Are you ready to spend time outside? These outdoor science experiments and activities are just what you need. Most of these ideas can be adapted to many different age groups – toddlers on up.
Outdoor Science Experiments and Activities
Science can get messy. Take the activity outside and have an easy clean up.
Exploding Baggies – What do you get when you combine baking soda and vinegar in a plastic baggie? An expanding bag that pops! This classic science activity is best done outside.
Fizzy Coconut Lime Play Dough – Try this awesome fizzy dough. It’s soft and moldable. Plus it fizzes and foams when you add an acid like vinegar. You can play with this one inside or out but I recommend taking it outside because of the mess.
Frozen Vinegar: Cool Summer Science – Turn classic baking soda and vinegar play into a cool summer science activity with frozen vinegar!
Frozen Oobleck – We originally did this activity inside but it would great outside as well. Freezing the oobleck changes its texture and behavior and adds a whole new level of fun.
Easy Tape Volcano – We made a volcano out of tape and took it outside to set it off. A super quick activity to set up that will entertain until the baking soda and vinegar runs out.
Use the heat of the sun, wind, and other elements of nature in these physics investigations.
Temperature Experiments – Learn about measuring heat and practice using thermometers with these fun activities. You can do both experiments outside.
Exploring Temperature and Color – Conduct an experiment to test how color affects the temperature of an object. This experiment is simple enough for many preschoolers to complete on their own.
Jumping Experiment – This is my favorite simple experiment for toddlers and preschoolers. All you need is a measuring tape and some space to jump.
Explore Density – Take the classic sink or float activity outside. Use rocks, leaves, flowers, and whatever else your kids find.
How to Make a Parachute – Experiment and find out what makes the best design. We launched our parachutes from a step ladder outside. You could also release them from a deck or playground equipment.
Measuring Practice with Inch by Inch – After reading Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni, we grabbed a ruler and headed outside.
These 3 posts are great for little rock hounds and the geologists within us.
- How to get started with rock collecting
- Learn more about rocks
- Make sediment jars and learn about dirt
Insects and Earthworms
How to Attract Fireflies – Learn how to attract fireflies so you can catch them or observe them up close. Such a classic summer evening activity!
Insect Investigations – Observe insects and compare their features. The post has tips for finding and observing the insects with kids.
Backyard earthworm experiments – Try these backyard earthworm experiments after reading Yucky Worms by Vivian French. Head outside, find some earthworms to observe, and have fun!
Scavenger hunts and treasure hunts work on observation skills and critical thinking. Plus I just love them.
Sight and Sound Nature Scavenger Hunt – Go for a hike and explore the outdoors with this fun nature scavenger hunt. Look and listen for the sights and sounds of nature. What will you find? Download the scavenger hunt list.
Backyard Treasure Hunt with Picture Clues (sponsored) – Print out the picture clues (there are 18 to choose from) and create a fun backyard treasure hunt for friends and family. Using picture clues lets even the youngest treasure hunters play along.
Invite the Neighborhood Treasure Hunt – Create a neighborhood treasure hunt with sidewalk chalk clues. It’s a great activity for summer evenings. The neighbor kids will love the surprise at the end.
Outdoor Sound Hunt Inspired by Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? – What kinds of sound can you hear outside? Make a list and go outside and see what you can find?
All About Birds Scavenger Hunt – Go outside and look for signs of birds. Download your own copy of the scavenger hunt.
More Science Collections
- 10 Ways to Make a Volcano with Kids
- 20 Ways to Build a Rocket: Experiments and Crafts
- How to Build a Boat 25 Designs and Experiments for Kids
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This post was originally published on June 15, 2015.