61 Wet and Wild Outdoor Science Experiments and Activities

The whole world is one big science classroom.

Examples of outdoor science activities on a green background, including kids exploding a soda geyser and making a rain gauge out of a clear bottle.

The only thing more fun than hands-on science is taking it outside! These outdoor science experiments and activities are perfect for taking advantage of sunny days. Fly kites, dissect flowers, experiment with sound and water, and so much more! There is something on our list for everyone from adults all the way down to toddlers.

You’ll only need simple supplies for most of these, so any teacher or family can head out to learn about chemistry, biology, physics, and more. To make it even easier to find the right outdoor science activities, we’ve rated each one for difficulty:

  • Easy: Simple, short activities you can do with little or no prep needed.
  • Medium: These activities take a little longer or require a few extra supplies but are still fairly simple.
  • Advanced: Activities that require more unusual supplies or complex skills.

Jump to:

Outdoor Science Experiments That Get a Little Messy

1. Wrap a watermelon in rubber bands

You’ve probably seen videos of this making the rounds online, so why not try it out yourself? This is one of those outdoor science experiments that’s easy to do, but make sure you wear safety equipment like goggles. (Medium)

2. Send a geyser sky-high

This is one of those outdoor science activities that simply can’t be done anywhere other than outdoors. Kids will marvel at the chemical reaction that sends diet soda shooting high in the air when Mentos are added. (Medium)

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Learn more: Mentos and Coke Experiment (Plus Free Worksheet!)

Child playing with a watercourse built of LEGO bricks
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

3. Construct a LEGO waterwheel course

Explore the power of water with a cool homemade LEGO water course that includes a dam and a water wheel. This engineering project is fun to play with when you’re done. (Medium)

Learn more: LEGO Course

Child using a plastic wand to blow soap bubbles
FotoRieth via Pixabay

4. Find the best soap bubble solution

It’s easy to mix your own soap bubble solution with just a few ingredients. Let kids tweak the recipe to find the best proportion of ingredients to blow the longest-lasting bubbles with this fun outdoor science experiment. (Medium)

Learn more: How To Make a Homemade Bubbles Mixture at The Spruce Crafts

5. Blow giant bubbles

Bubbles are part of many fun outdoor science experiments. Once you’ve blown the longest-lasting bubbles, move on to creating the largest bubbles you’ve ever seen! Learn how in the video. (Medium)

6. Brew some elephant toothpaste

This experiment is popular with kids and adults alike! Don your safety goggles, mix a few ingredients, and watch the “elephant toothpaste” fly! (Medium)

Learn more: Elephant Toothpaste Experiment Plus Free Worksheet

Plastic zipper bags filled with baking soda and vinegar
Kids Activities

7. Explode plastic baggies

Vinegar and baking soda experiments are always a big hit with kids, and this one is no exception. They’ll love seeing the bags pop from the chemical reaction, and you’ll be glad the mess is outside. Plus, learn how to make a DIY volcano here! (Easy)

Learn more: Exploding Baggies

8. Conduct an egg drop

Here’s another classic outdoor science project you won’t want to move inside—the egg drop. Challenge kids to engineer a container that will protect an egg from a long fall (this is especially fun to do from upper-story windows). (Medium)

Plastic bin full of dirty water and pieces of litter
JDaniel4’s Mom

9. See water pollution in action

Learn about the challenges of cleaning up polluted water sources like rivers and lakes with this interesting outdoor science activity. Pair it with a visit to a local water-treatment plant to expand the lesson. (Medium)

Learn more: Water Pollution Experiment

A kiddie pool has different size metal mixing bowls in it and a child's hand is seen with a wooden spoon inside them.
And Next Comes L

10. Set up a musical science pool

This project is equally fun as a sensory experience and as a science experiment. Fill a kiddie pool with water, then place metal mixing bowls of different sizes inside. Finally, let kids experiment with different combos of waters, bowls, and drumsticks (i.e., wooden spoons). (Medium)

