Outdoor Learning Forest School Activities

Outdoor learning is a great way to connect with nature and have fun. Forest School activities can incorporate art, craft, science, sensory play, and so much more! Through forest school children are given an opportunity to get outdoors and learn new skills.

Outdoor learning forest school activities

 


There are so many fun and interesting activities that can be done outdoors, such as collecting nature items or starting a fire. 

We've rounded up 23 different forest school activities, so you can introduce your child or local group to this hands-on method of learning outdoors! We have included a variety of forest school activities from fun outdoor learning ideas to nature activities to forest art and craft activities.

Use these ideas as inspiration, but have fun adapting them to follow your child's own interests and ideas.  

 

What is Forest School?

Forest school is a term used for outdoor education that takes place in a forest or woodland area. It is a way to get children away from their computer screens and interacting with the natural world.  Forest school is a hands-on way of learning and is often child-led.  This nature-based stye of outdoor learning is great for children of all ages and can help to develop confidence and self-esteem.


Fun forest activities for kids



 

 

Outdoor Learning Forest School Activities


We have plenty of fun nature activities to try, whether you're planning on doing forest school with a group or just with your own children. From super fun nature scavenger hunts to making clay faces on trees and learning about the butterfly stages, you'll find lots of engaging and interesting outdoor activities here.


 

Colours of Nature Scavenger Hunt

Explore the beautiful and vivid colours nature has to offer with our Colours of Nature Scavenger Hunt. Not only is this a fun way to get outside and get some fresh air, but toddlers and preschoolers will love finding items to match the colours on the printable. They'll build up quite a collection during the walk.


Nature scavenger hunt - outdoor learning forest school activities


 

Nature Paintbrushes

Gather items from nature to make paintbrushes to make your art a little more interesting. We have made loads of Nature Paintbrushes using flowers, leaves, grasses, feathers, and more. Don't forget to paint some art once your brushes are complete!

Nature paintbrushes - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Bug Scavenger Hunt

There are plenty of bugs in the great outdoors, so why not learn a little bit more about what they look like using our handy Bug Scavenger Hunt printable. It's a creepy-crawly way to spend an afternoon.

Bug scavenger hunt - outdoor learning forest school activities




 

Nature Faces

Take some natural clay with you to make funny and silly Nature Faces using acorns, flower petals, sticks, seeds, berries, and other things you find along the way. 

Clay nature faces - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Nature Walk Treasure Hunt

Here's another idea to get you outside and walking about: Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt. Kids can look for squirrels, birds, caterpillars, rocks, water, and more. Use our picture version for little ones who can't read all the words yet or the text-only version for older children.

Nature walk scavenger hunt - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Andy Goldsworthy Nature Art

Gather leaves of different sizes and try your hand at our Andy Goldsworthy Art. This is such fun to make, and you don't even need to take paper or canvas with you. Just arrange the leaves on a patch of dirt or in a nice, flat grassy area. Temporary art is fun, too!

Andy Goldsworthy nature art - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Nature Owls

Our Nature Owls made with pine cones and conkers are an excellent art activity for forest school. Gather lots of them to make all sorts of fun animals. These owls were easy, but perhaps you could try your hand at a bug or a squirrel.

Nature owl craft - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Apple Bird Feeder

If the birds in your area could use a little extra nourishment, consider making a homemade bird feeder. Our Apple Bird Feeder is a nice option, as everything but the rope is entirely edible. We also have an Orange Bird Feeder and a Peanut Butter Bird Feeder as well.

Apple bird feeder - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Nature Tray

Collect some items in a Nature Tray with toddlers, preschoolers, or even older children. You can let the kids pick any items they wish or focus on a certain category, like seeds, flowers, or leaves. 

Nature tray - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Stages of a Butterfly

Did you know you can easily demonstrate the Stages of a Butterfly using tree seeds? It's such a fun and visual way for kids to see what the butterfly looks like in each stage, from egg, to caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly.

Stages of a butterfly life cycle - outdoor learning forest school activities


 

Fairy Nature Art

Use gathered pieces of nature and a fairy outline to create your own Fairy Nature Art. You can do this outdoors or you can take your collection of nature back indoors to complete your artwork. This would work for any outline, or you could even draw your own picture and fill it with nature. 

