Two people doing the "Meet a Tree" activity outside

Explore Nature with these Learning Resources!

Getting outside and exploring nature has lasting benefits for you, for kids, for everyone! A walk in a local park or green space has been shown to have measurable positive impacts on both physical and mental health. And, nature is a great place to explore and learn. 

Ready for your next outdoor adventure? These materials contain everything you need for a fun and educational outdoor experience. Each simple activity will help you develop your observational skills, creativity, and a connection to your local ecosystems. Enjoy!

Activities for all learners:

Alaska's Animals

Alaska’s Animals

Learn about the animals that share the outdoors with you. 

  • Alaska Animal Olympics
    Test your speed and endurance against the abilities of Alaska animals.
     
  • Animal Evidence Extravaganza
    Find and identify the clues that animals leave behind when they move around in their habitat.
       
  • The Beaver and the Fox Play
    Design costumes and put on your own performance of this educational beaver and fox adaptations play.
     
  • Be a Pollinator Impersonator
    Pretend you are a pollinator in this fun, active game. 
     
  • Create a Critter
    Invent your own imaginary creature with unique characteristics in this fun craft activity
     
  • Decode Squirrel Behavior
    Squirrels can teach us a lot about animal behavior. Head outside to sharpen your observational skills by watching squirrels.
     
  • Improve a Habitat!
    Use these tips to make habitat improvements in your own neighborhood and provide wildlife with additional food, water, or shelter.
     
  • Insect Safari
    Grab your safari hat and head outside to discover what the insects in your neighborhood are doing. 
     
  • Salmon Life Cycle Game
    Get ready to dart, wiggle, and leap as you transform into a salmon, travel from freshwater to the ocean, and return back home on this journey of a lifetime.
     
  • Spider Patrol
    Take a closer look at spiders and how they catch their prey.

Toddler holds animal skull

Birding Basics

Birding Basics

Girl takes closer look at eggs in bird nest with magnifying glassHone your bird observation skills with these engaging activities.  

Down at the Water's Edge

Down at the Water's Edge

Explore water and aquatic life from the shores of creeks and ponds.

Build-a-Boat 
Construct boat's using natural items and see how well they float. 

 

Creek Critters
Many small insects, worms, and other living creatures live in creeks and rivers. Head down to the water to see what you can find!

2 girls exploring a shallow creek in water boots with parents on the bank of creek

Forest Investigation

Forest Investigation

girl looking at tree barkGet to know all the different parts of the forest, from the canopy to the forest floor.  

  • Book of Trees
    Discover what trees are around you! Using drawing and observation skills, create a guide to trees found in your local area.

  • Interview a Tree
    Ask a tree seven questions to increase your understanding of the role it plays in the forest.  

  • Investigate a Fallen Log
    Even after they fall, trees are home to many living things. Sometimes you just need to take a closer look. 

  • Living on a Tree
    A tree is home to many different plants, fungi, and animals. Look closer at a tree near you to see what life you can find!

  • Meet a Tree
    Find a partner and use a variety of senses to learn more about the trees around you.  

  • Phenology Wheel
    Track seasonal changes by visiting a tree or shrub in your neighborhood through the year.

  • Shelter Building
    Shelters can protect you from the elements or provide a good hiding spot indoors. In this activity, build your own shelter.

Games, Games, Games!

Games, Games, Games!

Discover new knowledge through these fun, active games.

Take a Closer Look

Take a Closer Look

Take time to notice new things. Use these activities to guide your discoveries.  

  • Berry Hunt
    Head outside to find as many berries as you can in this berry scavenger hunt.

  • Bingo! Minerals, Minerals, Everywhere!
    Discover minerals in all sorts of products in your home using this bingo sheet.

  • Color Search 
    Look past brown, green, and white to discover the rainbow of colors that exist in nature. 

  • Create Your Own Field Guide 
    Observe, draw, and identify the plants and animals you find outside. Record your findings to create your very own field guide. 

  • Ecosystem Connections
    Observe the natural world around you to discover how different communities of living and non-living things interact with each other.

  • Exploring Snow and Ice Crystals 
    Snow and ice crystals come in many different forms. Use these statements as you study the crystals: "I notice.... I wonder.... It reminds me of.... "

  • Go Rockhounding
    Channel your inner geologist and get to know the rocks around you.

  • Nature Bingo 
    Can you get a nature bingo? Use your senses to explore nature in your own backyard using this bingo sheet as your guide. 

  • Map Your Yard 
    Map out a familiar spot and discover things you had not noticed before.  

  • Nature Scavenger Hunt 
    Find nature’s hidden treasures in your yard, a park, or a trail.  

  • Nighttime Observation
    All sorts of things are visible at night that you cannot see during the day. Use this activity to observe as many nighttime wonders as you can!
  • Seed Bracelet
    Create a seed bracelet to document the variety of seeds near you.

  • Square Foot Safari 
    Focus your attention on a very small area and turn up all sorts of interesting surprises.  

  • Sun Tracker
    Chart the sunrise and sunset where you live to get a better sense of how the Earth travels around the sun and to discover how much your day length changes over time.

  • Texture Search
    Explore the variety of textures in your environment.

  • The Great Sock Experiment 
    Learn how effective different sock materials are at keeping your feet warm through this scientific experiment.  

girl stting in the grass looking at leaves

 

Outdoor Art

Outdoor Art

Inspire your creative side using nature as your muse.  

  • Build a Fairy House
    Use your imagination and creativity to build a fairy home out of natural materials.
  • Draw like a Naturalist - Wildflowers
    Hone your drawing skills by learning to notice the subtle details of wildflowers.

  • Draw with Detail 
    Notice the small things that make three similar objects unique. 

  • Ice Blocks 
    Make something beautiful using ice as your medium.  

  • Leaf Art
    Discover ways to be artistic with leaves and create your own leaf art.

  • Nature Art 
    Create art without any art supplies, use natural materials instead.  

  • Postcard from Your Yard
    Get ready. You are heading out on a big trip…to your own backyard! Write a postcard to share your experience with a friend. 

girl drawing a tree

Slow Down in Nature

Slow Down in Nature

Boy sitting in the snow looking up at the treesTake a deep breath, slow down, and enjoy the world around you.  

  • Create a Sit Spot
    Visit the same spot each day to observe your natural surroundings and the changes that take place over time. 

  • Mindful Moments 
    Practice the art of awareness through these simple activities.  

  • Nature Journaling 
    Draw and write observations about the outdoors using the prompts in this nature journal.  

  • Sound Map 
    Use just your ears to explore the outdoors. 

  • Winter Wonderland
    Discover the beauty and wonder of the winter season with these mindfulness prompts.

Share!

If you do one of our activities, tag your photo with #NatureLearning. We'd love to see your activity photos!

Share this page on Facebook:

The natural science activities found on this site are in .pdf format. You can download them to your mobile electronic device or print them to bring with you.

Each activity contains a description, directions, materials list (if any are needed), and activity sheet (if needed).