Learn more: Musical Science Pool

Child's shadow colored in with chalk paint
Rhythms of Play

11. Paint a shadow with homemade chalk paint

Head outside and have kids trace the outlines of their shadows. Then mix up some homemade chalk paint and let kids get creative painting their shadows. (Medium)

Learn more: Shadow Sidewalk Chalk Art

Frozen blocks of blue oobleck in a variety of shapes
Inspiration Laboratories

12. Make and melt frozen oobleck

Oobleck is a strange non-Newtonian fluid that’s both fun and fascinating to play around with. For a new twist on this classic experiment, freeze some oobleck, then take it out into the sun and see what happens when it melts. (Medium)

Learn more: Frozen Oobleck

Nature and Wildlife Outdoor Activities

Small nest built from sticks, yarn, feathers, and more
Views From a Step Stool

13. Assemble a nest

Birds build intricate nests, and they make it look easy. Can you do the same? Gather some materials outdoors, and try to make your own nest. (Easy)

Learn more: Build a Nest

Kids examining the flora and fauna in one square foot of ground (Outdoor Science Activities)
Little Bins for Little Hands

14. Explore 1 square foot

There’s an amazing amount of life in every square foot of nature. Grab your magnifying glasses or microscope, and take a closer look at the ground you walk on every day. (Easy)

Learn more: Square Foot Outdoor STEM Project

Students popping a balloon and letting the seeds inside fly on the wind (Outdoor Science)
Around the Kampfire Teaching

15. Explode a DIY seed pod

Find out how some plants spread their seeds far and wide with this cool balloon experiment. Fill it with seeds and air, then pop it outside on a breezy day and watch the seeds fly! (Medium)

Learn more: Seed Dispersal Activity

Four pinecones sitting in a row
Science Sparks

16. Forecast the weather with pine cones

Fun fact: Pine cones open and close according to the weather in order to protect or disperse the seeds inside. Use that fact to your advantage and create a pine cone weather station in your backyard. (Easy)

Learn more: Pine Cone Weather Station

Simple microscope made by placing a few drops of water on top of plastic wrap stretched across the top of a plastic cup
Childhood 101

17. Put together a simple microscope

This DIY microscope isn’t very powerful, but it does magnify small objects so you can see details. It’s also really simple to make. Looking for a stronger microscope you can take on the go? Try this portable model that hooks up to your cell phone. (Easy)

Learn more: Mini Microscope

Clear bottles filled with a variety of natural items like leaves and flowers
Little Bins for Little Hands

18. Create nature discovery bottles

Stroll through the great outdoors and have kids collect interesting natural objects. Use recycled soda or water bottles to display their specimens. (Easy)

Learn more: Nature Sensory Bottles

Two nature bingo cards with items like birds, trees, and more
Massachusetts Audubon Society

19. Play a game of Nature Bingo

Give your nature walk more direction by giving students specific items to seek out. You can make your own boards, or hit the link below for free printables for every season. (Easy)

Learn more: Nature Bingo

A nature journal made from cardboard, with blank ages and a page showing different nature items
KC Edventures

20. Start a nature journal

Nature journals are a great way to partner writing and outdoor science while building kids’ observational skills. You can use any sturdy notebook or check out the link below for free printable journal pages and a fun DIY carry-along journal project. (Easy)

Learn more: Nature Journal

21. Make and plant DIY seed bombs

Use recycled materials to create “seed bombs.” Then plant them in the schoolyard or send kids home to use them in their own gardens. Students learn about ecology, recycling, and plant life cycles. (Medium)

Child pouring vinegar over a large rock in a bowl
KC Edventures

22. Experiment with limestone rocks

Kids love to pick up rocks, and there are plenty of great science experiments you can do with them. In this one, you pour vinegar over a rock to see if it bubbles. If it does, you’ve found limestone! (Easy)

