Educational outdoor activities

 While summer vacation is designed for students to rest and relax between grades, most kids have enough energy to keep them bouncing off the walls! Instead of keeping them cooped up inside – or turning to electronics to keep them entertained – gather up the kids and head outside!   Educational activities are especially important during the summer and can help prevent the “summer slide” , when children backtrack in their academic skills. Rather than resorting to boring workbooks or rote memorization review through flashcards, head outside for fun, educational activities that will engage their bodies and brains! When the kids get bored or need some structure to their days, these simple, educational activities can provide opportunities for both learning and fun.   Scavenger hunts   Scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids active outdoors. All that is needed is a list of items to find; because of this, they can be tailored for children’s ages and interests, locations, and more. If you are in a place where you can’t collect items, consider using cameras for a photo hunt. Examples of scavenger hunts include:   -           Alphabet hunt: Find an object to represent each letter of the alphabet   -           Color hunt: Find items that match various colors   -           Shape hunt: Find items that are commonly shaped, such as round, square, or oval.   -           Texture hunt: Have children find items that match a texture, such as smooth or bumpy.    Make ice cream    Beat the heat with a sweet, homemade treat! Homemade ice cream  requires kids to measure, practice their math skills, follow directions, and work off energy as they mix their own afternoon snack. Mix heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar in a Ziploc bag, then place into a larger bag of ice and rock salt. Kids can shake, toss, and roll their bags to create the ice cream; older children can learn about the science behind lower the freezing point, while kids of all ages will enjoy using unique ingredients to create different flavor combinations.   Shadow drawing   This physics-for-beginners project is fun, easy, and can help fill up an entire day. Set up a variety of objects or toys on paper or concrete; at various times throughout the day, come out and trace the object’s shadows. For more fun, have one child pick an object and trace its shadow without showing anyone else, then attempt to guess the object by its outline only.   Number line run   Using chalk, draw a number line along a long stretch of driveway or sidewalk, leaving about one foot in between each number. Have younger children practice counting as they run, skip, jump, or walk between numbers; make the activity more difficult for older children by having them move by skip counting, such as jumping by 3’s, or by running to a number that answers a given math question.

While summer vacation is designed for students to rest and relax between grades, most kids have enough energy to keep them bouncing off the walls! Instead of keeping them cooped up inside – or turning to electronics to keep them entertained – gather up the kids and head outside!

Educational activities are especially important during the summer and can help prevent the “summer slide”, when children backtrack in their academic skills. Rather than resorting to boring workbooks or rote memorization review through flashcards, head outside for fun, educational activities that will engage their bodies and brains! When the kids get bored or need some structure to their days, these simple, educational activities can provide opportunities for both learning and fun.

Scavenger hunts

Scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids active outdoors. All that is needed is a list of items to find; because of this, they can be tailored for children’s ages and interests, locations, and more. If you are in a place where you can’t collect items, consider using cameras for a photo hunt. Examples of scavenger hunts include:

-          Alphabet hunt: Find an object to represent each letter of the alphabet

-          Color hunt: Find items that match various colors

-          Shape hunt: Find items that are commonly shaped, such as round, square, or oval.

-          Texture hunt: Have children find items that match a texture, such as smooth or bumpy. 

Make ice cream

Beat the heat with a sweet, homemade treat! Homemade ice cream requires kids to measure, practice their math skills, follow directions, and work off energy as they mix their own afternoon snack. Mix heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar in a Ziploc bag, then place into a larger bag of ice and rock salt. Kids can shake, toss, and roll their bags to create the ice cream; older children can learn about the science behind lower the freezing point, while kids of all ages will enjoy using unique ingredients to create different flavor combinations.

Shadow drawing

This physics-for-beginners project is fun, easy, and can help fill up an entire day. Set up a variety of objects or toys on paper or concrete; at various times throughout the day, come out and trace the object’s shadows. For more fun, have one child pick an object and trace its shadow without showing anyone else, then attempt to guess the object by its outline only.

Number line run

Using chalk, draw a number line along a long stretch of driveway or sidewalk, leaving about one foot in between each number. Have younger children practice counting as they run, skip, jump, or walk between numbers; make the activity more difficult for older children by having them move by skip counting, such as jumping by 3’s, or by running to a number that answers a given math question.