Outdoor Alphabet Hunt

alphabet hunt outside learning It is so easy to turn a simple game into a educational one with a few additions. This alphabet hunt took me 5 minutes to plan and put together, including the maker test you will see below. I decided to use Duplo because even though it was sunny our yard has countless things that might get blocks wet or dirty. The Duplo are easy to clean and the connect together to create a full alphabet. This wasn’t the main purpose even though she naturally wanted to make the alphabet. Alphabetical order is not a huge concern at this age although using it as a tool to work on letter recognition can be useful. We used it as one way to see if we had all the letters. For children not eager to look for 26 letters try the letters in their name instead for older kids try sight words. For more alphabet ideas check out our Alphabet For Starters series.

Gather your materials. You will need some Duplo or other plastic interlocking blocks, a sharpie or two, a yard and you’ll want a dry erase marker to take the letters off when you are done using these blocks as letter blocks.duplo alphabet letter hunt outside

Start by doing a test on one block to make sure that the permanent markers you have will come off the blocks. I tested it out on a orange block. I wrote test on the block and waited 5 minutes. It was totally dry and then using dry erase marker I covered the whole word. Then wiped. It came off. I repeated this days later after doing the activity and the letters came off no problem. Test out your own on a small spot on the inside to make sure your marker comes off. duplo letter hunt

Write the letters on the blocks. alphabet hunt outdoors with duplo

Hide the blocks outside. We have a pretty big front yard so I spread them out!outdoor alphabet block hunt for kids

Time to search!alphabet hunt outside for preschoolers She found the first one right away. alphabet scavenger hunt for kidsNow depending on how many children are participating and what your specific learning goals are for your child you can add in some learning as they find the blocks too. I didn’t ask for every letter but every few blocks I would ask her what sound the letter made. Remember the sound is much more important than the name. I would also ask her to name something that started with the letter.alphabet hunt for kids outside

She started putting some letters together right away.alphabet hunt enjoying the sun

She took a break to soak in some sun.alphabet hunt outside for little kids

After we had many we put them into alphabetical order using the alphabet song as a guide. We also counted them and discovered we were missing some. We found all but one pretty easily. The v block was missing for a few hours. We went inside and took a break, then returned outside after a rest and snack and found it.

alphabet game outside

Have fun with letters.

Alphabet Books

Here are some great alphabet books to go with your activity. All book lists include affiliate links.

Alphabetter

Alphabetter by Dan Bar-el and Graham Ross is another great alphabet book for you to check out. Each letter is represented by a child who has something that starts with the same letter as their name but doesn’t have what they want which starts with the following letter. It’s such a cute gimmick and so effective while reading that it’s not a gimmick at all! At the end of the book all the children pass the items back down the alphabet and everyone gets what they want. Awesome book for toddlers on up !

Sleepy ABC

Sleepy ABC by Margaret Wise Brown . Although I have a legendary hatred of Runaway Bunny I generally love this author. I like this book, and the illustrations will zip you back in time for sure.  Unlike many alphabet books it has a great rhythm for reading it all without breaks. Like the title suggests it’s a good alphabet book for a bedtime read, it even ends with something I say to my kids every night  “Go to sleep!”

Alphabet soup

Alphabet Soup by Scott Gustafson is a treat! I read a lot of alphabet books and this one stands out for so many reasons. Otter is hosting a potluck and his animal friends are all bringing something to share. Each page is devoted to an animal with a coordinating food item and more. This book is reminiscent of Graham Base’s Animalia but much more toddler friendly. Where Animalia is great for older children because it’s so full of detail, this book brings it down a notch but still enchants you with stunning illustrations and fantastic coordinating text.

 

Outdoor Number Line Activity

outdoor active math game

It’s spring and it’s time to get outside and learn! This sidewalk chalk number line activity is great because it uses almost no materials and you can use it however your child needs to. My son used the line as a place to show his answers but didn’t use it as a manipulative itself, and my daughter used it to count by 5 with help. Your child may like the line as a guide to figure out the equations or as a way to show their answers to mental math like my son. Use it for whatever math goal you are working on.