Learn more: Vinegar and Limestone Test

Screenshot of a page from Project Noah, showing a large caterpillar
Project Noah

23. Contribute to citizen science

Use a cell phone to snap pictures of everything you find on a nature walk, then report those sightings to Project Noah. This citizen science project is dedicated to documenting every living thing on Earth! (Easy)

Learn more: Project Noah

Plastic zipper bag tied around leaves on a tree
Teach Beside Me

24. Learn about plant transpiration

This simple project demonstrates how plants get rid of excess water they don’t need, a process known as transpiration. The supplies and method are simple enough for anyone to try it. (Easy)

Learn more: Transpiration

A selection of nature items, some in glass jars with labels
KC Edventures

25. Learn to identify trees

Give trees a closer look and learn to identify them by their leaves and seeds. These jars preserve the leaves and seeds for future study too. (Medium)

Learn more: Tree ID Scavenger Hung

Childhood 101

26. Go on a nature scavenger hunt

Take kids outdoors to use their five senses with this free printable scavenger hunt activity. They’ll hone their observation skills and learn so much about the world around them. (Easy)

Learn more: Nature Scavenger Hunt

Children looking at monarch caterpillars on milkweed
Monarch Watch via Facebook

27. Help monarch butterflies

You may have heard that monarch butterflies are struggling to keep their populations alive. Join the fight to save these beautiful insects by planting your own butterfly garden, monitoring monarch populations, and more. Get all the info you need at the link. (Advanced)

Learn more: Monarch Watch

Printable worksheet with information about tree rings
KC Edventures

28. Count tree rings to explore dendrochronology

Your students might know you can count tree rings to find out how old a tree is, but do they know why that’s true? Students will undoubtedly get a kick out of exploring dendrochronology. (Medium)

Learn more: Tree Rings and Dendrochronology

Clipboard with an All About Birds scavenger hunt worksheet
Inspiration Laboratories

29. Seek out signs of birds

Have you ever noticed that birds can be difficult to spot, even though signs of them are all around? This free printable scavenger hunt helps you find evidence that birds live nearby. Just look for nests and food sources and listen for their sounds. (Medium)

Learn more: All About Birds Scavenger Hunt

30. Attract birds with a DIY bird feeder

Bring all the birds to the yard with this easy recycled bird feeder project. Kids can learn to identify common backyard birds in your area. Visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s educators resource page for more ideas. (Easy)

31. Identify birds with an app

Some birds are easy to identify, but others stump even longtime bird-watchers. If you’re looking for outdoor science activities for kids who love feathered friends, check out the free Merlin Bird ID app. It listens to bird calls and identifies them in a snap! It works with photos too. (Easy)

Learn more: Merlin Bird ID

Person using a pencil to estimate the height of the tree
From ABCs to ACTs

32. Estimate the height of a tree

Kids work in pairs to estimate the height of a tree in this project that puts the M in STEM. Get a free printable at the link below to walk you through the process. (Medium)

Learn more: Outdoor STEM: Measuring Tree Height

Student worksheets for a plant dissection experiment as an example of plant life cycle activities
Royal, Baloo, and Lobi-Bear Too!

33. Dissect a flower

Take a plant apart to look at the various parts, like the roots, flower, bud, and more. (Medium)

Learn more: Investigating a Plant

34. Craft tree bark rubbings

Each tree has its type of bark, and making crayon rubbings is an easy and fun way to take a closer look. Put together a whole portfolio and label each with the kind of tree it comes from. (Easy)

35. Pit hydroponics against soil

Grow veggies using soil and hydroponics. Then, conduct your own taste test to see if one is better than the other. (Advanced)

Plaster cast of dog footprint next to autumn leaves, dated 7/25/15
Blog, She Wrote

36. Cast animal tracks

Explore wildlife biology by becoming an expert tracker! Learn to identify tracks and take casts. Turn this into an experiment by trying different methods to take casts, or use it as a method of identifying wildlife in the woods. (Advanced)

