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7 Outdoor Math Lessons for Little Kids This Summer

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These outdoor math lessons for little kids are useful for everyone and especially for homeschool families.

Warmer weather is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the weather. One of the best things about homeschool is that you can take your kids outside to play or continue a lesson you have already begun teaching. 

If you have never realized it, the outdoors is perfect for teaching. Certain subjects, such as math, can be taught relatively easily using nothing but the Great Outdoors. 

You can spend time outside learning math with kids of all ages. This list of outdoor math activities is ideal for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners.

White text on dark green says 7 Outdoor Math Lessons for Little Kids. Below text is an image of two children playing hopscotch.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and a participant in other affiliate programs, we earn a commission on qualifying purchases.

Why Teach Kids Math Outdoors?

There are plenty of reasons to teach outdoor math lessons to your children; however, these two are the largest. It has been well documented that children learn best at play.

This is especially true for littles and younger elementary-aged children. Their brains retain information better when they are playing. 

In addition, play can often help increase their understanding of the lessons they are learning. It is often the connector between point A and point B in what they are trying to learn for little minds.

If you have toddler or preschool age children who are beginning math lessons this summer, here are a few great ways to teach them.

Play I-Spy to Teach Number Recognition

Numbers are everywhere outside, so why not take your littles on a walk to play a game of I-spy?

It is easiest for this if you are the one calling things out. Since you’re learning number recognition, the first thing you should call is a number. 

“I spy something with the number five.” 

If your littles have trouble, you can proceed from there with more identifying information to help them find what you’re describing. 

A few places to find numbers outdoors are:

  • License plates
  • House numbers
  • Mailbox numbers
  • Street signs with numbers
  • Businesses with numbers in the name

Ideas to Teach Counting Outdoors

Outdoor counting lessons are great because they keep your littles entertained. They are also straightforward to do.

When teaching counting, you can have young children count anything they see. Doing so is a great way to teach them while keeping them entertained at the same time.

While you can teach counting in a car, this is the perfect activity for doing while taking a short walk.

A few great ideas to count outdoors are:

  • Houses
  • Cars
  • Trees
  • Birds
  • Flowers
  • Mailboxes
  • Dogs 
  • People
  • Steps You Take on Your Walk

Another great way to teach counting and numbers outside is to play games that may not be directly designed to teach but do anyhow. Games such as hopscotch teach both number recognition and counting. 

How to Teach Number Lines Outdoors 

Teaching your child about number lines is super easy outside. Make homemade number rocks using non-toxic paint. Then use sidewalk chalk to draw a blank number line.

From here, you can have your kids place the rocks in sequential order or find other ways and games to teach them using your outdoor tools.

You could gently toss a stone and have your child identify the number it lands on, use the number line to teach addition, and so on. 

Young white girl with hair in partial ponytail drawing with sidewalk chalk outside.

Outdoor Lessons to Teach Addition and Subtraction 

Again, flat stones such as those used for painting are great for outdoor math lessons. One simple way to use them teaches addition and subtraction

Grab your supplies and draw a few animals onto each stone. Now, use them outdoors on a sunny day to teach your kids how to add and subtract with them in the same way you would use addition and subtraction flashcards. 

How to Teach Skip Counting Outdoors

Your number rocks are great for teaching other things besides number lines and basic math operations. You can also use them to teach skip counting, money math, and so on.

The number of possibilities for what your math stones can help you teach is limited only by your own mind’s limitations.  

Ideas to Teach Graphing Outdoors

Another math activity to do outside is to work on simple bar graphs. Having a clipboard or notebook is ideal for this lesson if walking around the neighborhood.

Pick an object for the kids to look for and count while in the yard or outside. Such as, how many different colors of cars they see.

Have them mark down the number of red, black, blue, etc. cars, then create a simple bar graph with the results. This activity can be repeated with house colors, types of flowers, dogs, etc.

Kids can draw their bar graphs on paper or using sidewalk chalk.

Outdoor Lessons to Teach Very Basic Geometry

Finally, a quick and straightforward way to introduce early geometry to young kids is to teach them outdoors.

Geometry, like math in general, is what our world is made of. You can use this to your advantage by teaching these lessons outdoors.

For starters, you can use houses, trees, and other things outside to teach shapes and angles. You can also use trees and other items in nature to teach symmetry.

Street intersections and such can be taught to teach the basics of grids and so on. 

Math is often viewed as boring and typically is not a subject most people enjoy.

However, by including a few outdoor math lessons this summer, you will not only teach your child the basics they need to know but will also help to instill a love for the subject.

They will learn that numbers do not have to be boring, how everything is based around mathematics, and more. It will be these lessons they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

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