Simple and Fun Science Taught Outdoors

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International Primary Teacher and Outdoor Learning Specialist, with over ten years experience. I hold an MSc in Outdoor Education and PGDE in Primary Education.

One of my favourite parts of my job is encouraging young learners’ scientific curiosity by utilising outdoor environments and natural materials. This blog will walk you through simple, fun scientific lessons enhanced by being taught outside or using common natural materials. We’ll discover the advantages of learning science outdoors. Get ready for various kid-focused activities and outdoor science experiments that can transform any outdoor environment into an engaging classroom.


Discovering local wildlife habitats is often popular with the learners.


Learners can study the body parts of local minibeasts using the magnified bug pots.


An Introduction to Outdoor Science

From woodlands to ponds and hidden corners, learning about science outdoors gives students a first-hand experience of how things work in a natural setting. Throughout my work, I have found that learners become more engaged in science when they are outdoors. The change to their timetable alone helps to increase their stimulation and their level of enjoyment.


A learner creates a new species of butterfly that camouflages to its playground habitat.


I believe that with every new surroundings comes a new way to learn, helping to maximise the potential of young minds. Learning outside the traditional classroom aids students in observing and interacting with the world around them, allowing them to thrive regardless of educational ability (Waite, 2017). In my experience, I’ve observed how students naturally gravitate to the outdoors and the natural environment. As educators, we see children gravitate enthusiastically to simple things that appeal to them. Scientific discovery outdoors is one such thing that children naturally enjoy.


Children build a beaver dam from natural materials that slow down water flow and filter it.


Exploring the Benefits of Outdoor Learning in Science

Moving science lessons outdoors helps to increase opportunities for hands-on study. Advanced accumulation of data is also evident, as is increased verbal and social strengthening (Marais, 2021). The outdoor world provides the perfect setting for collaborative work, which is often a key component of quality science lessons.

Oftentimes, learners are less worried about making a mess during the science outdoors and, therefore, can enjoy the experience more.  Take, for example, the experience of building an exploding volcano using baking soda and vinegar or building dinosaur gardens. Both messy, but fun lessons would need tighter boundaries in the class due to the need for the teacher to keep the class safe and clean.


Using vinegar and baking soda to create exploding volcanoes is messy, muddy and fun.


Learners use various natural materials, such as mosses, and plants, to make dinosaur gardens for their science class topic.


Adding the dinosaurs to their new garden habitats.


Outdoor Science Helps Kids Understand the World Around Them

By exposing them to the outdoors, teachers can ensure better learning outcomes while preparing children for life beyond education. Time spent outdoors is also directly correlated to children and their mental health, which, in this day and age, has a more significant focus than ever. Below, you can read more about how outdoor learning can benefit children’s well-being.


Helping Childrens’ Wellbeing with Outdoor Learning


Learners from my class in Malaysia measure how long it takes for water to evaporate. Which is not long in Malaysia.


Learners from my class in Malaysia loved their balloon-powered car project.


Nicol and Higgins (2002) used the term `Authentic Learning Contexts` to describe environments that are relevant to the students and provide them with a real-life learning context. Authenticity is real to us, and we find this by following a voice of nature inside ourselves (Beames & Brown, 2016). Authenticity in learning is concerned with providing 

Learning experiences can assist children in making a greater sense of the world (Thorburn & Allison, 2015). By exploring a local environment, educators can provide children with an authentic adventure, while connecting learning to physical and social worlds they inhibit in their everyday lives (Beames & Brown, 2016). 


Outdoor Science Games for Kids Start with Exploration and Discovery

Exploring outdoor science doesn’t need to begin with experiments. If you’re wondering where to start with your outdoor learning program, my advice is to start simple. Many students will love going for a nature walk. This could be as simple as walking through the school playground if your school has trees, grass and other natural elements. Alternatively, a walk to a nearby park or woodland.


What learners will discover in a walk in the local forest is amazing.


As educators, we know the benefits of conversing with our learners Before, During and After learning experiences. In anticipation of your nature walk, start by conducting a group discussion with your students. To begin with, you might ask open-ended questions like “What do you expect we will see?” During the nature walk, students can take a clipboard and a pencil. You might like to provide them with a Nature Bingo sheet and a blank sheet of paper to draw and write notes about what they see. Nature Bingo can be a fun science game for young students. Your focus could be about exploration or it could be a game to win if your learners can see all the items on the list. Plus, a nature journal can be enjoyable for students to fill in pages throughout the year.


Learners have fun in the local park playing nature bingo.


Learner documents some of the leaves they found on their excursion to the forest in their nature journal.


Conducting Fun Outdoor Science Experiments

Sometimes, the time spent outdoors is about peaking their curiosity. You might find that your little ones will have more questions after spending time outside. They may want to explore how snowflakes form or how a tree grows. The benefits of learning science outdoors are simple. Children have more space and they can connect to real-life contexts outdoors. (Ayotte-Beaudet et al., 2023)


Learners build catapults using natural materials and fire projectiles across the playground.


Finding out that bamboo is an excellent natural resource for miniature raft building.


Learners discover how much exercise it takes to burn a mini celebration chocolates worth of calories, as part of their human bodies science topic.


It’s also nice to connect the classroom and the outdoors. There are often strong distinctions placed between outdoor environments and classrooms. Maybe it is time to stop seeing the two as separate entities. It does not always have to be one or the other. 


Learners used the leaves they collected outdoors and placed them in cups full of food colouring to see if they eventually changed colour.


Learners read more about the tree they saw on their outdoor excursion in the classroom.


Useful links to Outdoor Science Experiments and games



Let us know your experiences with taking your science learning outdoors. What was the response you received from your students? Email me:


Related posts


What Is Outdoor Learning?

Linking Outdoor Learning to the Curriculum

Using Woodland Animal Characters to Enhance Outdoor STEM and Environmental Awareness Projects



Ayotte-Beaudet, J. P., Berrigan, F., Deschamps, A., L’Heureux, K., Beaudry, M. C., & Turcotte, S. (2023). K-11 teachers’ school-based outdoor education practices in the province of Québec, Canada: from local initiatives to a grassroots movement. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 1-14.

Beames, S., & Brown, M. (2016). Adventurous learning: A pedagogy for a changing  world. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Marais (2021). The Benefits of Using Outdoor Spaces for Science Learning in Prep School. Accessed: 17th November 2023. Available: The Benefits Of Using Outdoor Spaces For Science Learning In Prep School (

Nicol, R., & Higgins, P. (2002). Outdoor education: Authentic learning in the context  of landscapes. Vol. 2. Kinda Education Centre.

Thorburn, M., & Allison, P. (2015). Learning outdoors and living well? Conceptual  prospects for enhancing curriculum planning and pedagogical practices. Cambridge Journal  of Education, 47(1), 103–115

Waite, S. (2017). Children learning outside the classroom: From birth to eleven. Children Learning Outside the Classroom, 1-320.