Learn more: How to Find & Collect Animal Tracks

Weather and Climate Outdoor Science Experiments

Frame made of wood craft sticks framing a cloud in the sky (Outdoor Science Activities)
Little Bins for Little Hands

37. Gaze at the clouds

Look up and take some time to admire the clouds. Craft this cute “cloud viewer” and find a cloud in the sky. Then, identify what type it is, and learn more about how clouds form. (Easy)

Learn more: Make Your Own Cloud Viewer

Glass jar covered in plastic wrap with a thermometer inside, next to a thermometer lying on the ground (Outdoor Science)
Teaching Science With Lynda R. Williams

38. See the greenhouse effect in action

Climate change can be a contentious topic, so start by teaching kids about the greenhouse effect, which is easy to see and understand using this simple experiment. Then, urge them to explore data collected by scientists so they can learn to make informed decisions about topics like global warming. (Easy)

Learn more: Teaching About the Greenhouse Effect

Homemade anemometer made from sticks and plastic cups
Pi’ikea Street

39. Assemble an anemometer

Scientists use anemometers to measure wind speed. Build this DIY version and do some outdoor science experiments about weather science with your kids. (Medium)

Learn more: Anemometer

Plastic bottle converted to a homemade rain gauge
NurtureStore

40. Turn a bottle into a rain gauge

All you need is a plastic bottle, a ruler, and a permanent marker to make your own rain gauge. Monitor your measurements and see how they stack up against meteorology reports in your area. (Medium)

Learn more: How To Make a Rain Gauge

Child playing with a DIY wind turbine
Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

41. Harness the power of the wind

Wind turbines have become common sights in some parts of the country as we explore alternative energy sources. Build your own to learn how they work with this outdoor science experiment. (Medium)

Learn more: Build a Wind Turbine

More Outdoor Science Experiments and Activities

Children flying homemade kites in the evening
Inner Child Fun

42. Fly a kite

You can learn a lot about physics when you make and fly your own kite. Experiment with different designs to see whose kite flies the highest or the longest. (Easy)

Learn more: How To Make a Simple Kite

Child checking a plastic bottle containing layers of soil, vegetables, and more
Busy Mommy Media

43. Compost food scraps in a bottle

Food waste is a big problem, contributing to much of the material that winds up in landfills. Teach kids how to compost with kitchen scraps in a plastic bottle, and use the compost to feed your plants. (Medium)

Learn more: Soda Bottle Compost

Giant carbon snake growing out of a tin pan full of sand
Kiwico

44. Grow a carbon sugar snake

If you’re looking for outdoor science experiments that are sure to excite your students, try this eye-popping chemical reaction demonstration. You only need simple supplies like sugar, baking soda, and sand, but the element of fire makes this experiment best done outdoors. (Medium)

Learn more: Carbon Sugar Snake

Ice cube tray filled with dirt, with nails and wiring used to turn it into a baattery
Teach Beside Me

45. Construct a dirt battery

This outdoor science project is similar to building a battery from a lemon, but you also get to dig in the dirt! Kids learn about electric currents and conductivity. (Medium)

Learn more: Dirt Battery

Two kinds of sunscreen with a piece of black construction paper
JDaniel4’s Mom

46. Test the power of sunscreen

We slather kids in sunscreen when they’re playing outside, but do they understand why? Try this fun little experiment, which demonstrates how sunscreen protects from the sun’s harmful rays. (Easy)

Learn more: STEM Sunscreen Experiment

Two pizza boxes turned into solar ovens using foil and other supplies, with marshmallows cooking inside
Desert Chica

47. Build a solar oven

Explore the power of the sun when you build your own solar ovens and use them to cook some yummy treats. (Medium)

Learn more: Solar Oven

48. Blast off with bottle rockets

Just a few simple supplies let you use the power of air pressure to send a homemade bottle rock soaring to the heavens! Get full instructions in the video. (Medium)

