This unique nature reference book has a fun, new approach that teaches children about nature through objects. It includes:
• More than 100 amazing objects that you can find in nature made by geological processes, or by plants and animals.
• Four chapters: Animals; Plants, Fungi and Algae; Minerals and Rocks; and Made by Nature.
• Illustrated diagrams that support understanding.
• Large, detailed photographs of truly fascinating objects.
• Eye-catching jacket finishes: gold foil, holographic foil and metallic gold edges.
Kids Nature Journal Drawing Sketchbook
NATURE JOURNAL: Exploring nature with children through fun journaling. These activity books were created by parents who found a way to guide kids to discover and observe the outdoors with simple drawing and sketching. When given a purpose and excitement for finding plants, animals, and landmarks, your kids will enjoy learning to draw on this illustrative workbook in their own backyard.
Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?
Jump-start curiosity with this take-along field guide for children ages 4 to 8. From worms, birds, and spiders to trees, flowers, and clouds, young explorers learn what to look and listen for wherever they are — whether in a nature preserve, an urban park, or a suburban backyard. Seek-and-find lists, on-the-trail art projects, and discovery games get kids engaged in hands-on learning about nature, and a real pull-out magnifying glass helps them get a close-up glimpse of leaf veins, seed pods, and tiny insects. Filled with activities, checklists, and stickers, this interactive nature guide belongs in every kid’s backpack.
Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World
See the world in a whole new way! Acclaimed illustrator Julia Rothman combines art and science in this exciting and educational guide to the structure, function, and personality of the natural world. Explore the anatomy of a jellyfish, the inside of a volcano, monarch butterfly migration, how sunsets work, and much more. Rothman’s whimsical illustrations are paired with interactive activities that encourage curiosity and inspire you to look more closely at the world all around you.
My First Nature Book: All About the Natural World for Kids
From the smallest speck of sand to the stars that blanket the sky, nature is full of incredible things to explore. Inspire little ones to learn about the world they live in with this colorful and imaginative choice in nature books for kids. It’s packed with fascinating info and full-page photos that teach children about the weather, seasons, plants, animals, and more.
Awesome Outdoor Science Experiments for Kids
Kids are full of big questions like “What makes plants grow?” or “Why does the moon change shape in the sky?”. Awesome Outdoor Experiments for Kids can help them find the answers! It’s a treasure trove of outdoor adventures, with more than 50 fun experiments that show kids science in action as they play outside.
National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry
When words in verse are paired with the awesomeness of nature, something magical happens! Beloved former U.S. Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis curates an exuberant poetic celebration of the natural world in this stellar collection of nature poems. From trickling streams to deafening thrunderstorms to soaring mountains, discover majestic photography perfectly paired with contemporary (such as Billy Collins), classics (such as Robert Frost), and never-before-published works.
Adventure Girls!: Crafts and Activities for Curious, Creative, Courageous Girls
Girls can do anything, and Adventure Girls! proves it! Packed with exciting activities and crafts for girls (ages 6 to 12), this book inspires young adventurers to be curious, innovative, and bold. From stargazing and animal tracking to making a pinhole camera and building a shadow theater, Adventure Girls! is not one of your typical craft books.
The Backyard Bug Book for Kids
Crawl into the wonderful world of bugs—a fun photographic adventure for kids ages 3 to 5
Take your child on an educational adventure bursting with the kinds of colorful photographs you need in bug books for kids.
The Backyard Bug Book for Kids has everything you’d want in bug books for kids: a story, pictures, and activities combined. Introduce your little one to the types of bugs they’re likely to see during their day, then help them remember what they’ve learned with fun, on-the-page challenges.
Curious Kids Nature Guide: Explore the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest
Filled with fun facts and 100 full-color, beautiful, and scientifically accurate illustrations, this nature guide will inspire kids to go outdoors and discover the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest.
Did you know that baby raccoons are smaller than a bar of soap? Or that salmon smell using little pits in the front of their eyes? Curious Kids Nature Guide is filled with full-color illustrations and fun facts about the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest, encouraging kids to discover and explore nature in their own backyards and beyond.
The Organic Artist for Kids: A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Nature
Immersed in the natural world, The Organic Artist for Kids inspires creativity by connecting kids and their adults to our wilderness roots.
In addition to offering a wide variety of fun, collaborative projects using nature as a source for art supplies and inspiration, this book also introduces the concepts of awareness and perception that are fundamental to the creative process.
Outdoor Kids in an Inside World
In the era of screens and devices, the average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors, and children are no exception. Not only does this phenomenon have consequences for kids’ physical and mental health, it jeopardizes their ability to understand and engage with anything beyond the built environment.
Exploring Nature Journal for Kids
Wild creatures, cloud formations, plant habitats, and more―nature is full of wonders to behold and explore! In this nature journal, young naturalists will get all of the guidance they need to study and record their experiences of the natural world.
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms
Clare Walker Leslie shows kids how to experience nature with all five senses, whether they live in the countryside, a major city, or somewhere in between. Guiding children through inspiring activities like sketching wildlife, observing constellations, collecting leaves, keeping a weather journal, and watching bird migrations, The Nature Connection encourages kids to engage with the world outside and promotes a lifelong love of nature.
50 Things To See With A Telescope - Kids: A Constellation Focused Approach
From the author of the bestselling book 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope, this colorful edition explores the constellations with young readers, guiding them to dozens of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. Every page features a helpful “telescope view”, showing exactly how objects appear through a small telescope or binoculars.
Nature Anatomy Activities for Kids: Fun, Hands-On Learning
Get ready to explore the sky above, the ground below, and all the plants and creatures in between! Made just for kids, this nature anatomy book teaches you about the incredible forces and living things that exist in nature.
Nature All Around: Plants
Balancing child-friendly facts with colorful illustrations, this perfect introduction to plants is sure to inspire the budding naturalist in every child. From crowded cities to open prairies, deserts to wetlands, plants grow everywhere!
This comprehensive introduction will open children's eyes to the plants that surround them every day and how important they are to life on our planet. It covers the basics of plants, such as their parts, life cycles and growing zones.
The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups
The birds, the bees, the flowers and the…TREES! How do trees grow? Why do leaves change? What kind of tree is that? The acclaimed Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s guide answers all kids’ (and their parents’) tree-related questions in an easy-to-understand way. It features 33 different trees that grow in North America, from rural Georgia to the streets of New York City to the California suburbs.
Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival
Anyone can get lost while camping or on a hike and Survivor Kid teaches young adventurers the survival skills they need if they ever find themselves lost or in a dangerous situation in the wild. Written by a search and rescue professional and lifelong camper, it’s filled with safe and practical advice on building shelters and fires, signaling for help, finding water and food, dealing with dangerous animals, learning how to navigate, and avoiding injuries in the wilderness.
Mrs. Peanuckle's Hiking Alphabet
With playful text, bright illustrations, and sturdy pages, Mrs. Peanuckle's alphabet books will engage toddlers, and take them on an alphabet adventure through the natural world!
Explore the wondrous world of hiking while learning the ABCs with Mrs. Peanuckle!
Mrs. Peanuckle takes on the outdoors and shares all her favorite animals, plants, and more in her latest tour of the ABCs!