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!

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Winter Wonders Scavenger Hunt

We usually has scavenger hunts available for Farm Stand and event visitors, but the fun isn’t just limited to Oxbow! 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

Bee Activity and Guide

Do a bee observation and learn about native pollinators near you!

Grade Level: All ages
Time needed: 25 min
Download a PDF

OxCast video: Mason Bee Release
Additional Resources:  Bee ID Guide pdf

Maple Seed Math

Learn about plant life cycles and seed dispersal! Identify how seeds travel and predict what factors influence their journey. Make a hypothesis, run an experiment, and collect data to see how far the average maple seed travels when it falls!

Grade Level: 1st through 4th
Time needed: 1 hour
Download a PDF

How-to video: Maple Seed Math Experiment
Additional Resources:  Google Slides or pdf

Nature Art

Create something extraordinary: Nature provides all the tools and objects you need to create art, all you have to do is bring the ideas and creativity!

Ages: 3 & up
Time needed: 20 mins to 1 hour
Download a PDF

Nature Journaling

What happens when we slow down and make careful observations about the world around us? Oxbow Educators share fun and engaging Nature Journaling prompts to help you get started with your own journal, no matter where you live!

Ages: 4 & up, journal prompts can be adapted for any age
Time needed: Varies
Visit our Journal Prompts page to download PDFs

pollinator hotelBuild A Bee-utiful Pollinator Hotel

Use natural and recycled materials to get creative and build your own Pollinator Hotel! Learn about pollinators and what they need from their habitat. Practice observation skills as residents move into the hotel throughout the season-can you identify all of your visitors?

Ages: Any age! Recommended ages 6 and up, with an adult helper
Time needed: 10-40 minute setup, ongoing observation
Download a PDF

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
Download a PDF

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
Download a PDF

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