Today’s #STEMCTEFridays post is all about STEM fun in the outdoors! The outdoors is the perfect environment for STEM learning because it offers countless opportunities to explore, ask questions, and have fun. Gwen Dewar, a researcher from the University of Michigan, suggests that active exploration wires the brain, and helps kids develop powerful intuitions about concepts central to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Three ways adults can help create more effective, outdoor learning experiences:
Going and playing outside doesn’t automatically create learning opportunities for kids but there are ways we help create more effective, learning experiences for them outdoors.
- Encourage children to take an active role in investigating nature while outdoors (like picking up and examining leaves or rocks).
- Introduce new STEM concepts and vocabulary while kids are physically engaged. As you talk with kids about their discoveries, introduce words that help them describe what they see and feel.
- Simple activities are just as informative as more formal activities. The outdoors is perfect for fun, messy, and repetitive activities that could very well be the beginnings of a bright future in STEM.
- Keep a nature journal
- Make a nature collage
- Build a rock sculpture
- Go on a nature walk
- Go on a photo scavenger hunt
- Make mud paintings
- Plant a family tree
- Make a moon observation journal
- Make leaf rubbings
- Daily STEM’s 77 STEM Activities: Nature Edition (English / Spanish)
- OFDW Wildlife Viewing Map
- Best astronomy apps and websites for kids
- Nine science apps for outdoor science learning
- Twenty outdoor STEM activities for fun learning
Check out our Local STEM/CTE Spaces page on our website for local places to visit for STEM fun outdoors!