Educational Outdoor Activities for Kids
November 5th, 2016

Summer might be over, but in Reno that doesn’t mean you are chased indoors by cold weather! Here are some great, educational activities you can do with your kids while the temperatures are mild.

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Photography Inspirations

Teach kids to see the world in a whole new way through the lens of a camera. For younger children, organize a scavenger hunt for certain items they can photograph. Choose simple and easy-to-find things like a flower or an insect. For older kids, have them look for certain letters to spell out words. When they are done, have their photographs printed and framed so they can look back on them with pride.

Sidewalk Chalk

This is an inexpensive way to encourage kids to use their artistic side, and the best part is, it allows for easy clean-up! You can create fun lessons by drawing out hopscotch squares with letters that they have to jump to to spell out words. Older kids can study the position of the sun by tracing shadows throughout the day of an object placed in the same spot. Sidewalk chalk is also a good way to learn about mixing colors, as they easily blend together.

Nature Hunt

An interesting activity for younger children is making simple jewelry out of found objects. Take a piece of masking tape and wrap it sticky-side out around their wrist. They can then go around and find things such as flowers and leaves to stick to their “bracelet.” You can take the activity further by researching with them what kind of plant or tree they have found.

Pool Learning

Swimming is fun and great exercise, but you can also turn it into an educational experience as well. You can teach concepts such as water displacement, light refraction, and even math. Help older kids write equations to determine the volume or perimeter of the pool based on its length, width and depth.

Making Fossils

This activity doesn’t necessarily have to be done outdoors (so you can save it as a rainy-day option as well), but as with any potentially messy project, you can save yourself some clean-up by doing it in the backyard. Kids can learn about how to make their own fossils by pressing plastic animals or dinosaurs, small shells, or even leaves into clay. This recipe makes a clay out of used coffee grounds and coffee, but any store-bought clay that air dries could work. You can even continue the project after the clay has dried by burying the homemade fossils in a sandbox or garden and have your children dig them up again. Use paintbrushes to have them carefully dust away the earth like a real paleontologist would do!

Learning Through Helping

Encouraging your child to spend time outdoors and teaching them about nature does not need to be complicated or even require much planning. Simply allowing them to help with yardwork and gardening can teach them about their habitat and show how we interact with it as people. They will have the added benefit of learning responsibility as well!


Joyce Wilson loved being a teacher, and though she has recently retired, she hasn’t lost that passion. She continues to educate (and help educators) by mentoring teachers in her area. She is also the co-creator of TeacherSpark.org, a resource for teachers to gather fun, engaging lesson ideas and activities.

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