Get Outside! Nature Exploration & Activities for Kids

Oxbow’s education team has compiled some favorite nature exploration activities to enjoy, whether you’re learning at school, at home, or in your neighborhood park! Our activities are hands-on and invite kids to experience the world around them while using their powers of scientific observation.

We hope these activities spark wonder and curiosity, helping kids continue to develop relationships with nature and scientific discovery!


Seed BallsMake Your Own Seed Balls

Map out the pollinators, flowering plants, and bare soil in your backyard or other outdoor space. Then create your own seed balls to distribute, making more habitat for pollinators in your local ecosystem!

Ages: 5 & up, younger kids may need an adult helper
Time needed: About 1 hour
Download a PDF

nature scavenger hunt

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Oxbow usually has this very scavenger hunt available for visitors to do during our annual Oxtober Fall Festival, but the fun isn’t just limited to autumn! This activity is perfect to do in a park, on a walk, or in your very own backyard. 

Ages: All ages
Time needed: As much or as little as you want!
Download a PDF

Build a worm bin at home

Get up close and personal with nature’s helpful red wiggler worms! Witness the magic of decomposition first-hand and turn your food scraps into vermicompost for your yard or garden.

Ages: 6 & up with an adult helper
Time needed: Approx. 2 hrs
Download a PDF

Rollie Pollie Activity

Make some observations about a favorite backyard critter: the rollie pollie! (AKA potato bug, roly poly, pill bug, doodlebug, the list goes on!) Conduct a simple experiment to determine which habitats they prefer, and learn some fast facts about these fascinating little creatures!

Ages: PreK and up
Time needed: Approx. 60 mins.
Download a PDF

Backyard Nature Survey

Backyard Nature Survey Lesson

Conduct a nature survey involving focused investigation of a square foot of soil in any outdoor space – learn how much biodiversity can exist in one very small area!

Ages: K-8th grade
Time needed: 20 minutes to 1 hour
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squirrels lessonSquirrels, Seeds, and Trees Lesson

This lesson will guide students to make a connection to the outdoors as a habitat for a familiar animal: the squirrel. Through inquiry-based guidance and participation in a squirrel food scavenger hunt, students will learn about squirrel habitat with a focus on food and shelter and will be able to answer the question: Does your schoolyard make a good habitat for squirrels?

Ages: K-3rd grade
Time needed: 45-85 mins
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Squirrels, Seeds, and Trees is part of Oxbow’s Earth Connections: Science Through the Seasons program in partnership with Frank Wagner Elementary. The lesson was presented as an outdoor lesson example at the 2018 Starting Strong P-3rd Grade Institute