Gather your materials. You will need a sidewalk or road, sidewalk chalk, some pebbles to use as place markers and a young mathematician or two.number line outdoor activity

Start by drawing a number line on the ground. Ours went from 0-50 by 5′s and I used one big step to measure between the numbers. Ours did not have marks to mark each number on the line but if you want to you can do this. I had my son estimate where those numbers would be when he needed to. My line is a little wobbly but it didn’t bother either one of my kids or change the outcome. Don’t stress about little things like this. number line outdoor math

I wrote out equations that my son has been working on doing mentally. This is our way of drilling without drilling. number line numbersIt’s fun and active and even if you are working on drills you can add an active element. Then switch gears to using the number line as a tool to help figure out the equations. number line math for kindergarten and first grade

Call out the equation and have them place a pebble on the answer.number line math activity for kids

Keep going. number line math activity for childrenThis was a big hit with my son and I went through all the equations and added more on the fly.math activity for kids with a number line

For younger players have them simply find the number and step on it. For my daughter after she walked the line and counted by 5s  I called out the numbers on either end of the line so she was bopping from one end to the other and learning as she went.number line fun for preschool

Although it often rains around here we aren’t expecting rain for a few days so we grabbed the hose and sprayed down our line when we were done.side walk chalk activity number line

 

Want more active learning ideas for kids? Check out these 21 fun ideas!

active learning activities for kids

 

Active Learning Activities for Boys and Girls

active learning activities for kids Some children will show a great need for kinesthetic learning while others like my son will just need a balance. After a full day of auditory and visual learning at school I like to provide that balance. He’s polite, mature and eager to learn at school ( or so they tell me). At home he tackles, bumps, shoves and begs to wrestle. I’m fine with this but I know that when I try to supplement his school day learning with more activities at home I need to make them dynamic. No matter how your child learns best giving them lots of different ways to learn will benefit them.

Here are some of our favorite active learning activities. These activities let kids move while they learn. Many are outdoor but most can be done indoor or out.

gross motor letter game for kids

Basic Letter Games

Move & Groove Letter Game
Gardening For Letters – Dig and Learn!
Sidewalk Chalk Letter Game
Build With Letters
Letters On The Go

letter activities spelling with sidewalk chalk

Word Games For Early Readers
Word Scavenger Hunt
Indoor Gross Motor Reading Game
Sidewalk Chalk Spelling Game
Sight Word Yard Clean Up!
Find & Rhyme gross motor rhyming game.

nerf gun backyard math for kids
Moving with Math
Nerf Gun Math
Water Balloon Math
Cheese Ball Math
Counting Around The House
Find & Count Bug Hunt

nature color hunt

Colors
Indoor bug hunt and color match.
Nature Color Match
iPhone Color Hunt

preschool science for kids

Not So Still Science
Egg Drop
Sound Safari
Squirt Gun Science

Shoot & Add { Nerf Gun Math For Kids }

nerf gun learning activityThis outdoor math for kids can be done with beanbags, baseballs, water balloons… or Nerf guns like we used. My mantra is to use what they love to make them love learning and that is what we did. Nerf guns are big news at our house right now because I just relented and let my kids have them. Using the darts are an outside only activity although they are loved less for their shooting ability and more for a pretend play prop. Either way they are the bright shiny new and novel item at our house so I used them to make learning fun after school. My goal with all the activities in the Learning After School series is to make the activities for school age kids that are educational without making them feel like homework. Here is what we did with this math for kids activity and yes they LOVED it!

