When I first learned outdoor schooling was a thing, I knew that was something I wanted to incorporate in our eclectic homeschooling style. We have always been an outdoorsy family so it’s extremely easy for us to take our lessons outdoors.
A few weeks ago I gave you guys all the details on our homeschool lesson plan for October. This week I wanted to talk about how we are going to turn these themes into outdoor schooling activities.
How Much Do These Outdoor Schooling Activities Cost?
Most of our outdoor schooling activities are free and take place among nature or around our neighborhood. This means most of the activities listed in this post will be easy for you to replicate from your own home.
In addition to our free fun, we like to take our kids out for a “field trip” once or twice a month. This usually involves, but isn’t limited to, a trip to the museum or farm. We have memberships to a few of the kid friendly museums in the area so we can visit multiple times and only focus on our weekly themes.
I do encourage you to look into memberships at your local kid friendly establishments as well. Most of the time, a membership pays for itself after 2 or 3 visits. It also gives you the freedom to take your time soaking up all the information that pertains to each lesson plan without feeling the need to see everything.
I understand these things aren’t accessible to everyone who is reading. I want this post to be beneficial for everyone so I will be mindful to list some additional free outdoor schooling activities during the weeks we take field trips or do things exclusive to our area.
With that being said, let’s dive into our October outdoor schooling activities!
Week One: Stars And Constellations
This week happens to be one of the two weeks this month we will take a field trip to complement our homeschool lesson plan. Our membership at the Bishop Museum includes unlimited trips to the planetarium so it’s only fitting we watch one of the shows for our stars and constellations theme.
We will view the Wayfinders show at the planetarium. This program will teach us how ancient Polynesians used the stars to navigate their way from Tahiti to Hawai’i. We will also learn how to use the position of the stars around the North Star to determine how much time has passed.
Another way we will include our stars and constellations theme into an outdoor schooling activity is by going outside at night and identifying constellations in the sky. We will take a map of the night sky from the planetarium on a walk around our neighborhood and try to identify as many stars possible.
If you don’t have access to a planetarium, you can Google “tonight’s night sky map in [insert area code]” and print out your own map to the stars. Some talking points for this activity include why the stars appear to be twinkling and how long it takes for the light from a star to reach the Earth.
Another fun outdoor schooling activity for this week could be to track your child’s shadow. Have your child stand in a set spot and trace their shadow at various times throughout the day. This will allow them to visualize how the sun moves through the sky and effects shadows (and also tells time).
Week Two: Bees
Hawai’i Public Schools are on fall break this week so there are a ton of fall programs going on in the area. We were lucky enough to snag a spot at a bee pollinator event at our family’s favorite farm, Keiki and Plow.
At this event our kids will learn about how bees make hives and help keeps plants alive. They will also play an adorable bee game to learn about the various roles bees play throughout their lifetime.
Another awesome and totally free activity we will do this week is visit various botanical gardens and garden centers (at Home Depot and other local shops). Each time we see flowers, we will count the number of bees we saw and try to accurately identify the honeybees from other bee species.
A final, free bee activity you can do this a honeycomb building race. Explain how the cells of a honeycomb have 6 sides and form a shape called a hexagon. Then have your kids create a hexagon in the dirt with rocks and/or sticks. Give the kids a set amount of time to work and see which child can connect the most hexagons to form the biggest honeycomb.
Week Three: Christopher Columbus
For Christopher Columbus week we are going to make origami boats as a STEAM activity. The plan is to take our boats down to the pool and have boat races to see who can blow their boat the furthest distance in one minute. Then we will test whose boat can hold the most pennies.
If you don’t live in a climate where it is warm all year round, you can still replicate this outdoor schooling activity. Simply fill up a large plastic tub with water and have your children race their boats by blowing their boat from one side to the other. You can use this activity to talk about how the wind affects sailing conditions.
Another one of our crafts for the week is making telescopes using toilet paper rolls and paper cups. We are going to take our telescopes on a hike and use them to identify upcoming objects on the trail. We will discuss how Christopher Columbus used his telescope to help him identify land while he was sailing.
Week Four: Our Earth
This week is probably the most freedom you will ever have planning outdoor schooling activities. You can literally walk outside of your front door and BOOM, there’s the Earth.
It’s really up to you how you choose to outdoor school for the Earth theme, but my plan is to take a few hikes. One hike will be to wooded, dense region and the other will be to a beachy area. If you don’t have access to a beach, you can always find a nearby lake, stream, or creek.
On these hikes, we will do scavenger hunts to identify the different plants and animals that live in different ecosystems. We will also collect samples of the Earth from each location. When we get home, we will compare the samples using our magnifying glass then create a Venn diagram comparing our findings.
Week 5: Halloween
Of course we saved the best week for last.
We will actually be doing Halloween and fall related outings the whole month so this week won’t be anything exceedingly special. As I mentioned in my previous post, our family will be in town this week so we will probably take a majority of the week off to enjoy our company.
The biggest thing I have planned this week will be to teach my children about Samhain. Samhain is a Celtic tradition of honoring ancestors much like Dia de los Muertos. Since we will have grandparents in town, we will ask them questions about our ancestors and light a remembrance candle together.
I realize everyone has unique cultural views, but it could be fun and enriching for everyone to learn about how other cultures celebrate this holiday differently. I will include some first grade friendly links here about Samhain and Dia de los Muertos if you are interested in learning more.
Enjoy These Outdoor Schooling Activities With Your Family
I hope this post gave you some inspiration to take your homeschooling outdoors. Even if you don’t want to participate in every activity, it can be very enriching for your children to switch up their learning venue once in a while.
If you have any additional ideas for outdoor schooling activities that pertain to our October lesson plan, I would love to hear about them in the comments below. If you decide to participate in any of these activities, feel free to tag me on IG @_our_happy_place_ or use the hashtag #ourhappyhomeschooling so we can stay connected!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read. Until next time, Happy Homeschoolers.