Nature may be the best teacher your kids will ever have. So have your children put on outdoor-smart clothes (like jeans with reflective tape and waterproof boots) and let them venture out to learn these memorable, real life lessons.
How a Garden Grows (Botany, Math)
Plant a small vegetable or herb garden. Visit it regularly to water plants, measure plant growth with a ruler or yard stick, and observe the effects of the climate.
What’s in a Rock (Geology)
Go on a hike or nature walk and let kids collect a variety of rocks that interest them (a sturdy, padded backpack will help them carry their finds). Discuss the characteristics of the three types of rock (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic) and then let kids classify their rock collections by type.
The Value of Green Waste (Ecology)
Make your own compost with kitchen scraps, dry leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and other waste materials. Put in a compost bin and check on it over many weeks. What happens as materials break down? Notice the role of worms in this process. Later, see if plants grow better with compost mixed into the soil.
Nocturnal Critter Crawl (Biology)
Walk around your neighborhood by day and make a note of all the animals and insects you see and hear. Then do the same thing after dark (wearing a handy glow-in-the-dark backpack for visibility). Notice which critters are active at different times.
Renewable Energy 101 (Physics)
Have kids set up solar lights or lanterns. Talk about how they receive and store energy from the sun. Watch them light up as the sun goes down.
Weather Watch (Meteorology, Math)
Did you know that volunteers of all ages help track precipitation across the continent? Join them and measure rain, hail and snow using inexpensive equipment. Then log information with an online tracking system (this backpack with laptop sleeve makes it easy to take a computer along). Later, find out how the National Weather Service, farmers, engineers and others will use your data.
Help kids gear up for back to school or other outdoor adventures here.