Sunprints of nature objects
PBS for Parents

49. Make sun prints

You’ll need to buy special paper for this outdoor science project, but it’s easy to find. Kids will love creating their own patterns and experimenting to find which objects work best. (Medium)

Learn more: Sun Prints

Child jumping on one side of a wooden board propped over a can, sending a ping pong ball on the other side flying
Buggy and Buddy

50. Launch Ping-Pong balls with a catapult

Young kids will simply adore building this basic catapult and watching Ping-Pong balls soar! Older kids can experiment by changing the position of the fulcrum, the length of the board, and the objects being flung. (Easy)

Learn more: DIY Catapult

Child standing on a stepladder dropping a toy attached to a paper parachute
Inspiration Laboratories

51. Test out parachutes

Gather a variety of materials (try tissues, handkerchiefs, plastic bags, etc.) and see which ones make the best parachutes. You can also find out how they’re affected on windy days or find out which ones work in the rain. (Easy)

Learn more: How To Make a Parachute

52. Swing a glass of water to learn about centripetal force

When you do this experiment right, you won’t make a mess at all. But while kids are still getting the hang of swinging glasses of water around their heads, you’ll probably want to make this an outdoor science activity. (Medium)

Fourth grade science students measuring their outlines drawn in sidewalk chalk on the playground
Rhythms of Play

53. Become a human sundial

Choose a sunny day and grab some sidewalk chalk—your students are about to become sundials! They’ll practice measuring skills and learn about the movement of the sun across the sky. (Easy)

Learn more: Human Sundial

Child peering into a painted cardboard box turned into a light box with colored water in bottles
True Aim

54. Build a light box

Kids can entertain themselves for hours with a big empty cardboard box. Channel that energy by turning a box into a place to learn about light refraction and reflection, using colored water in plastic bottles. (Medium)

Learn more: Light Box

Small simple boat made of a piece of styrofoam and a plastic straw
The OT Toolbox

55. Float a baking soda–powered boat

Here’s another experiment using the classic baking powder and vinegar reaction. This one uses it to power these cute little DIY boats! A kiddie pool is the perfect spot for this outdoor science project. (Medium)

Learn more: Baking Soda Boat

Child sending an object down a playground slide
Buggy and Buddy

56. Slide into friction science

Head out to the playground, gather up a variety of objects, and hold races to see which ones make it down the slide first. This is a fun introduction to friction and inclined planes. (Easy)

Learn more: Exploring Ramps and Friction on a Slide

Water testing kit with pipette and test card
The Homeschool Scientist

57. Test your local water quality

Once you’ve “cleaned up” your water, try testing it to see how clean it really is. Then head out to test other types of water. Kids will be fascinated to discover what’s in the water in their local streams, ponds, and puddles. Water-testing kits are readily available online—try this set available on Amazon. (Advanced)

Learn more: Water Quality Experiment

58. Make a rainbow

Spotting a rainbow in the sky is always a magical experience. Let kids experiment with different methods to learn how they can create rainbows of their own, anytime they like! (Easy)

Empty tea bags burning into ashes
Coffee Cups and Crayons

59. Send a tea bag flying

Hot air rises, and this experiment can prove it! You’ll want to supervise kids with fire, of course, but this is a really cool concept to see in action. (Medium)

Learn more: Flying Tea Bag Experiment

DIY compass made from a needle floating in water
STEAM Powered Family

60. Find your way with a DIY compass

Here’s an old classic that never fails to impress. Magnetize a needle, float it on the water’s surface, and it will always point north. (Easy)

Learn more: Simple Magnetic Compass

61. Make a solar desalinator

Clean freshwater is a valuable commodity. Construct solar-powered desalination devices with readily available materials, and find the most effective desalination methods. (Advanced)

Outdoor science experiments don’t have to be limited to spring or summer! Bookmark the Coolest Winter Science Experiments and Activities.

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The only thing more fun than hands-on science is taking it outside! These outdoor science experiments and experiments are for all ages.