Outside activities that are educational?
Hi! This is Daniel from SunflowerEducation.net.
We asked and answered this question a hundred times when our girls were little. These activities were always a hit, and so we put them in a couple of books for younger families: https://www.sunflowereducation.net/actual-size
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We like to walk around the neighborhood listening for sounds. My 6 and 3 year olds don’t always use their “listening ears”, so I am trying to help those skills. Upon finding a stationary sound (like a wind chime) they decide where it’s coming from and find it. It’s fun for all.
We love to go to the park and do scavenger hunts! We usually pack a lunch and head over mid-morning, the kids play on the playground for a bit, then they take turns hiding things for the others to find. We eat our lunch and then take a long walk, identifying trees, flowers, animals, etc that we see on our way. Then, we leave before the after-school rush hits.
We’ve done various nature and sound bingo cards – same kind of idea as a scavenger hunt. Arm them with paper and paperless crayons to do rubbings too. That’s fun and they can add it to their nature journals. If you take pictures along the way, you can print them to go in their journal so they can relive their walks.
Night-time activities could include stargazing.
Camping is all kinds of educational – conversation & survival skills.
Sometimes we want to get out of the house, but not actually have to GO anywhere. That’s when we make some picnic food (we’re big fans of salads in jars) and take it out in the back yard with a blanket and have a picnic. Our dog goes out with us, we blow bubbles for him when we’re done eating, then lay back and watch the clouds. It’s an easy, no-pressure way to get fresh air and sunshine without having to drive anywhere or buy anything.
Depending on the age or grade, I have a 10 year old (4th grade ish) and a 4 year old (we havent “started school yet” so pre-k?). This year we moved to a new neighborhood, so we went for a drive thru town looking for landmarks- including the fire department, the park, library, grocery store, and more- and another time looked for street signs. Another day we drove and made step by step instructions which roads we turned on and so forth. Finally for our final project we made a map of our new neighborhood! It was a lot of fun, you can take it slow or quick depending on age. Even just taking paints or papers to the park and having them paint and make a mess outside painting what they see.
We also love camping in our own yard, messes outside are so much fun cuz then mom and dad don’t have so much to clean up 🙂