5 Outdoor Activities to Spark the Elementary Imagination

Want to spark your child’s imagination? Try these five fun outdoor activities to start!

5 Outdoor Activities to Spark Imagination

In our new era of e-learning, it is more important than ever to get creative with the ways our elementary children engage with the outdoor world.

It is recommended by the CDC that kids get at least one hour of outdoor time daily. More is better when it comes to getting elementary-age children outside for fresh air and sunshine.

While using a laptop to get outside for core classes can help to break up the monotony of learning, it is still important to have unstructured playtime in the great outdoors. It can help your child’s mind unwind, de-stress and ignite in the grand creation of nature.

Here are a few ideas to help spark your children’s imaginations and make the outdoors a highly sought-after destination throughout your elementary homeschooling day.

Outdoor Activities for Kids

Start a Daily Nature Journal

A nature journal may seem like a simple idea but incorporating it into a daily curriculum automatically gets your child outside on a regular schedule.

With a little guidance, your child can self-direct to their nature journal to document the wonders in nature. Based on your child’s level of ability, the nature journal can be simple pictures of observations outside or extensive leaf tracings with scientific names and classifications. Identifying bird sounds and species is another fine listening and looking activity that is great for any elementary level.

Filling a nature journal full of illustrations, reflections, and scientific observations can bring a child peace and also prompt love and appreciation of the outside world.

Create a Small Raised Garden

Gardening is a great way to teach children to be truly self-reliant. Growing your own food is a skill and an art that should be taught in every homeschool.

Taking advantage of even a small space outdoors to grow a little bit of produce is enough to spark the imagination of a primary school-aged child. Also, a small raised garden can be an excellent outdoor activity/lesson in botany, economics, and sustainability. It’s a perfect addition to any science curriculum!

Make a Grown-up Sandbox or Zen Garden

A sandbox turned into a mature zen garden can be a beautiful place for even the most distressed and troubled child to find peace through sensory exploration.

Using sensory experiences to ignite a child’s imagination goes beyond the preschool years. Many times a frustrated elementary-aged child will find a deep peace when presented with a sensory activity.

Sometimes the academic pressures on our young children can become overwhelming. Calmly raking patterns and pictures in a sand space or creating pathways for marbles or balls can be so soothing that it can change the outlook of frustration for a young mind.

All-Weather Outdoor Activities

The importance of children playing in puddles and rain cannot be left out. As adults, we are quick to discourage our children from going outdoors during inclement weather. It’s important to train our minds to use the word ‘no’ less with children unless the situation will create injury or danger. Puddles and rain do not create either of those things.

Children find a world of wonder on rainy days, the feeling of the raindrops, the splash of puddles, and the extra nitrogen in the air are all health benefits to any child. The only danger is dragging mud into the house when the exploring is over. As adults, we have to overlook this inconvenience for the good of the child.

Life-Size Lincoln Logs

Having curated sensory and exploratory activities available outside for your child to take a break with can give him a sense of peace and ownership of his inner need to take a break before becoming overwhelmed with a task or lesson.

Child-size logs outdoors provide a space to place the logs in patterns or build. This activity caters to physical activity and gross motor practice which is still very important at the preschool and elementary age.

Do More Outdoor Activities

If you notice, most of these activities are open-ended and mostly led by the child’s inner desire and need to find peace through the exploration of the outside world.

At the elementary level, regimented lessons are a requirement no matter if the child is homeschooling or in a public school setting. Focusing and mastering the core subjects at this level is very important.

As the adult guide, it’s important to make sure your child isn’t getting too overwhelmed by the workload. This is especially important in our modern age of online school options that lead to Zoom fatigue.

When a child has access to the outdoor environment at their own discretion it creates within them the ability to find solutions to the inner issues before they escalate. Have you ever needed to just step outside to catch your breath in a stressful situation? Multiply that feeling by 10 for an adolescent! Set up your child’s learning environment so that access to the outdoors becomes a self-prompted peace-seeking activity.

“Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning.” – Maria Montessori

You Might Also Like:

Jessica May

About the author

We live on a small farm in Boerne, Texas and we are passionate about conservation, sustainable living, education, and Texas!

Related Posts

Abstract Expressionism is a great art movement to learn with your kids because its about the process not the outcome. Abstract art removes barriers.


Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that winter nature study activities can’t happen! Here are 9 ways to integrate them into your day.


The key to incorporating physical fitness into your homeschool is to make it fun. Games and activities that mimic play are ideal, because they’re natural extensions of childhood. Here are five of our favorite homeschool physical fitness activities.

Brandi Jordan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

©2024 iHomeschool Network