Outdoor Learning for Math
- Write math problems (for example, 2 + 4) on the ground with sidewalk chalk and have your students find pinecones, rocks or leaves to represent the answer.
- Use sidewalk chalk to create a grid where your kids can count and sort objects.
- Challenge your kids to see how many triangles they can make with 9 sticks.
- Have your students measure the circumference of your school or the width of the doors or the length of the parking lot.
Outdoor Learning for Language Arts
- Pick a great novel for each of your reading groups and have your kids head outside and read together out loud under the shade of a tree.
- See how many sounds your kids’ footprints can make over various surfaces and then write onomatopoeia poetry using the sounds.
- Practice hand-writing using water, paintbrushes and rocks. Get active while practicing grammar.Instead of “Duck, Duck, Goose,” play “Noun, Noun, Adjective.”
- Have your students write poetry about something they observe outside.
- Bury magnetic letters in sand or dirt and have your kids dig them out.
- Make story stones to summarize a story graphically that you have read in class.
- Build a “campfire” (don’t use real fire!) and lead a book discussion.
Outdoor Learning for Science
- Start a community garden on your school grounds.
- Go on a scavenger hunt to find certain types of plants, rocks or insects.
- Study an anthill. (Unless, of course, you live in Texas and they’re fire ants.)
- Make a graph of how many types of clouds your kids can spot over a period of time.
- Hike to a nearby pond and turn the wetlands into an outdoor classroom.
- Give your students the job of “Season Detective” and have them scour the schoolyard for all the signs of any given season.
- Compare and contrast the fragrances of various flowers.
Outdoor Learning for Music and Art
- Collect flowers and leaves and do leaf-rubbings with crayons.
- Create a xylophone or other musical instrument with materials you find outside.
- Use clay, grass, leaves and other plants to make funny face sculptures.
- Use items you find outside like plants and flowers to inspire artwork to decorate your classroom.
- Get permission from your principal to paint an outdoor mural in your schoolyard.
- Bring drums or a guitar outside and have a sing-along.
- Challenge your students to make shapes out of sticks, rocks and leaves.
Outdoor Learning for P.E.
- Create an obstacle course on your school grounds using rocks, trees and other natural “obstacles.”
- Go on a hike around campus.As you walk, discuss the things that keep a person healthy.
- Challenge your students to finish certain physical feats in a small amount of time. (For example, “Can you run to the playground and go down the slide in 25 seconds or less?”)
- Do a numbers freeze dance on the playground using sidewalk chalk and music.