Gather your materials. You will need some plastic cups, a permanent marker, something to use to write down the tally, a nerf blaster , and eye protection. If you don’t want to use a Nerf gun you could use a bean bag or ball.  math activity for kids

Start by writing out numbers on the cups. We did 1-6 but you could number them anything you like. Set them up in a pyramid. nerf gun counting and adding

Get your glasses on and get ready! nerf gun backyard math for kids

Knock those numbers down!!nerf gun math gross motor activity

Add all the numbers on the cups together and record on the chalkboard. nerf gun math tally up

This activity was made for my 6 year old not my 3 year old but so when she shot them down I had her simply identify the numbers on the cups. I am planning on doing this again with her using a bean bag instead of a Nerf gun and the goal of hitting specific cups down. I will post it when I do. nerf gun math number recognition

Set the cups back up and go again. nerf collage 1Add the tally up. I did the addition for my daughter but got her to write some. My son did his own writing. It’s not a ton of practice but it’s a little something in the midst of a fun activity so I will take it! nerf gun addition

Like I said this was designed for my almost 7 year old not my 3 year old. She did well with it and had fun but I would never use this activity with a group of 3 year olds – nerf guns while safe to play with still hurt if you get one in the eye or at close range which is why they had safety glasses on. You know best what your kids are ready for but I just wanted to be clear that this is meant for our big kids !

 

Sight Word Game

sight word gross motor game for kids

It’s been beautiful here and I wanted to get outside for a little learning. This gross motor sight word game is fun and was a cinch to adapt to very different ability levels. My son worked on sight words and my daughter on letter recognition. When we played this the first time my kids were not very into it. It was almost dinner, we’d been busy all week , and it was just bad timing. A few days later we played again and it was a huge hit! Smiles, words being yelled out , letters flying into the pretend recycle bin… so I thought my reminder to myself would be a good reminder for you too. Timing is everything and don’t give up if an activity flops. Give it one more try before giving it the ax.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some ping pong balls, a container, sharpies ,and some painter’s tape if you want to turn your container into a recycle bin like we did. sight word game for kindergarten
  2. Start by writing out sight words and/or letters for your child on the ping pong balls. A quick google search will provide leveled sight word lists for your child.sight word gross motor game
  3. Add the recycle sign on your container.sight words recycle game
  4. We went outside and I pretended to be a litter bug throwing recycling ( the ping pong balls) all over our yard. I really spread them out. The rule was that they had to call out the word/letter before running it back to the bin to clean up the yard.sight word recycling activity
  5. Off they went!  sight word and letter gameThey played well but the next time we played it was all giggles and rushing – you can tell in this picture that my son was tired . He hoarded as many balls as he could then ran up to the bin read them all to me and ran back to get another handful. sight word game readingThe next time he’d find one, run it over and run to the next.  My daughter was overwhelmed with how spread out I made it. The 2nd time we played I kept them in a much smaller space which made a huge difference for her.sight word game for kindergarten and preschool

Books About Recycling For Kids

plasticbottle

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches is awesome!  The book takes the reader through the complete process from crude oil, to bottle and then to synthetic fleece. I am not too proud to admit I learned s a few new things and had a few good laughs along the way with the books little bits of humor too. I think most 5 year olds would enjoy this book, and it’s easy to break it down for those unable to sit for this much text.

why do we recycle

Little Pirate: Why Do We Recycle?  by Innovative Kids is a really fun book about recycling with a pirate theme. Yes a pirate theme. Readers learn about recycling, composting and garbage along with two young pirates who need to clean up their ship. The pirates ask questions about different waste and the wise parrot fills them into the facts like the best bag to use while shopping is a cloth one, and what happens to the metal, glass and paper after we put them in the recycle bin.

Gabby and Grandma go green

Gabby and Grandma Go Green by Monica Wellington is another wonderful book from one of our favorite authors. In the book Gabby and her Grandma spend a day together  dedicated to going green. First making a great reusable bag and then using it all around town. I love that they go to the library and that is portrayed as a way to go green as well as a place to learn more about environmental efforts. Also showing ways to make a difference at the grocery store is perfect for young kids who are often tagging a long with parents on these errands. I can’t end the review without also mentioning the baby sibling who is sleeping in a sling at the end of the book , I love seeing baby wearing in books!  This is a great environment themed book that works all year round not just for Earth Day.

This post contains affiliate links.