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10 Ways to School Outside

If you're anything like me, you don't like being cooped up in a house.

The last thing I need is hours of sitting at a table doing schoolwork with my kids.

When you need to get outside, take school with you and continue the learning with these 10 ideas:

  1. Study Nature: Gather leaves, seed pods, sticks, and other natural “treasures” and sort them by shape, color, type, etc. You can trace them onto paper, or do a crayon rubbing by putting them under the paper and rubbing the crayon on top of the page. It can be an art project, and also a road map to future research on types of trees, seeds, and more.

  2. Play Sports: Football, soccer, kickball, and baseball to name a few. Playing sports teaches rules, consequences, strategy, good sportsmanship, negotiation, compromise, and teamwork.

  3. Read a Book: Being outside makes reading more of an adventure, so grab a picnic blanket and read under the shade of a tree. Take turns acting out sections of the book, speaking in different voices and accents, or imagining the story happening in your own backyard.

  4. Try the Trampoline: If you have one, use it to your advantage. Some of my family’s favorite trampoline games are Copy Cat, Synchronized Swimming, and Gingerbread Man. These teach memory skills, strengthen muscles, and create a lot of laughter! If you don't have a trampoline, modify the game to be played on the ground. To learn more about my family's trampoline games, join my facebook group for homeschoolers. Click here.

  5. Observe the World: Observing is the start to asking questions. Be still and smell, hear, see, touch, even taste the world around you. Let your kids ask questions, and before you answer them, ask “How could we find out?” Should you conduct an experiment, gather data, do some research, ask an expert, or read a book? Show them that there are options for finding answers. Deciding how to find the answer is part of the fun.

  6. Work Up a Sweat: Learning doesn’t stop when you’re working. So plant a garden, dig a hole, trim trees, pull weeds, clean a stretch of highway, wash a car, or mow the lawn. Working provides ample time to think, ponder, and question. Make work fun by listening to a podcast or audio book, singing songs, repeating poems, or trying your hand at bird whistles while you work together.

  7. Craft a Project: You can check Google or Pinterest for ideas, but also just look around and see what supplies and resources you have, then create something from them. You can make kites out of paper and string, fold paper airplanes, or build boats and see if they float.

  8. Build a Fort: Provide supplies such as old sheets, some rope, and boxes, and see what your kids come up with. They can make a treehouse, a teepee, a box fort, a hideout, or whatever they can imagine!

  9. Return to History: Make an impression that will last by recreating a historic battle or event with objects or people in your backyard. Or learn about an older game such as marbles, jacks, or kick the can. You can also try old fashioned skills such as whittling, carving, archery, weaving, and cooking over a fire.

  10. Experiment With Messes: do your messiest science experiments outside where cleanup is easiest. Here is a great list of 25 projects to do outside. Click here.

I hope that this list shows you that learning can take place outside of a classroom.

Whatever you are doing can become a learning and teaching moment.

And we often learn more in the action of real life than we do in the quiet of workbooks.

So take a break and get outdoors!

You have my permission. :)

I would love to hear what you do to learn outdoors. Send me an email at and I'll personally respond.

Until next week, find more help and a community of homeschool parents here.

P.S. If you missed it, I taught about 5 tricks to lower your stress levels while homeschooling here.


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