40 Wet and Wild Outdoor Science Projects and Activities

The whole world is one big science classroom.

Outside Science

Looking for ways to learn while also enjoying the great outdoors? Look no further! These hands-on outdoor science projects and activities for kids will help them explore and understand the world around them. They’ll probably get a little wet and messy, but isn’t that half the fun?

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1. 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!

Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

2. Blast off with bottle rockets.

Outside Science Bottle Rocket Science Sparks

A simple adapter kit allows you to turn an empty plastic bottle into a soaring rocket! Kids learn about pressure and Newton’s third law of motion with this perennially-popular outside science project.

Learn more: Science Sparks

3. 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.)

Learn more: Childhood 101

4. Create nature discovery bottles.

Outside Science Bottles Little Bins

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

Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands

5. Make sun print fabric.

You’ll need to buy special fabric or 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.

Learn more: In The Playroom

6. Assemble an anemometer.

Outside Science Anemometer Piikea Street

Scientists use anemometers to measure wind speed. Build this DIY version and do some weather science with your class.

Learn more: Pi’ikea Street

7. Find the best soap bubble solution.

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

Learn more: Science Buddies

8. Blow the biggest bubbles you can.

Outside Science Bubbles Scholastic

Once you’ve blown the longest-lasting bubbles, move on to creating the largest bubbles you’ve ever seen! Kids learn about surface tension as they engineer these bubble-blowing wands.

Learn more: Scholastic

9. Launch ping pong balls with a catapult.

Young kids will simply enjoy 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.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy

10. Brew some elephant toothpaste.

Speaking of foamy messes, elephant toothpaste (ok, it’s not really used by elephants) creates a huge exothermic reaction that will blow kids away!

Learn more: Science Bob

11. Play a game of Nature Bingo.

Outside Science

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.

Learn more: Massachusetts Audubon Society

12. 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.

Learn more: Inspiration Laboratories

13. Send a soda geyser sky-high.

Outside Science Soda Fountain Scholastic

This is the kind of experiment that simply has to be done outdoors. Kids will marvel at the chemical reaction that sends diet soda shooting high in the air when Mentos are added.

Learn more: Scholastic

14. Start a nature journal.

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

Learn more: Edventures With Kids

15. Make and plant DIY seed bombs.

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

16. Experiment with limestone rocks.

Outside Science Rocks KCEdventures

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!

Learn more: Edventures with Kids

17. 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! (Teachers, get ideas for using Project Noah in your classroom here.)

Learn more: Project Noah

18. Build a solar oven.

Outside Science Solar Oven Desert Chica

Explore the power of the sun when you build your own solar ovens and use them to cook some yummy treats. The link below has complete instructions.

Learn more: Desert Chica

19. 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.

Learn More: NurtureStore

20. 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.

Learn more: Teach Beside Me

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

Outside Science Centripetal Steve Spangler

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.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

22. 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. 

Learn more: Edventures With Kids

23. 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.

Learn more: Childhood 101

24. Help monarch butterflies.

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

Learn more: Monarch Watch

25. Count tree rings to explore dendrochronology.

Outside Science Tree Rings Edventures

Your students might know you can count tree rings to find out how old the tree is, but do they know why that’s true? Explore dendrochronology using this free printable as a guide.

Learn more: Edventures with Kids

26. 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 listening for their sounds. 

Learn more: Inspiration Labs

27. 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.

28. Identify birds with an app.

Some birds are easy to identify, but others stump even long-time bird-watchers. Use the free Merlin Bird ID app to help you out! Snap a pic, answer a few questions, and the app will provide you some probable identifications, just like that.

Learn more: Merlin Bird ID

29. Become a human sundial.

Outside Science Sundial Scholastic

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.

Learn more: Scholastic

30. Grow a carbon sugar snake.

Outside Science Carbon Snake Kiwico

This eye-popping chemical reaction demonstration is sure to excite your students! You only need simple supplies like sugar, baking soda, and sand, but the element of fire makes this experiment best done outdoors.

Learn more: Kiwico

31. 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.

Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

32. Explode plastic baggies (and make a big mess).

Outside Science Baggies Kids Actvities Blog

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.

Learn more: Kids Activities

33. Estimate the height of a tree.

Outside Science Measuring Trees From ABCs to Acts

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.

Learn more: From ABCs to ACTs

34. 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.

Learn more: True Aim Education

35. Float a baking-soda powered boat.

Outside Science Boat OT Toolbox

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 outside science project.

Learn more: The OT Toolbox 

36. Conduct an egg drop.

Outside Science Egg Drop Buggy and Buddy

Here’s another classic science project that’s best done outdoors—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). 

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy 

37. Construct a dirt battery.

Outside Science Dirt Battery Teach Beside Me

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.

Learn more: Teach Beside Me

38. Slide into friction science.

Outside Science Slide Buggy and Buddy

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.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy

39. 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.

Learn more: JDaniel4’s Mom

40. Test your local water quality.

Outside Science Water Testing Homeschool Scientist

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. Student water testing kits are readily available online—try this set available on Amazon.

Learn more: The Homeschool Scientist

Outdoor science doesn’t have to be limited to spring or summer! Get 24 of the Coolest Winter Science Experiments and Activities here.

Looking for even more science? Click here for the Best Science Projects for Every Grade K-8.

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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