Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids

Learn under the sun with these fun activities focused on math, science, art and more.

Struggling to come up with fun ways to entertain your kids as the weather heats up? Not to worry. All it takes is a few simple supplies and a little imagination to get them moving, creating and experimenting outside this summer.

Plus, you can squeeze in a little learning to make sure their brains stay engaged all summer long. Here are some outdoor learning activities to get you started.

Looking for more kid-friendly activities? Check out our summer fun family guide!

Find and Count Bug Hunt

Little ones who are obsessed with tiny crawly creatures will have a blast searching for backyard bugs. Once you’ve completed the hunt, create a tallied list of each bug variety from worms to ants. The game combines both math and science and is a great boredom buster.

Get the tutorial at No Time for Flash Cards.

Sight Words Water Play

Got an early reader? Kids will have so much fun playing this sight word splash game, they won’t even realize they’re learning. Plus, the activity can be customized for age level and used to teach shape and number recognition as well.

Get the tutorial at Homeschool Preschool.

Nature Journal

Have children record all of the interesting sights and sounds of nature throughout the summer. Grab a blank notebook and head out to a local park, forest preserve or even your own backyard to explore. Once there, kids can take photos, collect objects like flowers, berries and rocks and write down observations about the world around them.

Get the tutorial at Thimble and Twig.

Color Scavenger Hunt

This hunt is perfect for little ones who are learning their colors. Pick a color, then send kiddos on a trek around the yard for items that match your selection. From pink flowers to gray stones, the possibilities found in nature are endless!

Get the tutorial at Fantastic Fun and Learning.

Exploding Baggies

What kid doesn’t light up with glee while mixing baking soda and vinegar? Make sure to grab some food coloring to make the tiny chemical reactions even more exciting. The biggest plus to this experiment is that the fizzy mess stays outside.

Get the tutorial at Kids Activities Blog.

Fairy Garden

Bring a little magic to your yard by crafting a whimsical fairy garden with your children. Kids can use their imaginations to make the garden as elaborate as they want with figurines, stones and flowers. The project will get their creative juices flowing, encourage sensory play and is also a great way to teach the basics of plant care.

Get the tutorial at Rhythms of Play.

Sun Prints

It doesn’t get much easier than this science and art project — just make sure to complete it on a super sunny day! Children can choose their own objects from your yard (or around the house), then watch solar energy go to work. Suggested items include leaves, shells, clovers and seed pods.

Get the tutorial at PBS Kids.

Alphabet Rocks

Have your children search for large, flat rocks outside, then grab some paint pens and write each letter of the alphabet on them (double up on letters if you want to build words). Once the rocks are completed, use them for letter recognition, spelling, letter hunting around the yard and more.

Get the tutorial at Childhood 101.

Water Bead Sensory Bin

Grab your kiddie pool and some oversized water beads to create the most epic sensory bin you’ve ever seen. Cover the pool when you’re done and the water beads will last for several days, perfect for repeat playing.

Get the tutorial at Busy Toddler.


The playground favorite can be used to play educational games, like skip counting by 2s, 4s, and so on to keep math facts fresh over the summer. Make the chalk game board bigger to incorporate larger numbers.

Get the tutorial at Math Geek Mama.

Dish Soap Bubbles

Take blowing bubbles to an epic new level with this easy dish soap bubble activity. Using just a few ingredients and a giant, homemade wand, kids can create bubbles as big as their own bodies and learn the science behind surface tension.

Get the tutorial at Scholastic.

Sponge Painted Rainbow Fish

Encourage your kids to get creative this summer with this simple sponge-painting activity. They won’t mind getting their hands a little messy as they use different colors to paint the rainbow fish.

Get the tutorial at Happy Toddler Playtime.

Paper Airplanes

Having a competition to see who can fly their handmade paper airplane the farthest is a classic competition that kids love. Through trial and error and learning to follow step-by-step directions, kids will learn about problem solving and the basic forces of flight as they work to create paper airplanes that take to the air in smooth flight. 

Get the tutorial at Engineering Emily

Backyard Obstacle Course

Build coordination, balance and other motor skills right at home in the backyard. Use simple summer items like pool noodles, kiddie pools, sprinklers and more to build obstacle courses that will help kids work on problem solving and coordination while having a blast. 

Get the tutorial at Happy Toddler Playtime

Bean Bag Toss

Also known as “Bags” or “Cornhole,” take this classic Midwest yard game and turn it into a learning opportunity for kids! Kiddos can stand close to the bag board and work on their aim, coordination and strength. Keeping score by adding up their points is also a great way to practice counting and math skills. 

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