Explore the Outdoors!

Spring is here and summer is on its way!

Take time to enjoy the outdoors with your family, wherever you are. Exploring nature and the world around us is a great way to teach kids about the importance of protecting our environment, allows them to destress and unwind, and experience their senses in new, exciting ways. It’s also a great opportunity to share quality time together and instill in our kids an appreciation for what wonders can be found near and far – or even in our own backyard!

Use the videos, crafts, activities and games below to jump start your outdoor explorations, today.

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Learn More About the Outdoors

Dinosaur Discoveries: Butterflies | Dinosaur Train

Grades PreK-K
Dr. Scott shares amazing information on butterflies. He shows examples of different types of butterfly coloration and camouflage, emphasizing how their bright colors can be used to hide from or scare away predators.

Nature Cat | Travelin’ Seeds

Grades K-4
When Daisy finds a beautiful flower in her garden that she didn’t plant, it’s up to Nature Cat and his pals to find out where the flower came from. Join Nature Cat and learn more about how forests grow through seed dispersal.

Favorite Places in Nature | Plum Landing

Grades 1-4
In this media gallery from Plum Landing, a group of friends share observations of their favorite places in nature, from a pond in the park to the clouds seen from a fire escape. Throughout these four videos, they model science process skills, such as observing and recording data, and also show that you don’t need to look very far to find nature! 

Plant Families | Think Garden

Grades 3-5
This video from KET’s Think Garden collection breaks down the scientific classification of living organisms. Learn about the order of classification from largest to smallest: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Also get a closer look at some specific plant families to find out which fruits and vegetables are in the same family.

Yikes! Poisonous Plants | Spot on Science

Grades 3-8
Some of the plants you find outside look so pretty, but not all of them are safe to touch. Margaret talks about which kinds of plants are poisonous, including holly berries, mushrooms, and poison ivy. 

Hummingbird: Surveyor, Architect and Builder

Grades 3-8
Watch the busy hummingbird craft the perfect nest in this video from NATURE: Animal Homes. The female hummingbird plays the role of surveyor, architect and builder in her effort to create a suitable home for her eggs and future chicks.

Minnesota Legacy Short | Amber Fletschock: Collage Artist

Grades 5-12
Amber Fletschock is a collage artist working from the rugged forests of central Minnesota. Inspired by the nature surrounding her, Amber’s work is a response to the chaos and abundance of modern times.

Nature Works – To Make Clean Water | Nature Works Everywhere

Grades 6-12
Nature works to filter and release water over time, thereby reducing the amount of artificial treatment needed to filter water and to help prevent flooding. In this video, learn about how the water cycle impacts our daily lives and how we can take steps to improve the health of our own local watersheds.

Fly Fishing | Climate Wisconsin

Grades 6-12
In this video from PBS Wisconsin Education, follow Peter Cozad, a fly fishing guide in Viroqua, Wisconsin, as he explores a few of the many trout streams in southwestern Wisconsin. Listen as he describes why fly fishing is important to the economy of the region as well as to him personally, and how it may be threatened by climate change.

Activities, Crafts & More!

7 Ideas to Get Creative on a Family Walk

Grades PreK-3
Looking for new ideas for your family walks outside? Here are seven simple ways to turn a family nature walk into an enjoyable adventure for everyone.

Nature Observation Bingo

Grades PreK-3
Let your child explore their curiosity with this fun outdoor game of bingo! Encourage them to wonder by creating a game together that is focused on practicing observation and exploration in nature.

Best Gardening Books for Kids

Grades PreK-5
Inch by inch, row by row, learn to make your garden grow! Browse through these seed-filled reads and explore the outdoors through books.

Paint With Nature

Grades K-3
Get outside and have fun with nature, using natural objects (leaves, flowers, or anything else!) as brushes or stamps to paint creative art projects.

Planning Your Garden | Nature Works Everywhere

Grades 3-12
Having a successful and productive garden starts with a great plan. In this first How-to-Garden video, learn how to design your garden for the most impact. Maximize the sunlight, water source, soil quality, climate, and budget available to you. This video supports the Nature Works Everywhere Gardens curriculum that includes activity guides and the How-to-Garden video series.

SciGirls | Bird Is the Word

Grades 5-8
You can help scientists monitor bird populations and look for patterns in bird movement by counting your local birds and submitting the data. Birds are fascinating animals to watch and it’s easy to learn how to identify them. Casual observers can use the same techniques to identify birds that scientists use.

Reclaiming Habitat for Honeybees

Grades 6-8
Explore the role of pollinators in the ecosystems they are a part of. In this interactive lesson, students will develop a written response to one of three questions about the importance of honeybees. 

Virtual UCF Arboretum

Grades 6-12
The Virtual UCF Arboretum is an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) website featuring plants and flowers found in natural communities of Central Florida. Each plant in the atlas has educational information, photographs, gardening facts, and a 3D plant model ideal for close inspection of botanical form and structure.

Local Organizations & Events

Point au Roche State Park

Point au Roche State Park has started the PAR Kids Club! This club give kids a chance to get outside for some play and exploration in nature. There will occasionally be a short outdoor skills lesson or an organized game or activity, but the focus will be on child-led, free play. The first meetings meet at the Nature Center, but stay tuned for future meeting locations. This program begins on Sunday, May 23, at 3:00 PM and is geared toward ages 3-10, but all ages are welcome!

Stone Ledge Sculpture Garden

The Stone Ledge Sculpture Garden, located just south of Plattsburgh, NY on US Route 9, is hard to miss with its large-scale metal and wooden sculpture sited across the sprawling lawn. Created by Jackie and Dick Sabourin in 1994, the garden offers an opportunity for locals and tourists alike to breathe the fresh air and take in impressive works of art. And, it’s free and open to the public year-round!

The collection features many works by sculptor John Kokoszka, which pay homage to a variety of notable moments in world and art history, such as Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes’ famous painting “El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid.”

Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center

The Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center is dedicated to fostering connections with nature for students, local residents, and regional visitors by providing outdoor recreation opportunities, experiential education programs, and year-round art exhibitions. Check out their Online Resources for tours and tutorials, discover the Breck Chapin Memorial Native Species Butterfly House and learn more about these colorful insects, and explore the PSC VIC trails – open year round!

For even more games, activities, and educational resources for young learners, go to the Explore the Outdoors Collection on PBS Kids for Parents.