1. Take School Outside!
A great way to switch up the school routine on a nice, sunny day is to take homeschool OUTSIDE. Find a local park with a picnic table, or bring a large blanket to a nearby park and work on school outdoors. This can also be done in the backyard! A change of scenery plus some vitamin D is good for everyone.
2. Explore a National Park or State Park
Did you know that children can earn Junior Ranger Badges at national parks? At the visitor center, pick up a Junior Ranger book (usually free, but some parks charge a small fee) for children to complete as they explore the park. The book contains various educational activities that your children can complete as you visit different areas in the park. Typically, there are engaging and educational activities, presentations, displays, and programs at national parks that offer some sort of interesting science or history lesson for outdoor homeschool learning.
3. Science-Based Scavenger Hunt
Incorporate a science unit study in the great outdoors. For example, if your children are learning about different types of trees and leaf shapes, visit a local park or take a walk through the neighborhood to observe different trees and leaves.
4. History-Themed Field Trip
Incorporate a unit study of history into a local museum or historical site. Some ideas could be visiting a battlefield, a war museum, a historical homesite, forts, a state history museum, or the birthplace of a famous historical figure. You don’t have to travel very far to find interesting places for a hands-on history lesson.
5. Tiny Treasure Hunt
Plan a short hike or walk, and give each child a little baggie to collect a few small, interesting items, such as grass, leaves, flowers, an insect wing, or a feather. Take these back home to observe under a microscope.
6. Nature Journal
Visit a nearby nature trail and observe animal tracks, insects, birds, and plants. Give a blank journal to each child to sketch their observations and encourage them to press flowers or leaves to add life to the pages of their nature journal.
7. Observe Your Own Backyard
You don’t need to travel far to observe nature. Create a fun study on the life of an insect. Order one of many kinds of insect kits, like a butterfly or ladybug kit, and observe the life cycle right at home! You can also place a birdhouse or hummingbird feeder in your backyard so the children can observe and learn about the different birds that visit!
8. Teaching with Objects from Nature
For a fun way to incorporate natural objects into teaching, have children collect items like rocks, flowers, sticks, or shells. You can teach math concepts like addition and subtraction using these objects on the ground in front of you. This is a great, tactile way for little fingers to feel and experience nature while learning!