10 Environmental Outdoor Activities to do this Summer

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As the weather gets warmer, we are given the perfect opportunity to engage children in fun outdoor activities that also promote environmental learning. We’ve provided a list of different outdoor activities that are great for children of any age. Encouraging children to explore the outdoors not only lets them enjoy the sunshine but also fosters a sense of environmental stewardship from an early age.

Knowing Energy: Race to a Kwh

This is the perfect activity to let learners burn off some steam. They are tasked with performing various activities to reach 1 Kwh of energy. Whether this is through running or biking, they can track how long it takes. Takeaways from this activity are understanding how energy is consumed and how we can make changes to reduce our energy use.

Taking Inspiration from Nature

The Taking Inspiration from Nature activity will allow children to get in-touch with their surroundings and learn how nature can be used to develop innovative design solutions that will eliminate plastic waste. Children will participate in a ‘Web of Life’ game that will assign each of them a different organism in an ecosystem of your choice. They will then learn the impacts of microplastics on our ecosystems.

Build a Solar Oven

This activity works best on hot, sunny summer days. Learners get the opportunity to build their own solar ovens using materials that can mostly be found at home. With easy step-by-step instructions to follow, they are able to create their own oven. The best part – students can reward their hard work with a treat made in the oven like cookies or s’mores.

Community Walk

The community walk is a great way to get learners outside. Simply provide them with a walking route (or let them choose their own) and ask them to track energy use throughout their walk. This could be looking into things like how many lights are on in the houses nearby or how many cars are in driveways. They can look for electrical transmission or distribution systems and transportation fuels (gas or charging stations). With the children's exploration, they can then brainstorm ways in which they are able to reduce energy right in their own community.

Ripples of Change

The Ripples of Change activity has learners use their surroundings by making art with nature. The activity inspires them to create their own Nature Mandala and is great for calming eco-anxiety. By making the Nature Mandala, they will learn that they can still make positive ripples of change for our world.

Flooding Mapping Tour

The flood mapping tour provides learners a chance to explore their outdoor surroundings. They can take pictures and identify the different man-made and naturally occurring flooding infrastructure that is around them. They can then develop their learning with flooding while still enjoying the summer weather.

Take Action: Plant a Tree

This activity is quite self-explanatory and it is simply planting trees. It is a great opportunity for children to feel special because it helps them know they are making a difference. Learners can also check their tree in various seasons and record its growth each year. From an educational standpoint, this activity is a great way to demonstrate the importance of trees and the many benefits they provide for shade, wind protection and flood protection. Children also will also learn the importance of responsibility while keeping their tree watered.

Plastic Remake Activity

Just in time for Plastic Free July, learners can participate in the Plastic Remake activity. Using their creativity, they can come up with a new way to use single-use plastic. Ideas could range from turning an empty laundry detergent bottle into a watering can for your plants or using a plastic water bottle as a greenhouse for your plants, but the opportunities are endless. This opens the door to children learning about the benefits of a circular economy.

Ecosystem in a Bottle

This activity guides learners in building and observing an ecosystem that they create all on their own. By putting the different components into their ecosystem like plants and moss, they can see what they need to do to keep the ecosystem alive and thriving. From a learning standpoint, they can see how different changes they make will affect their ecosystem.

BONUS: Plastic Reduction eCards

eCards give learners the perfect opportunity to share their voice. This activity can be done just about anywhere whether it be inside using computer programs like Canva or outside using paper and drawing supplies. Learners can research something they’re passionate about focused around single use plastic for Plastic-Free July, and come up with their own design. GreenLearning will send the eCards to their chosen recipient on their behalf.

It is important to keep children's minds engaged throughout the summer. These activities provide many opportunities for discovery, creativity and connections with our natural world. Whether it’s engaging in hands-on activities like our “Take Action: Plant a Tree” activity or admiring what nature can provide for us with the “Taking Inspiration from Nature” activity, this diverse range of outdoor, environmental learning activities will inspire and educate children about environmental stewardship.

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