Fairy nature art - outdoor learning forest school activities



More Forest School Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids


Fun forest school activities - nature activities for kids




Nature Fairy Houses

Build some Nature Fairy Houses out of only items from nature like these featured on Red Ted Art. Grasses, stones, pieces of bark, fallen branches, sticks, flowers, and more are all excellent building materials. 

Nature fairy house - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Mason Bee Habitat

Preserving our bees is an important mission that kids need to learn about. Mason bees are excellent pollinators that do not sting, so building habitats for them is a terrific idea! Use this idea from Natural Beach Living to build a Mason Bee Habitat with the kids.

Bee habitat - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Pine Cone Cinnamon Sensory Soup

Set up a fun and engaging activity for the little ones to explore with their senses. This Pine Cone Cinnamon Sensory Soup from And Next Comes L is a fantastic activity for toddlers and preschoolers that will smell amazing and be loads of fun to play with.

Pine cone sensory activity - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Nature Prints

Take some clay (or make some!) to create nature prints with the interesting things you find. These Nature Prints with Clay and Elderflowers from Sunshine and Wellie Boots are a great example, but you can use any sturdy flower, leaf, fern, etc., to make interesting prints.

Clay nature prints - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Starting a Fire 

Practice starting a fire with a magnifying glass. This activity from Go Science Kids is an interesting and wonderful survival skill for kids to learn. Strict supervision is required, and this should not be done when your area is in a fire watch or experiencing really dry conditions.

Starting a fire - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Forest Fairy Craft

If you're looking for a forest craft that the kids will be talking about for weeks to come, make these Forest Fairy Wings and Crown by Daisies and Pie. They're absolutely stunning and are best done when the fall leaves are at their peak if you want lots of colours. However, you could still do this in summer with green leaves and wildflowers.

forest fairy wings - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Loose Parts Geometry

Flex your math skills outside with a bit of 2D loose parts geometry. Use sticks or stones or other items to make different shapes like circles, triangles, squares, hexagons, etc. The Wise Owl Factory details other ways to use loose parts in math, too!

loose parts geometry - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Rock Balancing

You'll be surprised at how much time kids will spend balancing rocks. This activity by Rhythms of Play shows that it's a terrific STEM activity and can be done in the forest, on the beach, by a river, etc. Basically, anywhere you can find some rocks and stones is a good place to try rock stacking.

Balancing rocks - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

10 Things in 10 Minutes

If you're unsure where to start with forest school, try this game of 10 Things in 10 Minutes from Nurture Store. It can be played any time of year and may spark some activities you haven't thought of. The game aims for kids to find 10 interesting things in 10 minutes and make something with them.

nature activity - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Symmetry in Nature

Can you find symmetry in nature? It's all around us, but not all things are symmetrical. Study trees, pinecones, rocks, leaves, tree stumps, and other objects that you find to see if they're symmetrical. Take a mirror along with you to see how reflection symmetry works.

Symmetry in nature activity - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Sink or Float

Forest School is a great time to learn about which natural materials sink or float. This activity from My Bored Toddler is easy enough for toddlers and preschoolers, but you can always delve deeper into the scientific principles behind buoyancy with older children. 

sink or float activity - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Leaf Threading

Find new ways for kids to engage with nature, get creative, and develop their fine motor skills with this natural leaf threading activity from Kids' Craft Room! Using only fresh leaves found in season (dry ones will be too brittle for threading), it’s quick and easy to set up.

leaf threading activity - outdoor learning forest school activities



 

Nature Journal

Part of the benefits of getting outdoors is building observational skills, and what better way to develop those than with a nature journal. This printable from Mama Teaches is free and includes several copies of the sheet in one handy packet, so it's great for taking along with your forest school group. 

nature journal - outdoor learning forest school activities




We hope that this post has inspired you to start exploring the world outside with your kids. It's a great opportunity for them to learn new skills, get some fresh air, and have some fun! 

If you're looking for more ideas on how to introduce children or groups of youngsters to fun outdoor learning activities, be sure to check out our roundup of 27+ nature crafts

Forest school activities. Outdoor learning for kids. Nature activities.


Related - Leaf Crafts and Activities for Kids



What are some other things you like doing in the outdoors? Share your favourite forest school activity below! We hope that you have found some new outdoor learning ideas to give a try within this list. 


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